Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thanks for Coming In, But Let Me Show You The Door

Every once in awhile, I get a little feedback via comments, or more commonly, email, or I discover things written about me somewhere on the internet.

It's funny to me. Either I'm praised and heralded as someone who's "right on the money", or accused of being a heavy handed asshole who likes to get a rise out of people. One guy even referred to the customers who come into my bar as my "potential victims" as if I'm a bloodthirsty predator who's salivating just at the thought of tossing some unsuspecting drunken customer out on the sidewalk.

I guess the stereotype for my job, being a so-called "bouncer" is that we're all meatheaded animals, out to forcibly eject and beat up our customers on a whim. We should be licensed, they say, and apparently the Athens-Clarke County government wants us to get background checks, too.

Those "in the know", which is pretty much anyone in a service indutry-type job, can relate to the pain of dealing with asshole customers who expect to be waited on with the utmost respect and urgency. Customers expect so much, yet give so little back in return on all levels. A large percentage of customer service workers primarily rely on tips from the customers that we hate so much. These are the people who leave me nice comments and emails. It's because they know my pain.

I think the only thing that we ask as customer service workers - besides a 20% tip, of course - is just a little common courtesy. A "please" and a "thank you" go a really long way. Just being friendly to a stranger who's waiting on your table or serving you a drink can mean more to them than throwing a few extra dollars their way.

Treating someone like sub-human garbage simply because they wait tables or bartend, or work the drive-through window in a fast food restaurant, is totally unacceptable. I don't give a fuck how much you tip me, if you can't have the decency to treat another human being like a real person and not just some anonymous robot who brings you what you want, when you want it, then I should inform you that there's a special place in hell for pieces of shit customers like yourself.

So, that's why it's so tough for a regular person who has never had the exciting opportunity to work any length of time in a customer service position to understand. They're normally the first to accuse me of being a dick to customers. Our drunken, staggering, fucking, thieving, lying, slurring customers are never wrong, but the sober "bouncer" is the one who really needs to be watched. We're the ones who are out of control.

God forbid I take offense at being called an asshole for escorting you out. God forbid I call a customer on his bullshit and tell him to settle down. How dare I?

Thankfully, my position lends me the authority to, and even an obligation to, make sure customers behave themselves at all times, and when necessary, escort them out. Sometimes forcefully and without apology. I feel badly for those customer service workers who have to stand there and take it, most of the time with a smile on their face, while a customer berates them for bringing them a cheeseburger that came with mayo on it and not on the side. Oh, horror of horrors.

They work for a corporate entity and violence against customers is not only unacceptable and would probably cost you your job, it's usually fraught with civil and legal liabilities.

For some reason, the bar industry gets away with it. And so they should. When was the last time a customer at a restaurant took a swing at a server for refusing him service? Not as many times as it's happened to bar employees, I bet.

I'm not saying that my job is any tougher than anyone else's. It's probably easier in many ways. I'm simply saying that my options in a situation like that, perhaps, are a little more all-encompassing than other jobs.

So to all of you customer service type workers, when I toss someone out, it's not just for me or the bar, it's for every other customer service worker that person has been a dick to in his life. Yell and threaten your server, you might get a free appetizer or meal. Threaten your fast food drive-through worker and you might get your money back, but threaten your bouncer and you'll find yourself face-down, ass-up on the sidewalk being placed in handcuffs.

And for those small things, I'm thankful.


At 5:02 PM, Anonymous no tip no 2nd drink said...



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