Sunday, November 29, 2009

At least Let me Say Sorry

Every once in a while I will cover the night shift behind the bar. Usually it is a day that I am already working so I end up being there for a solid 15 hour shift. Working the night shift is much different from the afternoon shift. During the afternoon, people rarely do shots, usually eat food, and are not there to get wasted. At night it is a free for all of drunken patrons trying to get as drunk as possible before last call.

One of the nights I covered happened to be karaoke night at the bar which always brings in a large group of winners. Some of the tables weren't tipping the waitress so she gave up on them and let them come to the bar. This is fine with me as it means less for the bartender to take a hit on tips than the server. Most of these people go to the bar anyway, so they didn't take offense to her absence. I did notice, however, that the same people that never tipped me when I waitress were tipping me as the bartender. Pretty messed up.

One group in particular got to me and the waitress that night. There are small two-top tables right along the sides of the bar and many times people at the bar will confiscate these tables to accommodate a larger group. This group ends up ordering from the bar rather than the waitress out of convenience. I had a group of about 9 doing just this that night. 5 of them were at the bar and the other 4 were at two of these small tables. They were rotating where they were sitting throughout the night.

At one point I was so busy I felt like my head was spinning. People were at the bar two deep and the waitress couldn't get past them to serve the tables so it seemed like everyone was coming up to the bar. People were also ordering "chilled" shots like mad. "Chilled" shots take longer to make. Not by much, but they do. If I have someone waiting for a bottle of beer I am likely to get that before beginning the shots. Anyway, one guy from this table/bar group had moved to sit at the bar. I was making my rounds slowly enough so that if someone needed anything and I wasn't noticing they could call out or flag me down while I was refilling the obviously empty drinks. Soon I hear the waitress calling my name. She explains to me that this guy at the bar asked her for shots. She told him she couldn't serve him because he was sitting at the bar but she would tell me. He argued with her that he had been trying to get my attention for a long time and would go sit at a table. After saying this he got up and stood by the table. She still felt uncomfortable with this so she told him she would get me. He sat back down at the bar. As soon as she told me I went over to confirm his shot order. He denied needing anything several times before telling me that he had been trying to get my attention for a long time and I "missed it". I began to apologize, but he cut me off saying "you missed it." The person next to him needed a drink so while I was getting their order I tried apologizing again, but he cut me off with the same remark. This happened one more time before I walked away without another word. He then got up and went to a table and ordered the shots from the waitress. I am not ashamed to say that I chilled those shots good and they were probably quite watered down. You don't have to like that you couldn't get my attention, but what does being rude to the bartender accomplish really?

When she delivered the shots, the guy (she says) yelled at her about telling me he wanted shots. I really don't see the issue here. He wanted shots, couldn't get my attention, the waitress got my attention, and I tried to serve him immediately. I don't think he was trying very hard as I was on that side of the bar serving others and would have heard a "hey you", "excuse me", or seen someone waving at me. I had even served the person to his right and his friends to his left during the time he was sitting there. One of the orders was for chilled shots which means I was standing there for a good 30 seconds pouring them. In my experience, this would be when people who needed something would get my attention. I am not a mind reader and was too busy to stop and ask every person at the bar if I could get them anything.
After all this, the guy's girlfriend goes to our manager and complains about us. At first he was a bit upset about the customer complaint, but after we both told him the same story he made a joke about it being a full moon.

On a more annoying note, a regular came in with his wife. They sat at the bar and had a few beers. During this time, as is the custom at my bar, when they needed another beer they would put their empty bottle in the ditch at the edge of the bar and I would crack them open a new one. The wife's beer was in this position so I cracked her a new one and took the husband's money. Before I got to the register they started calling to me that she didn't want another beer. I made a joke about the empty being in the ditch and she said "I was just giving it to you." Again, I am not a mind reader. If you use this system to quickly get another beer, I will not know when you are ready to stop if you continue to perform the same action.


BB said...

It's so interesting that you have the same exact problems as me! Our waitresses (when I started) were not allowed to serve at the bar either and it was always such an awkward thing when someone would ask us. I would just say that they had to wait. Well now the girls take orders at the bar while we are making their drinks and it drives me NUTS! Because I don't want to take the time to make the waitresses drinks if they are going to steal my customers. I would rather serve my customers so that I know I get their order before the waitresses.

I don't mind when it's really busy because whatever.. if I can't get to them and you have nothing to do.. go for it. But do it AWAY from the bar. I can't stand when they order something from me and then literally hand it to the person standing next to them.. it's just weird. But maybe that's because when I worked there as a waitress we weren't allowed to do that.. and if we did the bartenders wouldn't serve us for the rest of the night!

As for the customer that was uncalled for. He was obviously drunk and you can only take what a drunk person says with a grain of salt. They down one beer and they grow a pair of balls and think they can talk to everyone however they want.

Nice post!

Anonymous said...

Some people are just plain ridiculous and want that one on one attention they got when they were 2 years old. Nuts!

Anonymous said...

What exactly is a 'chilled' shot?

Sorry, I'm not a bartender, although I would love to learn.

LW said...

A chilled shot is just what it sounds like. A shot of something, say tequila, is poured in to a shaker over ice and then strained in to a shot glass. This makes the tequila cold since most bottles are kept on a rail and not in coolers.