Tag Archives: bartender

That Time a Lady Told me to Smile

7 Apr

I had a weird moment last night at work. It was this response to an interaction with this woman where I was like

Wow, Rebekah, you’ve changed!

but then at the same time

Ew, lady, aren’t we supposed to be on the same team here?

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to recount the story and then I am going to go ahead and address these two simultaneous reactions that I had to it. Ready? Break!

Part One: The Story

It is French Quarter Fest here in New Orleans. Anyone who has been here for any sort of fest at all knows that shit is cray. There are people everywhere. There is confusion. Costumes. Glitter. Music. Tourists. More zombies* than normal. It’s a whole thing. Not a bad thing, but a thing. To add to the drama let me inform you that I work in the French Quarter which, if your powers of deductive reasoning are on point, means that I work in the exact area where the French Quarter Fest is occurring. That means that my bar is busy busy busy.

I walked in last night at 5pm to a busier-than-average Thursday night. And the thing about a busier-than-average night in my place is that we have “steps of service.” The steps of service at the spot I worked at in Brooklyn basically involved getting drinks out as quickly as possible while avoiding the limes and clipboards that miffed customers could potentially hurl at your head. No joke. At this place the steps are more involved and less potentially dangerous. I am telling you all this just so that you know that getting people food and drinks at the spot I work at now is something of a process.

Alright so now imagine this. There we are during dinner on a busier-than-average Thursday night and all of a sudden me and one of my coworkers realize

Hey, why hasn’t any of the food we ordered come out? It’s been a minute.

And by a minute we meant like 45. We then come to find out that the printer in the kitchen has stopped working and they didn’t get any of the tickets. So this might lead one to ask ones self

Self, there is a full restaurant out there and yet there are no tickets coming through the printer. Has this city declared a moratorium on food or is something amiss?

But I don’t think anyone asked themselves that. Or maybe they did, I don’t know. But either way they didn’t keep the bar in the loop and we had two ladies on a 45 minute wait for a salad and some shrimp. Anyway, I was in the midst of discussing this fiasco with my manager when I heard from the other side of the bar a very curt and impatient

Hell-loooooooo.

I looked over to see a blonde lady staring at me with what I can only describe as crazy eyes. You know the eyes.

Me: Hi.
Lady: Gesticulates wildly to the space in front of her.
Me: What can I do for you?
Lady: Well, we just got here and….. (gives me a meaningful look that invited me to read her mind but really just made her look even crazier.)
Me: Here’s a drink menu. Would you like food also?
The lady looks at her husband and they share a communal huff and make moves to get up. I shrug my shoulders and take the menu back and go back to the conversation about the broken ticket printer in the kitchen which I was in the middle of having when she sassed me in the first place.
Lady: Smile.
Me: I’m sorry, what?
Lady: Smiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiile. You would make a lot more money if you smiled. Mo-ney. Smiiii-llleee. (All the while she is using her hands to demonstrate what a smile the size of Texas might look like and staring at me as if I had somehow committed the largest offense ever.)

They then left. But not after telling me that they live in the city and would never be back to this restaurant ever again if their life depended on it. I shed a silent tear. And then I went back to doing my job. Meanwhile, all the people around this couple were shocked and could not understand what had just happened. I told them I also couldn’t understand it. They said they thought I was nice. I agreed. One guy said he thought they came in with a bad attitude. I said he was probably right. We all laughed and laughed. And then we carried on with our evenings, largely unaffected by the bad attitude cloud that had momentarily descended on the bar.

Part Two: I’ve Changed!

Have you ever had some big experience and then afterwards noticed a large change in yourself? This is totally stupid but when I came back from my year abroad I noticed that, as a result of the countless hours spent in various modes of transportation, sometimes for hours and hours longer than expected, I was completely unfazed by being stuck in traffic or being on long car rides. This is still the case all these years later. I used to get a little impatient but now I’m like

Eh. Whatever. I’m sitting here.

In the grand scheme of things that isn’t such a big thing but it certainly does make the amount of traveling I do significantly easier. AND I think it makes me a better car partner. So anyway, in the past if I had an experience like the one with the lady, I would have gone down this whole rabbit hole of emotion. I would have analyzed every single second of our interaction and tried to figure out what exactly I had done to cause her to behave like such an asshole. But sometimes, people are just assholes. Or, they behave like assholes in a specific moment for no real reason. And sometimes there is nothing you do to cause it and nothing you can do to prevent it and so your only solution is to shrug your shoulders and be like

Alright cool what’s next.

And that’s just what I did. I sort of figured if they wanted to be Bad Attitude Bears all around town that was on them and I certainly didn’t need to let it effect the rest of my night or the service I provided to other people. So, fuck ’em. I hope they went home and stewed in their own unhappiness rather than raining it down upon the rest of us people just out trying to have a good time or make a buck.

