Saturday, 13 November 2010

On why it's tough being a barman

Regular readers of my whines will already know that I work in a bar as a barman and table monkey, and that I complain about it a lot, although I do enjoy it. It's easy money and sometimes fun. There sure are a lot of idiots though. The majority of people that patronise my workplace are probably intelligent folk, but the general lack of common sense displayed on a daily basis here never fails to baffle me.

Today, whilst despairing over the dumbness of people, I decided to compile a list of the most common idiots and idiotic doings (if you're one of the idiots in question, I mean no offence, but you ARE an idiot). Here goes:

- If there are four or five of you, and for some reason you choose a table with a surface area of less than 1 sqm and then order food, basic physics dictate that that table is not going to accommodate four drinks, four plates, your laptops and your elbows, all at once. When I come over with your meals in my hands, the logical thing would be to put your laptops away so I have space to place your grub. When I stand there holding your plates, I'm not doing it because I want you to eat from my hands, and I'm really not sure what you're expecting when you look at me blankly and don't comprehend why I don't serve your meals. If I have to ask you to make space, you are an idiot. I hope the food burns your mouth, except it won't because by the time you've realised that our tables aren't magic, it will have cooled down.

- People who sit down at a table, look at the menu, call me over, and then begin looking at the menu again, deciding what you want. Here's a tip for you - decide what you want, then call me over. That way, I don't immediately dislike you, and I don't look like a fucking chump standing there while you make your decision

- I have no problems with table service when possible - that's my job - but if it's busy and you haven't been served fast enough for your liking, feel free to come over to the bar and let me know what you'd like. Logically, this would involve making your choice whilst at your table, and then simply telling me your order at the bar. If you make the small effort to come over, don't then say, "Can I order something?" and walk back to your table expecting me to follow and wait while you peruse the menu (see above). And if all you want is a single drink, why not wait the few seconds it takes to pour, and take it back with you? I'll tell you why - it's because you're an idiot.

- Whilst I don't expect everyone to tip, especially in the above scenario, it's an accepted part of the service industry here - our basic wage isn't great and a lot of us rely on tips to subsidise that. I myself would not tip if the service was below par, but unless my waiter was rude or inept, they'd get their 10% tip. If all you consume is a single drink, I'd expect nothing more than a rounded up total - €3.50 for a beer that costs €3.40 for example. If, however, your bill comes to something like €59.90, and you say, "Take 60," I'd assume I did something wrong. Keep the 10 cents you cheap bastard, since you obviously need it more than I do.

- There are big fucking menus on every table and these menus list everything we serve. That's what menus are. If you ask me for a menu whilst resting your elbows on one, you're on the list. If you then do something like peruse our specialty tea list and then ask if we have one that isn't listed, I will have to bite my tongue - why, yes, we have lots of wonderful things that we deliberately omit from our invisible menus. There are of course, exceptions to this. If you want something mixing that isn't listed, as long as the individual elements are on the menu, I'll mix it. Cranberry juice with milk? Not a problem, you freak.

- Our menus are also not magic. To place an order, look at me and say the words clearly, to ME. If you whisper into your menu, it won't hear you and you will be asked to repeat your order. If you are asked to repeat your order, it's not because I love the sound of your voice you mumbling fuck, it's because I didn't hear what you said, so you should say it louder, not again at a volume and pitch that only bats can hear.

- A handful of people here are friendly to bar staff, and I appreciate that. You guys are my favourites. The majority of folk are pretty neutral, and you guys are alright too. A small percentage are utter fucking cunts - would it kill you to show some manners, maybe throw a please or thank you here and there, or at the very least fucking look at me when I come to your table. This last group is usually made up of rich wankers who clearly see bar work as the lowest of the low and therefore not worth treating with any dignity. They're also clearly the dumbest bunch - I'm the guy making your food and mixing your drinks after all and you wouldn't want me to take offence and add a little something extra, would you? Because I did.

- Actual conversation:
"What's in a Caipiroska?"
"Crushed lime and brown sugar, crushed ice, and vodka."
"Ooh, that sounds nice. Could I have one without alcohol."
"That would be a glassful of ice and mashed up limes."
"It costs €6.90. Should I substitute the alcohol with soda or ginger ale perhaps?"
"No thanks - I just want what it says here, minus the vodka."

I make the drink as directed and serve it..

"Heyyyy! All this is is crushed ice and a bit of lime!"


There will be more, I guarantee it.

1 comment:

DGM said...

Dude, i feel your pain! i am a barman toooo! what i hate in my pub is, people have to note what table number is and come to the bar and ask what they want and i have the same question every single fecking time! ''hello, can i have the cheese burger with baaa...... what table are you on?'' ''the one in the corner by the window'' *there are 6 tables near the window!!!!! argh!!! lol