The saying goes: “The customer’s always right.” We all know places that like to preach this, and we all know people that firmly believe it whenever they’re “complaining.” The customer isn’t always right. I think that’s a well known fact, however, they’re still a customer.
After posting an article asking if there was an issue with Manchester Bartenders in The Bartenders of Manchester’s Bars (fittingly) on Facebook, it’s vividly clear that there is a strong gap between some bartenders and their customers.
My own personal experience as a bartender has taught me that it’s extremely easy to turn against a customer. It becomes a case of: “The fuck? I’m not serving you,” rather than: “Here’s my smile, here’s your drink, thanks for the money, onto the next person.” It’s also important to note that if someone’s being completely unruly and a bit of a twat, the bouncers are literally being paid to get rid of them, if you don’t have bouncers, I’m sure you’ve got your own methods of evicting someone from your bar. It’s very much a case of thick skin and professionalism. Two things I struggled to grasp at the worst of times.
Having said that, not being able to keep your cool when faced with a particularly brazen customer is a lot different to not being able to keep your ego in check when faced with a customer that isn’t adhering to your own set standard of what you deem as “acceptable drinking habits.”
There is an ever increasing amount of bartenders that find it fit to slander and lambaste a customer that has ordered a “vodka and coke” or a “whiskey and coke” simply because “vodka and coke? Let me guess, you don’t get out much?” or “did you mean whiskey straight up? You piss drinking idiot.” I know this to be fact, because I stupidly used to do similar things: I once scoffed at someone because they asked for a “Sex on The Beach” all because I didn’t like them and I thought it was far below my skill set. How stupid is that? Take a second to actually think about that. Fucking dick.
No bartender ever has the right to look down on someone simply due to what they’re drinking, every bartender has the opportunity to try and educate or teach a customer about other brands or spirits that they may not have encountered before, because let’s face it, you had to learn about it yourself at some point, and you haven’t always been suckling from the “greatest whiskey in the world” teat.
Remember, if someone orders one shot of Pappy Van Winkel and someone else orders five vodka and cokes: the money looks the exact same in the till and your life goes on unaffected.
It’s no secret at all that this is a big issue right now, I probably don’t even need to draw it to the attention of anyone. It seems like the more drinks a person learns how to make, the more their attitude towards customers drops; it’s a direct correlation. I don’t think it can be applied to “the bigger a person’s topknot gets, the bigger their ego is.” I think that’s unhappy coincidence, or at least I really hope that’s unhappy coincidence.
I’m a firm believer that you should most definitely have pride in what you do, be you a bartender or something else. You should be proud of your skills and your knowledge, but that never makes you a higher being or intellectual god just because you’ve been to John’s Mezcal training on at least two occasions, heads up: No-one knew about Mezcal, that’s why there was/is so much training.
This isn’t an article trying to attack bartenders nor do I have any intent to piss people off, it’s well documented that this is a problem not just throughout Manchester, but throughout the industry, it’s called hospitality and service for a reason; not just for shits and giggles.
Before I start to reach the end of this article, I have to point out that there are bartenders out there that take pride in their work and give customers great service. Not every bartender is afflicted with the problems I’ve brought up, doesn’t mean the problem isn’t out there.
I want people to love their job. I want people to exhibit the passion that it deserves. I want people to show pride in themselves and their chosen profession.
Just remember the reason you’re there: the sometimes arsey/often pissed/not always good looking/always good looking/willing to sleep with you/not willing to sleep with you/expensive whiskey drinking/affordable rum drinking/cheap vodka drinking customer. Without them, you’re just a person stood behind a piece of wood and marble, with melting ice and no-one to give your number to.
This also kind of works as my apology to any customer that I served during my tenure as “Resident Knobend” when I thought I was better than everyone just because I learned to love Tequila and knew how to make a Manhattan.
I still don’t have a top knot though.
Follow us: @CheapestShot