Part Three: Teammates? No?

I should have learned this already following the presidential election but a lot of white women suck. And beyond that, all us women are not on the same team. Okay, fine. But here’s the thing. Men tell me to smile a lot. A LOT. I’ll be walking down the street and hear some dude be all

C’mon, honey, it’s not that bad. Smile.

Or

You’d look a lot better if you’d smile.

I find that super offensive. It very well might be that bad. And maybe I don’t feel like smiling. But either way shut the fuck up my face is not your concern. Basically every woman I have ever spoken to about it also finds it offensive. The thing about it is I know a lot of women and none of them, not a single one, goes about life with a smile plastered on her face at all times. And I get it, work is different, especially when you work in service. You have to smile more. It makes people feel welcome and people who feel welcome have a better time and tip better. Yadda yadda yadda. The funny thing about it is that I smile at work a lot. I smile so much that some of the dudes in the kitchen call me sunshine. I smile so much that when the barback heard that some lady told me to smile he looked at me and said,

You? Jesus. I think you should smile less.

And so, yeah, I know we all don’t see life the same way but, come on lady! Get a clue! It’s like, I expect men to be condescending assholes and tell me how to live my life down to my every facial expression. I don’t like it but I expect it. I do not, however, expect it to come from a woman who has most likely had a similar experience and felt disempowered or spoken down to or whatever. It’s like, way to drink the koolaid, bitch. Way to just swallow, full stop, normalized sexism and misogyny and throw it in the face of someone 15 years younger than you because you didn’t get a menu and a glowing smile the very second your ass hit the barstool. And I’m sorry that I wasn’t willing to ignore your impatience and rudeness and discern exactly what you needed at that exact moment. I’m pretty good at my job but I am not a magician.

***

And with that, I must away. another 3 days of French Quarter Fest await and I have to do my facial exercises, you know, so I can smile more.

* Zombies, New Orleans style (n): zom-bie
(1) a. a will-less and speechless human (as in West Indian voodoo belief and in fictional stories) held to have drank too much on Bourbon Street and been supernaturally reanimated
b. the supernatural power of the Hurricane or Hand Grenade that according to voodoo belief may enter into and reanimate a dead body

New Orleans Diary: Weeks Eight and Nine

27 Jan

Goal: To write a weekly post documenting my time here in the Crescent City. I didn’t post last week because it was the inauguration AKA the end of the Free World and I thought that my self-indulgent posting was inappropriate and no one would read it anyways. Also I was probably crying. If you want to know all about me crying, you can read my post about that here. Otherwise, here we go. Combined Weeks 8 and 9 start NOW.

Safety: I have been receiving very different reports on the safety levels in this city depending on who I ask. For example, at work the other day there were a whole bunch of sirens and police cars racing all over the place and my coworker goes

Someone done got themselves shot. Happens all the time.

So I thought to myself,

Okay, not safe.

And then a few minutes later I said something about being nervous walking alone at night and the exact same coworker says

Nah, you’ll be fine. Ain’t nothing to worry about.

So then I thought,

Okay maybe safe?

So you can see my confusion, right? My manager told me it would be better to take a cab home when I work the night shift (not safe), but a different co-worker told me not to bother, I would be totally fine walking (safe). Of course at the same time my friend Katie was in town visiting and we took a Lyft home and the driver was a woman and she had a baseball bat in the front seat for protection. So I was like,

Oh, okay, totally not safe.

But then I was on the phone with my brother telling him about the lady with the baseball bat and explaining this whole safe vs. not safe conundrum and he told me how he was one time walking through NYC and there was some sort of an altercation and one dude went to his car, opened the trunk, and pulled out a baseball bat at which time the other guy went to his trunk and pulled out a baseball bat. The two guys menaced each other for a little while and then, realizing that they were matched equally, they put their bats away and continued going where ever they were going. So maybe bats are actually a thing that everyone should have in their cars as a baseline, sort of like ice chippers in the north. Because goddess forbid you end up in a bat altercation without a bat. I am a firm believer in the deterrent power of mutually assured destruction so I think maybe this afternoon I will head over to Modell’s and buy myself a Slugger.

