Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Got Yo Back, dawg!

On a staff like ours, there's a big emphasis on having each others respective "backs". You have to. Especially like this summer, which has been unusually violent. So you want everyone you work with to know that you'll help them out if need be. You go out of your way to make sure that you'll help out your fellow floor staff member should the shit hit the fan. And it always eventually does. You trust them to evaluate situations effectively, and you trust them to only make it physical when necessary, not just when they're pissed off because a customer said they fucked respective staff members girlfriend last night.

In turn, a good staff member does the same for you. They don't tap you on the shoulder while you're choking a kid blue and ask for a comprehensive explaination of what happened to see if it would be justified for him to join in. They just jump in. They automatically raise the level of force to match yours without hesitation. Because they trust you. This is how things should work. If everything works out right and everyone does their job, this plan works flawlessly.

Unfortunately, it often doesn't work out how it's supposed to.

You walk in for your shift at night and look at the schedule to see who's working and where. And you find yourself pissed because the do-nothing floor staff guy is scheduled with or near you, and you know you're royally fucked if something happens and he's your only backup.

This is the guy who magically appears 30 seconds after the rest of us have things under control. Or if he, unfortunately, stumbles into something in the heat of the moment, this is the guy thats standing around with his thumb up his ass while the rest of us are rolling around on the floor during the huge brawl. Imagine the bouncer who's standing at the edge of a fight, palms up, yelling "whoa! whoa!", afraid to actually dive in and stop it.

Yea, you know who I'm talking about.

To a casual observer, he's an employee here, but the rest of us know he really isn't. He might wear the shirt and walk around during business hours with a rag hanging out of his back pocket, but he doesn't actually work there. He's just pretending. It's an illusion. Except he walks out with a paycheck, just like the rest of us. And he's taking up a spot that could be filled with a guy who actually does his fucking job so I don't get a bottle across the back of my head while I'm dragging a frat boy out by his nasty frat boy hair.

This guy is a problem, but there's another kind that I despise just as much.

It's the too-aggressive staff member who escalates everything into a fight. Puts their hands on customers. Pushes them. Instigates shit. Mouth off to them? Haul 'em out. Doesn't tip? Haul 'em out.

All this gets me in a fight - being one who honors the rule of helping each other out regardless - because this floor guy has been drinking too much and they want to throw out the guy that looked at him wrong. And he takes this rule of having each others backs that we all honor, and perverts it to do his own bidding and we all end up in a situation that shouldn't have even started to begin with.

Worse than that, the guys who do this are usually on the smaller side, and think the bigger guys will bail them out of any shit they've found themselves sitting directly in. Meaning this is a huge pain in my ass, because I ain't that big.

The ultimate outcome for these situations is that those of us who actually do our fucking job eventually end up getting hurt in some way. Nobody likes getting hit or pulling a muscle, getting stabbed or worse.

Go to Google News and google "bouncer" and I guarantee you'll find stories of bouncers who were attacked and sometimes even killed. The threat of harm to us is out there and it can happen any night, and if you aren't working with guys who you can trust to do the right thing, then the odds stack up against you very quickly. You often hear about bouncer brutality, but we're the ones really getting the short end of the stick most consistently.

Trust me, you fucking customers are killing us faster than we can kill you.


At 8:03 PM, Blogger Courtney said...

I stumbled upon your blog today though overheard in Athens, and I've been reading a it off and on all day.

I just wanted to thank you for bringing this to people's attention.

A guy I knew in high school was killed earlier this week for exactly the reasons you brought up here. He was a bouncer at a club in Atlanta, and he was a "good guy" just trying to help out his co-worker when the shit hit the fan. Someone hit him in the head with a bottle and killed him because he was trying to do his job.

I want to thank YOU for doing your job and helping keep those of us who like to have a good (relatively responsible)time downtown safe.


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