Saturday, August 18, 2007


Making little issues that don't really matter in the "game of life" into big issues that do matter are what I've found certain customers excell at.

Take, for example, several nights ago. I was walking around, doing my thing and happy to be away from the door for a night. I happened to notice one of our well behaved and valuable customers walking around in a t-shirt that was almost as big as he was. That's not saying much since he was a little guy, but it's all about proportions.

Baggy clothes are specifically prohibited by our dress code, so the gentlemen in question undoubtedly came into the bar with his shirt tucked in thereby thwarting the efforts of the guys at the door whose job it is to enforce said dress code. After coming inside, he un-tucked it and at that point attracted the attention of yours truly. This was all confirmed by the guys at the door and is an offense which can get you kicked out immediately. However, I was feeling friendly and open to letting the guy stay, seeing as his shirt may have come out unknowingly to him, or any other various reasons that may explain why he was walking around in a shirt down to his knees.

"Hey, man. Can you do me a favor and tuck in your shirt? It's a little too big and if my manager sees you with that on he's going to make me ask you to leave," I said, very un-aggressively. Mr. Friendly.

"Maaan, do you know who I am? I ain't even from here! I'm from Atlanta. I ain't never been up in Athens. I'm from tha west side, yo!" he responded, glaring at me. I think he did some weird sign with his fingers, too.

As you can imagine, the conversation went downhill from there very quickly, despite my best efforts.

Shortly thereafter, three of his friends decided to join in the conversation. Minutes after that, the conversation attracted several other floor guys as well. The conversation stopped being a conversation very quickly, and we realized it was only an exercise in futility. At that point, the decision was made to escort the kid from the "west side, yo" out. This didn't sit well with one of the guys he apparently was with.

"Hey, we'll go when I finish my drink! I just bought this!" said the friend who had absolutely nothing invested in the situation, holding up a half full liquor drink so as to prove his point.

"Ok, that's fine if you have a drink, but I'm really only talking about him," I said, motioning to the 'lil west side kid.

"He ain't goin' nowhere until I finish my drink."

Again, the conversation with the west sides friend went downhill very quickly as well.

They were all escorted out. In the way out, I was accused of hiding behind my bar t-shirt. This didn't make sense to me because my bar shirt has absolutely no protective qualities that I'm currently aware of.

As usual, their verbal threats and attempts to intimidate us raised significantly once they were safely on the sidewalk and a safe distance from us. One of the guys, who had remained quiet throughout their entire performance inside, decided that that point in time was the best for him to speak up...while standing behind two of the bigger guys.

"I will kick the living shit out of you bouncers, you fucking pussies!" he screamed, pointing and trying his best to make an intimidating face.

"Ok," I said. "Let's see you do it."

I stepped forward. He stepped back. His bluff was called.

The insults, however, continued to flow freely from the rest of their mouths while we stood there.

The suckerpunch came as I was wondering why this particular situation was preferable to them than simply tucking in the kids shirt. There was a fairly loud skin-against-skin smack, and my coworker who received the unwelcome punch took a step back, momentarily dazed.

This is precisely the point where a little issue transformed itself into a big one.

See, a little issue is when you get your change back for something - say for example, a drink you buy in a bar - and find that you've been shorted a few dollars. In keeping with a little issue, you can ask politely how much the drink cost and straighten out your little issue with a little respect. Things work well that way and in the customer service industry, we try our best to make sure people are happy. Everyone's happy in the end.

To make that particular little issue into a big one, like these guys had showed extremely able to do, then the response would be to curse, throw your drink on the bartender, rant and rave about how wronged you were and, when confronted by the bouncers, attempt to fight them. Like a fucking magician - poof! - a little issue instantly turned into a big one.

The big issue with these kids is when you wake up in the morning and realize you have to go to the hospital to get stitches where you slide across the sidewalk on your face after being thrown like a little rag doll.

As outlined in a previous post of mine, when you hit me or my friends, things go south for you very quickly. It played out exactly like it has time and time again, and the skinny guy got the brunt of it while his bigger friends actually turned around and ran away from us down the sidewalk, followed closely behind by the "west side kid".

Lesson to be learned?

Don't depend on your big buddies to fight your battles for you. And tuck your damn shirt in, please.


At 11:44 AM, Blogger Kathryn said...

Yeah, that guy responded really poorly, and I'm sorry you had to put up with that -ugh. But I have been to bars like that and honestly I find the dress code to be racist. Why no baggy shirts? You could just as easily conceal a weapon in a North Face jacket, if that's the argument. If it's some other reason, please clue me in. The type of clothing that is prohibited is clearly geared towards a certain style, generally worn by African Americans - and in my opinion, these establishments would just rather not have these people around. If you were trying to keep a "business casual" look or something, that would be different.. but I could easily walk up in some shitty t-shirt and cutoff jeans if I wanted to, if it fit.
I went to a bar like this once (quite possibly the one where you work), and I had a very well behaved black friend with me. He tucked his shirt in upon being asked, but while he was dancing (tastefully and by himself) his shirt came untucked and was IMMEDIATELY grabbed by the arm and told to leave. He responded with a handshake to the bouncer and a "thanks, man, sorry about that," and left. This was an unnecessarily humiliating and in my opinion, uncalled for situation. He didn't deserve that kind of treatment (although apparently he's used to it.. and has learned that it's better just to accept defeat than to protest and give the other party the response they're looking for like that guy did the other night -- that would simply perpetuate the stereotype). I haven't been back since and I don't plan to. It made me sick that such an honest, good hearted person was being treated like scum for something so arbitrary. Anyway, yeah the guy in your bar the other night was definitely out of line. Just kind of wanted to rant, thanks.


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