Anyway, the jury is still out on the safety thing. Maybe some people can weigh in. But in the mean time, I am just using the strength of my gut, honed over years of navigating this world as a female. #blessed *

Fireball: My friend Rob (Hi Rob!) was training me behind the bar at the fantastic spot he works at yesterday and I learned a new thing: people like their Fireball cold here. We always kept our Fireball out of the fridge in Brooklyn. Sometimes I would chill it for people when they did shots, and sometimes I would put it over ice, but a lot of times people just wanted a regular room temperature shot. But not here! It is kept in the fridge along with the Jager and Rumplemintz, if you are in the unfortunate situation of even having Rumplemintz. One thing that is the same: every bar at some point ends up with a bottle of Rumplemintz that likely gets thrown in for free by the poor liquor rep who is tasked with the Rumplemintz account. That bottle then sits there for fucking ever because no one drinks that shit. Eventually the bar either just dumps it to make space for something else gross but at least marketable (ie Jager) or turns it into some sort of special wherein shots cost $1. Then when that doesn’t work they throw it into some sort of a mixed drink that is nasty and no one orders it so you just end up giving it away for free AKA dumping it down the drain.

So in summation: Fireball is kept warm in Brooklyn and cold here in New Orleans. Rumplemintz is pretty much reviled the country over.

Nutria Rats: I learned about nutria rats the other day. Um….these things are fucking huge and they have these massive teeth that basically look like when you take baby carrots and shove them under your upper lip and pretend to be a walrus only in the case of nutria rats they aren’t baby carrots they are actual teeth. Actual huge, orange teeth. Google them. Seriously. Tell me they don’t look like baby carrot teeth.

But seriously, nutria rats. They have been described as a cross between a beaver (hence the teeth) and New York sewer rats (hence the disgusting) and they are a real problem! So admittedly I didn’t do all that much research on them because they make me sort of queasy, but I will tell you what I learned. Nutria rats came here in the 1930s when some asshole named E. A. McIlhenny brought 13 of them to Avery Island for their pelts. Then there was a hurricane, as there are here, and some of them escaped and since they have no natural predators they just had baby after disgusting orange-toothed baby. (Think possums in New Zealand. Although I think New Zealand also might have nutria rats. Poor New Zealand.) The extra big problem is that they love to munch away on the plants that are indigenous to swamp lands, the very same plants that help protect from coastal erosion. So guess what happens when nutria rats run-a-muck and eat all the plants that stop coastal erosion? You guessed it: the coast erodes! So now there are like 5 million of them living on Louisiana’s southern coast and it has been estimated that they are contributing to a rate of soil erosion pegged at 40 square miles per year. Wow! That’s a lot of miles! And a lot of squares!

So what is to be done? Some people are trying to put nutria on menus, but the thing is a lot of people aren’t super keen on eating swamp rats. I get it. I wouldn’t want to eat any rats, swamp or otherwise. And not just because I don’t eat meat but because, ew, I have seen what rats eat, I lived in New York for 12 years. Rats will eat other rats if given the chance. Or they will eat your face. Nope, no thank you. The other approach has been to try and sell their fur, which was the original reason for them being brought over here anyways so it is sort of like making the whole thing go full circle. I mean, they have to kill the things anyway to protect the marshland, so might as well sell their skins I guess? I don’t know. And you guys, you will never believe where these furs have become popular. In the center of hipsterdom itself: Brooklyn. I wonder whether I could make a living selling their teeth as necklaces and shit. There has to be a market for that, right? Weird orange carrot teeth rings? Etsy, here I come!

Job: I got a job. I have to wear suspenders and a tie which makes me feel sort of dopey. Also, I had to buy some black pants but I didn’t want to have them hemmed so I bought pants for tall people that are I think supposed to be capris but since I’m not all that tall they hit just above my feet. So they’re sort of short, especially when they are constantly being hiked up by the suspenders. The result of which is that I look even dopier than I would have otherwise. Sigh. I can, however, make a damn good Sazerac now if I do say so myself. And I do. If you’re into that sort of thing. I refuse, however, to employ any sort of “flair” into my bartending. I shake with a normal shake, I stir with a normal stir, I don’t light things on fire and I do not throw things into the air unless someone scares me or I trip or something. I am committed to this position.

Politics: It is like a minefield. A minefield, I tell ya! I spend a lot of my time getting all outraged about the state of the world by visiting The Internet and my only real expression of this is through talking on the phone, mostly with my Mom, and sending outraged text messages to my friends, specifically a few of them (love you gals). Most of you readers know me personally and know that I am rather outspoken on issues of equality and justice and opportunity and all that. So you might be surprised to know that here I more or less keep my mouth shut. The result of this is that I cry more because I am so frustrated and also there is the constant repetition of

FUUUUUUUUUUUCK

running through my head at basically every single moment. This is made especially annoying by the fact that my ears are clogged and so I am living in a weird world where everything is muffled except for my own voice which is REALLY LOUD. So if I return home 75% less sane than when I left, you all will know why. It’s basically FUUUUUUCK and my loud, screaming voice all the time. Help.

Conclusion: I have to go because I am taking up a table at a cafe and it is getting a little rude at this point. I don’t want to be rude. So I have to cut this post short. Hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned! Xx

*That hashtag was sarcastic.

