Monday, June 18, 2007


I have a lot of friends who work in restaurants. They tell me all about their customers, most often the rude ones, the terrible tippers, complainers, and people who generally make their time while at work much more difficult than it needs to be.

I love talking to them about this. I love it when they tell me about the customer they had who was a hassle, who made them do extra work for them, demanded free food because something wasn't to their satisfaction, complained to management, and at the end of the day left a 5% tip. Or nothing at all. And all of those friends have to keep their mouths shut, grit their teeth, fake a smile, and take it. Otherwise they'll get fired.

I love this because I work in the service industry too. We have customers who are receiving a service from us, and we work off their tips (well, at least the bartenders do).

And I don't have to be a nice to a single fucking one of them.

If people aren't satisfied with the service that we're providing, I tell them to fuck off - sometimes in not so many words - and sometimes using those exact words.

Ok, ok...that's not always necessarily true. I do make an effort to be cordial and friendly to those who deserve it. Truthfully, I do go out of my way, often times to a fault, to help customers when I believe they have a genuine concern or need, and - this is an absolute requirement - they ask in a respectful and courtious manner.

But the fact is, we sell a product, not unlike a restaurant. Only, our customers are there for the sole purpose of over-indulging in substances that substantially alter their actions, moods, attitudes and decision making processes. That's the main difference. We only sell one of those substances - alcohol - but frequently they're under the influence of more than just that, which is the foundation of why I can act the way I do to customers who deserve it.

There are certain things that people can ask for in which the answer is always "no" - at least at first. If they persist, respectfully, most times I'll accomodate them as quickly as is reasonable. This is primarily to test their attitude. Ok, say it's after 2am and the door is closed.

The right way to ask:

Them: "Excuse me, I left my tab open inside. Is there any possible way I might be able to go get it?"

Me: "Sure, just hold on for a few minutes and I'll help you out as soon as I can."

The wrong way to ask:

Drunk Marine: "I left my tab open and I'm going in there to close it right now. You can't stop me. I'm a marine and you're just a fucking civilian."

Me: "Alrighty, soldier. Go ahead and try."

A majority of our complaints from "potential" customers stem from not being able to get inside in the first place, for any number of reasons. Sometimes they'll demand to speak with the manager, at which point I'll either tell them that their complaint isn't important enough to talk with the manager about or I'll claim to be the manager myself and tell them that their complaint isn't important enough to talk with me about. They don't like that. I do. I smile and laugh and it keeps me entertained enough to continue with my night.

See, there are a lot of people who demand satisfaction while in a bar downtown and believe that by "climbing their way up the ladder" to complain will ultimately result in them getting what they want. They believe that "the customer is always right". This usually works in most businesses. However, a bar doesn't fall into the "most businesses" catagory. In the bar business, "the customer is usually drunk and is therefore usually wrong".

That's just the way it goes. You've been drinking all night long, and you're not sure about much of anything. You don't understand our door policies, if your complaint is not being permitted entrance, and you don't know what the hell you've been ordering all night long, if your complaint is the money you owe the bar when you close your tab. We're right and you're wrong. You come downtown, drink yourself retarded twice a week, and think you know more than me about how things are supposed to work in a bar. And not just any bar - my bar. I've got some news for you, frat boy: I've done this a lot longer than you think, and my money is on myself. Plus the fact that I make the final decisions in regards to your personal bar issue - which by the way really isn't all that damn important in the overall sceme of things - so that means that I'm going to win.

Often times we just don't give a fuck, and you, as a customer, are a dime a dozen. That's just the truth. It doesn't matter to me if you were going to "drop $200 in there tonight" or that "you and your 12 friends inside are going to leave if you don't get in" and you'll "spend your hard earned money elsewhere". I don't care. And you should really know that. Please...take that to heart.

I understand, however, that legitimate complaints exist. You want to have a fun night in the places that you've planned on going to. I can understand that. And here's what you can do to help yourself if you honestly feel that you've been greviously wronged by myself or another member of the staff in some way.

You're more likely to find a sympathetic ear if you're respectful, calm, and don't lace your complaints with profanity about how you're going to fuck my mother and my girlfriend if you don't get what you want.

Don't demand to speak to a manager. He's too busy for your petty shit and this demand indicates that you believe we, as a staff, are incompetent at doing our jobs and you know more than us and would like to share those feelings with our boss. We'll just lie and say we're the manager, or we'll ignore you, or, if by some off-chance the manager does talk to you, 99.9% of the time he'll back up our decision and you're still shit out of luck. And we'll laugh at you after he's gone.

Drunkenly screaming your problems to anyone on the sidewalk within 10 feet of you isn't exactly your best bet to resolve your issue. And you're that much closer to getting the attention of one of us in a much more negative way if that's how you choose to proceed.

The best advice I can give is to wait a few minutes for one of us to free ourselves up with the crush of the crowd we deal with on a nightly basis. If you can steal away a minute or two of our time and calmly explain what the issue is, given that it's actually one we can help you with, then you're more than likely to get a calm explaination back as to why you will or will not be helped. I'm not always an asshole and I'm not always out to fuck with everyone, so if you scratch my back then I'll scratch yours. Of course, not literally. Don't fucking touch me. But I will see what I can do if you follow those basic guidelines. Bottom line.


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