Don’t Be An Asshole

3 May

Last Thursday night I was, as I am every Thursday night, behind the stick of the bar in which I work.  It had been one of those days.  Specifically, it had been the day that I was harassed by someone in, and on my way home from, The Home Depot near where I live.  I was not in the mood.  But, in an effort at being professional, I tried to put my day’s anger out of my mind.  After all, it wasn’t the fault of my customers that some asshat in an SUV had stalked me through a hardware store and then tried to give me a ride home.  The night went along more or less without a hitch…until about 3:15.  We have this customer who comes in after his restaurant closes most nights of the week. I find him incredibly annoying.  Also, weird.  Annoying and weird.  But as long as I ask him how his night went, give him the 5 tastes of beer he wants and then the actual pint he decides upon, everything is more or less okay.  I try not to talk to him much but to be pleasant when do.  Generally he only stays for one or two, generally he is gone by 12:30 or so.  This past week was different.

He, I’ll call him Daniel, came in at the usual time with a few of his coworkers.  They were celebrating the return of one of the other employees of the restaurant who had been injured the week before.  We were all happy he was back at work and smiling.  Daniel had his customary two beers and then the third.  After the third beer, about 2 1/2 hours after he originally showed up, he decided to go home.  I was happy.  Then, 15 minutes later, he was back.  That is never a good sign.  Generally I find that people who come in late night looking for that one last drink are the most problematic of them all.  Sometimes you don’t know how much they have had and that last one puts them over the edge.  Sometimes you know how much they’ve had but, since they have been there for awhile and you know them, you feel a little bad cutting them off even though you know you should.  You don’t cut them off and you always, every single time, regret it and swear next time that happens you’ll do it.  But then it happens again and you don’t.  Vicious cycle.  Anyway, I have no idea of what this guy’s tolerance is whatsoever.  I only ever see him have one or two.  But I knew when he walked back in the door that this was the drink that was going to do it.  He ordered a Guinness.  With a 4.2% ABV, I figured this was a safe and smart order.  He started asking my coworker a question.  She said she didn’t want to talk about it.  Then he did the thing which I find that men often do:  he asked her again.  Again and again and again.  He phrased it differently.  Tried to guess the answer.  Over and over and over.  Finally she, and I, had had enough.  It was my bar – she was barbacking – so I decided to step in and ask him to drop it.  As I see it, as a bartender, it is my job to make sure that my clients and coworkers feel comfortable and safe and not annoyed.  He argued with me, told me he wasn’t talking to me, that I interrupted.  She fled to the bathroom, I walked away to the other side of our very long bar, leaving him alone.  A few moments later a song came on that sounded more appropriate at a funeral than in a bar, so I walked down the other end, past Daniel, to skip to the next one.  He started up with me again.  I ignored him.  And then, again.  Clearly this is a man who doesn’t take no, or drop it for that matter, for an answer. Finally, after another pointless back-and-forth, I got so annoyed by his condescension and accusatory tone that I asked him to finish his beer and go.  He said he could go somewhere else.  So I said fine, and I took his beer and pulled it in front of me, a sign that it was no longer his to drink.  He looked at me and said,

“Are you drunk?”

“No,” I responded, “but I’m fairly certain you are.  I’m working.  This is me doing my job.”

And then he said it, “go fuck yourself,” and he stormed off.

Now I have been a person far longer than I have been a bartender, but 95% of the times I have been told off in one way or another have been when I have been behind the bar.  And 95% of those times have been by men.  It’s something that I never get used to and something I completely don’t understand.  Being called a bitch.  Told I am “disrespectful.”  Informed that if a girl at my bar has a tattoo on her lower back that is exposed it is someone’s “right to take a photo of it,” that if she didn’t want it looked at she wouldn’t have gotten a tattoo there.  Being instructed to “smile, it’s not so bad.”  Having dollar bills hurled at me over a bar as if I were a piece of trash.  I am told by friends not to let it bother me, and it’s not as if it diminishes my feelings of self-worth or anything, but it still doesn’t feel good.  All I am doing is trying to create an environment that is safe and enjoyable to the majority of people in it.  If you are the one that is standing in the way of the obtainment of that environment, then I am going to ask you to stop and, if you don’t, to leave.  And your meager tips aren’t going to stand in the way of me holding you accountable.  I don’t need the money that badly and I don’t need you to come back.  I find that the people I stand up for, the people I step in for, make much more loyal customers than the drunken idiot I tolerate.  That’s the way it is.  That is my job. Don’t blame me for the fact that you misbehaved, blame yourself.  Go home and think about it.  Figure out why it is that you are not able to act like a normal person in the world. Alcohol is not an excuse and it’s not a license to do, and say, whatever you want, even though a lot of people think it is.  All you have to do is abide by one simple rule:  don’t be an asshole.  Now is that so hard?

One Response to “Don’t Be An Asshole”

  1. creatingcarrie May 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    UGH!

    Dear America: Yes, you are totally high on capitalism, but paying or tipping a person does NOT equal owning them. We’ve been down *that* tragic road but have clearly not learned the lesson. Take a moment and become an adult. Cheers, creatingcarrie

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