New Orleans Diary: Week Six

6 Jan

Goal: You know the deal. Write a weekly post that hopefully has some meaningful content only to realize week week that I am only writing about my mostly meaningless observations. Catch up on the earlier diaries here if you are so inclined! Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five.

Saga of the Lost Pants: If you remember from last week, I lost my pants. Well, 2/3 of my pants, anyway. I came to the rock solid conclusion that the bug that had previously been tormenting me had likely made away with them but that theory had yet to be proven. The other theory was that I had in fact left my pants in Houston, Texas over Christmas when I was there seeing my friend Carrie and my Texas Family. In order to either prove, or disprove, this second more reasonable theory, Carrie offered to text her mom to see if I  had left my pants at her house. She checked and, alas! I had not! Clearly my initial response was

I knew it! The bug took them!

But then I looked in my closet and realized that they were folded up on a shelf in there underneath some curtains and a scarf. Perhaps, you might be saying to yourself, I should have investigated the closet before making Carrie’s mom search through her house and also before accusing an innocent insect of theft. And you might be right.

In other news I am wearing my pants right now.

Hipster Bikes: So this is not just a New Orleans post because I also saw these same bikes in New York only far less often. They are those stupid high off the ground bikes. Those really tall ones. You know the ones:

hipsterest-bike

Anyway I see these bikes a lot and it’s like, why?! Why would you ride that stupid thing? First of all, you look like an asshole. Second of all, how do you get on and off? Third of all, it is really far down to the ground when you inevitably fall. And fourth, see the first point. They are just so….annoyingly, laughingly hipster. I just sometimes want to tell people that something ceases to be unique and cool and interesting when all your friends are also doing it but I guess that is a waste of breath. So instead I will just continue to do what I have been doing up until this point: shaking my head with complete and utter disdain.

Food Handler’s License: I am now the proud owner of a New York State Food Handler’s License as well as a Louisiana Alcohol Vendor Permit. (Hold the applause.) Obtaining my vendor’s permit here was, shall we say, eye opening. I know a lot of you readers are from New York and also probably had to go through all the stupid steps to get your food handler’s license. But for those of you who haven’t, here is a brief overview.

You have two choices, you can either take the class in-person or take it online. To take it in-person costs $114 and requires you to attend 15 hours of classes. Online is free. Either way you have to travel all the way up to a filthy building on 125th Street or something in order to take the test itself. Here’s the thing about taking the classes online, at least when I did it. There were a bunch of different sections and each section had a whole lot of information and at the end of the section there was a quiz. You couldn’t go on to the next section unless you successfully passed the quiz by answering all 5 (if I remember correctly) questions right. You also couldn’t go on to the next section if you hadn’t been working on the previous section for something like 2 hours. So if you answered something wrong on the quiz? You had to have the browser open for another 2 hours and then take the quiz again. And if you answered all the question right but hadn’t had the browser open the full 2 hours? Well then you waited. It was one of the most boring, most tedious, most unnecessary processes ever.

In New Orleans, it is totally different. I signed up for my class on Wednesday morning and was sitting in the upstairs area of Saints and Sinners at 3pm. The class costs $25. It takes 2 hours. And then you take the test which is comprised of 20 multiple choice questions, the answers for which have literally been fed to you in the moments preceding. I walked out of the class at 5:15 with my temporary permit, a permit that is valid for the next 4 years. Easy peasy.

So, in summation: New York makes everything so much more time consuming and annoying than is necessary. Also, the Office of Health and Human Services where I had to take the exam was so incredibly disgusting and was infested with cockroaches. And the guy taking the test next to me kept picking his nose and eating what he found. I know that isn’t New York’s fault (the nose picking) but still it was rather unpleasant. New Orleans, on the other hand, was a breeze. I didn’t see any bugs (Hallelujah!) and no one picked anything out of any of the orifices in their body.

Rain: It rains a lot here. It is raining right now, in fact. And it has also rained a lot of the other days since I have been here. But at least it is not snowing. I think this week I will buy one of those nifty bright yellow raincoats that I was embarrassed to wear when I was a kid but now want really badly. Also some galoshes.

Conclusion: So that is it. Week Six is in the books. I have a feeling there will be BIG news next week and hopefully that will not involve my car flooding which is a real concern, a concern that keeps me up at night.

Tip #19 on Being a Good Bar Customer

22 Jul

Just before I get into this I need to say the following thing: I cannot believe I am actually writing the tip that I am writing. It really just blows my mind. Okay, are you ready? Here we go.

Tip: Do not walk into a bar, order a beer for you and your friend and then turn around without leaving money, walk out of the bar with the two open beers and then get into your car – one of you behind the wheel –  and drive away. Don’t do that. And especially don’t do that and then walk back into the bar approximately 45 minutes later and expect to not take the biggest fucking verbal lashing of your entire adult life. Story time? Well, I guess I pretty much just told the story but I am going to elaborate.

