Talking At Someone

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I'm at the bar on Saturday night, and it is busy. We have the DJ spinning music and a large crowd drinking. There is a birthday party in my corner and i'm throwing Bud Lights their way to keep them happy.

I get an older guy, maybe around 40, and his wife near the taps. From the corner of my eye, I can see that he is eyeing me. But i'm busy making drinks and queue him up in my mind as the next guy i'll serve.

I get over to him and ask for his drink and immediately I knew this guy was a class-one asshole.

It will be hard to explain in writing, but i'll try. Most people, when ordering will look directly at me, and say clearly what they want. This guy treated me with something close to disdain. Like I was beneath him. It was palpable. I could feel it and I kept my composure but really wanted to say "What the fuck is your problem?"

This guy reminded me of the SNL sketch "The Two A-Holes", except he wasn't chewing gum.

So, he orders his drink and mumbles it to me while looking away, like he has more important things to do. I'm busy, the crowd is jumping, and I can already see my birthday party in the corner wants more "O-bombs" (Stoli O and Red Bull similar to Jagerbombs) and this guy is wasting my time. So I get his attention and ask him again what he wanted. He says his order and then holds up an index finger to me to "Hold a moment" and talks to his wife.

When you are busy, and behind a bar, you don't have many times to "Hold a moment". The owner is there and he's watching us work. The owner can see that other people need drinks and frequently jumps behind the bar to help us if we fall behind. I personally hate that, because it says "I'm not working fast/efficiently enough" to me. I don't want anyone helping me, if I can help it, unless something goes terribly wrong behind the bar (like the register breaks or I run out of liquor/beer and have to fetch something).

So i'm standing there while the 40-year old is making me wait for him to ask his wife what she wants.

Now, like I said before, he was waiting for me at the taps before I walked over. Wouldn't you think he would have asked his wife what she wanted BEFORE that? Nah. Not this guy.

Many times if people do this to me, and it is busy, normally I will just say, "I will come back when you are ready." and walk away to help someone else. But I was just annoyed this was happening and stood there in a detached sense of amusement (I knew it was going to be blogged) and anger (no one likes to be treated like this).

I finally get what they both want, and it is that same contempt he has when ordering. He doesn't look at me when he talks - he just sort of talks AT me. Like i'm a vending machine, not a person. Like he is sitting at the drive-thru at McDonalds and talking to the metallic box and looking for a Happy Meal.

I got his drinks, didn't say a word to him. Didn't say Thank You, just gave him the money and his drinks and went to help the rest of my customers.

Hey, I get it. I'm a bartender. I serve drinks. I try to talk to people, make them laugh a bit, maybe listen to their problems.

But i'm not a fucking servant.

2 Comments

People can tend to be annoying. I work as a line cook. This weekend someone ordered a chicken salad -- no greens and a half an egg white Omelette. We get crazy orders like this all the time. I totally understand your sentiment. It seems like this town (maybe the whole northeast) is full of powertrippers who don't understand the inconvenience they can cause us commoners. At any rate, wouldn't let it get you down. Service is tough, but we do get to work and play hard and laugh it all off at the end of the night. By the by, I totally sympathize about the owner jumping in on your shift. Sucks. Take care.

Wow, what a jerk. This is why I really only ever liked Helmers' because it's not pretentious at all, but who knows when it will reopen. We go to the Mile Square sometimes, but the few experiences we've had there the bartender either doesn't realize they have a beer list or acted annoyed that we wanted glasses with our $8 beers. If I'm going to pay that much for a beer I damn well want a glass. I expect a bar that has that much variety of beer to appreciate that. Anyway! What bar do you work in? I hope not the Mile Square!

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on December 12, 2006 12:33 AM.

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