A man walks into a bar. He smiles at the bartender and asks for a drink. The bartender smiles back and gets him the drink. The man pays, has a bit of friendly conversation with the bartender and everyone gets on with their night. Beautiful. No-one is judged, there’s no aggravation, no chairs have been thrown across the room. It’s just a pleasant experience. It’s these customers that bartenders dream about. Every bartender wants a customer that is pleasant. It’s a nice little bonus to the night.
Now, as most of you know, an article can never really be an article unless you have a dictionary definition of the thing you’re talking about, so here goes: The dictionary defines a customer as:
“a person or an organisation that buys something from a shop/store or business.”
It’s elegantly simple. It also fills my quota of having to dictionary define at least one thing a month, y’know, because people like that.
My issues do not lie within what a customer is defined as being, in fact it has little to no relevance to the point I’m trying to get across. My issues predominantly lie with the people who have decided that because they are in a bar: they need to be abhorrently unruly and decadent. The people who lack the basic demeanour of not acting like a complete and utter dick. The dictionary definition of “utter dick” is:
“When you’re being a proper turkey*. Stop it. Stop doing that.”
*A turkey is a bad person.
We all know and respect that the customers are the reason the money goes into the till. It’s their hard earned cash that gets handed over to us bartenders and thrown into the money hole box. We should always value the customer, but why is it that some of the customers don’t seem to value us?
Every bartender can tell you an experience they have had with a bad customer. I could sit here and tell you hundreds of stories about them. The people who will walk into a bar with a god complex and try and make the bartender their servant and they make no secret about it.
It’s the customers who walk into a bar with this god complex that they seem to develop when they’re being served by someone who is obviously lower than they are. They’re the people I have a problem with. The people who constantly scream “I pay your wages” in a really shrill voice. The people who look down their nose so much they’ve gone cross-eyed. It’s the customers that cause a ruckus whenever they’ve been told no. The customers who just cannot seem to function in a humanly manner whenever they set foot inside a bar.
I will agree that alcohol plays a huge part in a customer’s behaviour. Some start out really nice and friendly and then get leery when they’ve had a few sherbets. Others only get nicer with the more alcohol they consume. Others start out as dicks and then turn out to be the friendliest creatures that ever existed. It’s a risky, yet sometimes really fun, game to play: “What type of drunk is this guy gonna be?” Let’s not gloss over that fact that some people, however, are just dicks constantly.
I’ve spoken before about how bartenders need to change their attitude towards customers, but customers need to alter theirs as well. No-one’s perfect, but let’s look at helping the world become a better place rather than having some bartenders who are forced to envelop the bitter, customer hating personas that some have taken on. (ME. I’M TALKING ABOUT ME.SOMEONE HELP.)
There will be some people out there that will always declare that it’s part and parcel of the job, and that a thick skinned bartender is always required whilst a rude and abrasive customer seemingly has right of way. That just doesn’t fly with me. It’s a matter of both sides showing respect. A bartender does need to have thick skin in order to succeed, but many a good bartender has been lost because of their inability to stand and take abuse from an inebriated patron who felt the world was theirs to spoil. We need a happy medium.
Just whilst we’re on the subject, I feel it important to note that in situations where the customer is being an arse, it’s important to stand by your staff. Put your employees first and they will put your customers first. I’ve seen far too many occasions and incidents where a manager has apologised profusely to a customer who was being a dick, simply to save face and not lose reputation. It makes the staff member feel alienated and will lead them to cease to care about your business. Obviously if your staff member has been an unexplainable douche eater then you have a different situation: I suggest tar and feathering.
Bartenders are not slaves. Bartenders are not your personal servants with whom you can do unto what you please. They are human beings too (most of them) and deserve at least a little bit of manners, even if they are being paid to provide a service.
Remember: You can be kicked out of a bar without being given a reasonable explanation. Staying in a bar is a privilege, not a right. Manners cost nothing. Just be frickin’ decent human beings. thx bai.
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