So there I was, at work as usual. I was expecting a slow day but it got pretty busy which was good because hooray for money! At the same time it was bad because I was in the middle of The Reckoning (Rebekah speak for the worst period I’ve had in a long time) and I was leaking iron faster than my body could produce it. I just wanted to do my job and not have to deal with any sort of shenanigans. But there are always, always shenanigans. So, anyway, in walks this dude with his buddy and he walks up to the bar and orders a beer for himself and one for his friend. I popped them both and handed them across the bar and then, right before my very eyes, the two of them walked through the bar, out the door, through the outside patio area and into their car and then they drove off down a busy avenue in the middle of the afternoon. I was dumbfounded. But then I stopped being dumbfounded and got really mad. I swear there was so much anger-pressure built up in my head right in that moment that if my head were to explode the sheer power of the explosion would have catapulted brain matter all over the ceiling which, by the way, is extremely high.

I spent the next 45 minutes oscillating between doing my job and being angry. I was working very hard on not doing both those things at once. It went something like this:

  • Stand behind the bar thinking about what a fucked up thing just happened
  • Notice that someone needs a beer
  • Take a deep breath, smile, walk towards the person to inquire as to what they might need
  • Say “Hi, how are you? What can I get for ya?” Listen intently for response.
  • Get the thing, deliver it and take payment
  • Immediately begin thinking about the fucked up thing and get mad again
  • Repeat

But then the 45 minutes of intense mood regulation came to an end because the mother fucker walked back into the bar again and was all

Hey, what’s up?

I scowled, shook my head and waved my hand in his general direction in a way that I was hoping communicated something along the lines of

Get the fuck out of here before I rip you a new one.

It didn’t work because he ordered a beer.

And then the floodgates opened. The floodgates of rage. I was sweating. I was shaking. I think I got goosebumps. I unloaded perhaps the biggest barrage of righteous anger that has come out of my in years. It actually included the phrase “who the fuck do you think you are” which is something you aren’t supposed to say until you have children and those children decide to go joyriding around the neighborhood with open bottles of beer.

O_o

Anyway, through the whole verbal onslaught this man (rightfully) endured, he just stood there and stared at me in utter disbelief. Much like how I stared at his car as it traveled down 5th avenue a mere three quarters of an hour earlier. And then he made a fake phone call and got back into his car, where he sat for the following 1/2 hour thinking about what he had done. (No, probably not but a girl can dream.)

So yea, don’t do that. Don’t buy beers and then leave a bar with the beers. This is not New Orleans. And even there you need to have Go Cups. You can’t just go parading around the neighborhood with open glass bottles of shit. But especially don’t buy beers, leave the bar with the beers, and then go get behind the wheel of your car. So many things could happen.

  1. You could get arrested
  2. The bar could lose its liquor license
  3. I could get a massive fine and, likely, lose my job
  4. You could kill yourself or someone else
  5. None of those things happen but instead you have to deal with my rage and it might not be as bad as the rest of the things, but you won’t forget it. I am really good with words when I am angry. And nothing makes me more angry than the complete and utter disregard that some people have for the safety and livelihoods of those they share this world with.

And while we’re on this topic, please don’t order a Long Island Ice Tea from me ever, but especially when you are holding your fucking car keys. Do you think I cannot see them? Do you think I am stupid? Do you think I lack the powers of deductive reasoning? Because I can, I’m not and I don’t. Not by a long shot.

Enjoy your weekend, friends. And be safe out there. Some dick head might be driving around while boozing it up at 5pm. You never know.

Tip #18 on Being a Good Bar Customer

17 Jul

Hi friends. I know that my posts — when I actually write them which I swear will be happening with more regularity — have been super bar heavy as of late but to be honest I cannot engage with the world right now. What with Brock Turner, the massacre in Orlando, the on-going shooting deaths of black men and women at the hands of those who are tasked with protecting all of us, Donald Fucking Trump, the killing of police in Dallas, that truck mowing people down in Nice, the bombings in Iraq and all the other horrors we don’t hear about because if they don’t happen in The West the media doesn’tt cover them and it’s almost as if they didn’t happen at all I’m just like, done. My brain has taken on the role of my now retired 2009 Mac Book Pro and just constantly has that pinwheel of death swirling around. My brain hamster has taken a break from its wheel and is napping under a giant pile of wood chips. It simply cannot compute where we are and what we have become. And so instead I will write about the bar. Because that I can do. So, here it is. Another tip for your ongoing amusement (and dare I say, education).

At this point I spend anywhere from 35-45 hours a week behind the bar. I know, I know, it isn’t that many hours in comparison with some other jobs like lawyering, and doctoring, and presidenting the United States or other countries (only this week maybe not Turkey because Erdogan got a little bit of a vacation thanks to the coup attempt) but it is a lot of hours to be standing and dealing with the public. My feet hurt. And the public is exhausting. They need things all the time. But it is my job and so when I am behind the bar I do it. I give people things. I might complain about it under my breath and to my coworkers. I might daydream about taking a chainsaw to the tables in my one bar that are so far away that I have to walk a mile every time I bring someone a beer or some snacks, but I still do it. I bring the far-away people their beer and snacks because that is my job and that is how I pay my rent. But here is the thing: when I am not behind the bar because I am waiting in line for the bathroom or trying to find my manager to fix the piece of shit POS system that freezes at all the wrong times or maybe just hanging out because I am taking a break or my shift is over, please don’t order a drink from me. Don’t grab my arm and say

When you get a chance I’d like a jack and coke.

Or

Hey – can I get a pilsner?

Or

 

Make me that thing you made me last time.

You know why? The answer is three fold. The first fold is that it is rude to grab someone’s arm when you aren’t friends with them or, really, even when you are depending on the circumstance. Don’t grab. No one likes a grabber. The second fold is that I am human and need to piss just like the rest of you. And the third and perhaps most important fold is that I cannot make you a drink when I am not behind the bar because I don’t have go-go gadget arms or arms that stretch really far like the mom in The Incredibles. As much as it pains me I am just a regular girl. With regular arms.

So this happened to me yesterday. I mean, this happens to me almost every Friday and Saturday night at least once but it happened again yesterday. And it happened in the way that is the most annoying and also the most predictable. Someone who a number of weeks earlier had asked me my name (red flag!) and therefore came to the conclusion that she deserved special treatment saw me walking out in the bar amongst the regular people (AKA customers). She said hi. I said hi. And then she said

Make me my drink when you get back there?

And, you guys, I think I gave her the stankest of stank faces and then I went back behind the bar and do you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t make her the drink. I didn’t make her the drink for two reasons. The first reason was that I couldn’t remember what she drinks because everyone expects me to remember what they drink and I can hardly even remember what I drink after a certain point in the weekend. And second was that she asked me for a drink when I was not behind the bar and that is a no-no. Special treatment is not really a thing unless I am friends with you In Real Life or you are the owner of the bar. And truth be told either of those people, the In Real Life friends and the owner of the bar, understand that there is an order in which people get served drinks and it is important for us tenders to follow that order to minimize any potential problems. We all know what happens when that order gets fucked up: nothing good.

This whole thing, I don’t know, it’s like going to the post office and thinking because you have gotten quick service at 2 in the afternoon on a random Tuesday and the post office window person smiled at you and asked about your week it means you should get that same warm reception and quick service at noon the day before Christmas (is the post office even open then? I don’t know.). Or like, going into the post office and seeing the long line and then seeing the post office window person walking to the bathroom (I don’t know why this would ever happen) and grabbing the post office window person’s arm and being like

Can I mail this package?

The post office window person would not give you a warm smile, would not ask you about you week and instead would tell you to wait in line like everyone else. And the thing about this happening in the post office is that unlike when this happens in a bar where it’s loud and chaotic everyone else in the line would hear you trying to sneak in front and they would all give you the stankest of stank faces. Maybe there would even be a mutiny! Oh my god I am now imaging if something like this happened at the DMV at the Atlantic Center. The world would end for sure. Anyway as I was saying. So in the post office it is quiet and so everyone hears you trying to cut the line but in the bar it isn’t quiet. There is talking and music and so when you ask for a drink when I am not behind the bar and then I come behind the bar and make you that drink do you know who looks like an asshole? Is it you? No. It is me. I look like the asshole. I get all the stankest of stank faces. Because I fucked up the order. It’s all my fault. And do you know what happens when everyone thinks I am an asshole? Everyone doesn’t tip me. And then I make no money and I am sad.

So please, please, wait your turn. Don’t put me in a weird place. I will get to you. And if you are polite and chill and patient, I will probably sneaky get to you early. I will know your drink and I will make it on the sly. And sometimes I might not charge you for it. How do you like them apples?

Pro Tip: Don’t Move Above a Bar

13 Jul

Oh, people, when will you learn that you live in a city? In a shared space? In a location that has (gasp!) noise? And although 311 and the police do exist, there is a time to make a complaint – when construction starts at 6:30am instead of the allowed 7am – and a time to not make a complaint – when you move above a bar and then get mad that it’s loud. Because the thing about it is that there are two competing factors in this equation

  • You
  • The bar

And in order to distinguish which of those two factors should be deemed the winner in a battle over noise levels we have to look at a few things

  • Was the bar there before you?
  • Do you miss the stars and the quiet and the no fights at 4 in the morning in front of your fancy bagel shop?
  • Are you a dick who (a) doesn’t want anyone to have fun and (b) doesn’t want bartenders and servers to make money?

If you answered yes to question one, then you should probably just go back from whence you came. Or at the very least realize that you made a grave error and move to any one of the thousands of apartments that exist that are NOT located right above, or right next to, a bar or club. I know, I know, real estate is expensive and you got a deal on your spot. But I am going to give you one guess as to why exactly you got that deal. Think about it. Think.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

That’s right. Because you moved above or next to a bar and that apartment is hard to fill because most people don’t want to hear the bass of some half blown-out speakers when they are trying to go to sleep or woo their partner. I mean, think about it this way: I am a bartender, have been for years, and I would never – and I mean never – move above or next to a bar. Ideally, I would like to not even be on the same block as a bar what with all the cigarette smoker-chatters and the cabbies honking their horns until all hours. It’s just common sense, really. So now, a story!

For years and years I worked at this one bar. Within the first two years of my working there we resigned for another 10 year lease. So, it would follow, that we had already been there for 10 years. And we were located on a busy avenue full of trucks, buses, people and skinned animal corpses moved from van to store in creepy looking grocery carts (don’t ask). Basically there was noise all the time and we were the least of it. All that being said, if you were in the market for sleep in a quiet environment and you didn’t want to shell out money for a noise machine, this was probably not the place for you. But some people don’t use their powers of deductive reasoning. Some people just say,

whatever, I want to live in this apartment and so I will mold the environment to me! Take that, all you people who lived and worked here before! Take that “city who never sleeps.” Never sleeps my ass! WE ALL MUST SLEEP AND WE MUST SLEEP IN ACCORDANCE WITH MY NORMALIZED SCHEDULE!

I bet you can already tell how this is going to go. Basically this mother fucker moved into the second floor, one floor above a bar that had been in that location for over a decade at that point, and complained every single day. Every day! And it wasn’t even at like 11 or 12 when he was taking his lame ass to bed. He would complain at 5. Before he even went into his fucking apartment. He would come home from the gym and just waltz into the bar and in his most insufferable French accent would say

Excuse me but eet ees too loud.

And I would say

It’s 5pm. There are like 12 people in here. And you haven’t even gone upstairs yet.

And then he would waltz back out and up to his apartment and then

RING RING RING

The phone would ring and I would answer it, knowing exactly what was about to happen and he would be all

I am eeenside my apartment now and eeet eees too loud!

And I would hang up on him and turn up the music because I am an asshole. But I mean, really?! Ugh he was the worst and I mean that in an entirely non-hyperbolic way. If I had to make a list of The Worst he would top it. And I don’t mean like The Worst Ever in the World, I just mean The Worst in terms of dickhead foreigners who think they are going to get the beauty and quiet of the South of France on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street in Brooklyn. PAH-lease.

Anyway, the reason that I write about this now, all these years later, is that it is happening again only this time at a different bar! Some anonymous dick keeps calling the cops on us because the music is too loud. So this is what I have to say:

Yo, dude (or lady), you moved here. You made a choice. As far as I can guess no one put a gun to your head and was all “move to this place where you will never sleep ever because there are people there drinking and having fun and they all hate you” (which, by the way, we do because you are a pain in the fucking ass). But really, that conversation never happened.

But, like, beyond that I am sorry that you aren’t getting good, quality sleep. I really am. But do you know who else isn’t getting good quality sleep? Me. And do you know why? Because I serve drinks until 4 in the morning on weekends and get woken up every single day at 7 (except Sunday) by construction noises. Those noises came after me. I was here first. But there is nothing I can do about it. And I recognize that I made the choice to go into the line of work that I am in. And I recognize that there is a normal schedule that most people have and then there is the schedule that I have. And that schedule is not normal. And so I just have to deal with the fact that I live in a city, another thing that I chose. And I have to understand that there are lots of people who also live here who have competing interests and opposite hours and they have just as much of a right to go about their lives as I do. So, please, think about all that before you move somewhere. And realize that by you complaining about the noise, we are having to make ridiculous accommodations that result in making our bar less fun and that means less money for us. And that matters. Because this is our livelihood.

So, honestly, when I start complaining about the beeping of your child’s school bus and the cab that picks you up for your corporate job at 6am, then we can talk. But I’m never going to complain about those things. Because I am a reasonable human. So just shut the fuck up and move. I hear there are some really quiet towns in New Jersey.*

*No offense, New Jersey, I love you!

 

Tip #17 on Being a Good Bar Customer

24 Jun

Alright, once again with the tips. But first, a little background information for you. In case you didn’t know this about me, I really don’t like money. Or, well, I guess that isn’t fair. To be more accurate: I really don’t like what money does to people. So many of the problems that we have in this world can be traced back to money and what it does to people. Here are some examples:

  • The looting of the Amazon and other natural wonders
  • The fact that we cannot seem to get our heads out of our fucking asses and enact actual, reasonable gun reform
  • The Detroit water crisis
  • The lack of actual, sustained help for New Orleans and all its residents regardless of race or economic status in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
  • The fact that Hurricane Katrina did the damage that it did in the first place
  • War
  • That athletes, musicians, politicians and basically every other male in power (and many of those not in power) get away with sexual assault and rape
  • Global warming
  • Donald Trump

You get the picture. All that being said, I do understand that money is a thing that is necessary for survival in this world and so, in order to make survival possible, I work. And when I work, I want to make as much money as I can. And that, friends, is a team effort. My ability to make money really depends on you coming into the place that I work, ordering the things that you want from me, and then tipping me appropriately. My livelihood depends on you. That’s right. You. (I am pointing at you right now. Is it making you feel weird? It should.) But that’s not all! It also depends on you understanding that the seats at my bar and tables are like real estate. You rent a space for your ass by buying things and tipping me on them. And when you stop buying things, and stop tipping on them, you abandon your rented space and make room for the next guy. This isn’t to say that the second you take your last sip I expect you to walk away from whatever conversation you’re having, game you’re watching, or Tweet you’re Tweeting, but it is to say that you should be aware and respectful of my need to pay my rent and buy food for my two adorable little kitties. Stories!

During the World Cup last year I was at work and my bar was packed. But there, at the bar, was an empty stool. How odd! Upon closer inspection I came to realize that two people sitting at the bar were saving the stool for someone who had yet to arrive. Now on a normal day when there is plenty of space, I wouldn’t mind that. Save away! There’s nothing better than getting to a bar to meet your friends after a long day of work and finding that they have saved a seat, just for you! But on a day when the bar is jam packed with people wanting to pay money for things (and tip on those things) saving a seat is sort of cutting into my business. People notice there is no space and move on to another spot. Or, because they are behind a wall of people, they are not able to buy drinks with the regularity that they, and I, might like. And so I looked at the people saving the seat and I said

Excuse me, but do you think you could move your bag so someone could sit in that seat?

And the lady of the pair said

No, I’m actually saving this seat for someone.

So I smiled and said

Yeah, that’s great, except that certain someone isn’t here yet and we are well into the first half of the game and there are other people who are actually here now and would like to sit.

She stared at me. I stared at her. She moved her bag. Therefore I won. I almost always win staring contests. Her friend, by the way, didn’t arrive for over an hour. So this lady and her companion were actually going to sit at the bar as person after person asked if they could sit and they would respond

Nah, my friend is coming.

Only their friend was not really coming. Not right then, anyway. And the two people sitting at the bar only had one drink each. And then they drank seltzer! And didn’t tip on it. (Which, if I’m being honest, might have had something to do with the fact that I had told her she couldn’t save a seat for her incredibly tardy friend.) So that’s another thing. Don’t occupy a seat at the bar for like 4 hours and only drink seltzer! I mean, whatever, occupy the seat, but do like my friend Cherie does when she drinks seltzer and tip on your soda! Don’t be that guy at the coffee shop who occupies a table for like 5 hours and drinks one cup of coffee. No one likes that guy. That guy is a dick.

And here’s another thing. No one likes to be all packed in like sardines at a bar. I understand that. That is why I don’t hang out in busy bars. I work in them; I do not hang out in them. Busy bars are awful when you don’t have a giant slab of wood protecting you from the masses. And even when you do have that lab of wood they sometimes suck. And so I understand the desire that some people have to make a space around them by saving a seat with their backpack for no reason whatsoever other than to keep someone else from elbowing them. But the thing is, that’s rude. It is rude to other people who are stuck standing so your backpack can take a load off, and it’s rude to me who wants to make money off the seat your backpack is occupying. So unless you want to pay rent on two stools by tipping me double on every drink you have, put your bag on the floor or on one of the hooks conveniently located under the bar for just such an occasion. Or! Be one of those people who travels with their own hook! I always admire the foresight of those people.

So yeah, I don’t know, guys. I guess it all comes down to respect. Respect the fact that the bar only exists if people buy things, and your missing friend and your backpack do not buy things. Respect the fact that under the current system I can only survive if you tip me and, again, your missing friend and your backpack don’t tip me. And respect the fact that you are not, in fact, the only person in the universe. There are other people here, too. People who aren’t missing or an inanimate object that you use as a means of conveyance. Other people who want to go out, have fun, drink drinks, watch games and, yes, even sit down on a bar stool. So please, let them sit.