Thursday, April 12, 2007

Give me back my pineapple

This was the day that I knew I had to stop bartending for a while.

I would like to say that I am not a violent person, but there is always somebody out there who likes to test your patience, you know? I do not and have never started an altercation with someone in my life (I will turn into a fembot version of the Incredible Hulk if you piss me off), but I must fucking wear a big ass sign on my ass that says - "please try to kick me". When I was working full time in the service industry, stupid ass monkeys were always trying to pick fights with me. How you ask? By the time I had been working in the service industry for over a decade, the following would pretty much get me to put 'em up:

1. Walk into my establishment already hammered
2. Look at me funny - that was at my discretion to decide
3. Bang your fist on my bar
4. Call me "Hey you"
5. Ask to see my titties, ass, love muffin, tattoos, piercings, etc.
6. Offer to "take you away from all of this"
7. Use derogatory language toward any group of people
8. Steal
9. Try to come behind the bar
10. Make out, fuck, give head anywhere in my bar
11. Spit (saliva or cum)
12. Harass any other employee in my business
13. Refuse to pay for your drinks
14. Try to walk out on your tab
15. Take your dick out and piss all over my floor (I'll tell you the story another time)

You can see where I am going people and I could probably list well over 100 of these, but that would be really fucking boring. What I am trying to say is that I am not exactly the type of person who will put up with any shit from anyfuckingbody. Does that make me a hardass? No. What that makes me is a person who has been abused by customers for a really long ass time and one who decided not to take it anymore.

I pretty much had carte blanch to do whatever I felt like at my last job with the exception of getting myself hurt. I can totally understand why someone would want to kick my ass, because I didn't let them get away with the shit that they normally would at other bars in the area. I am, however, not a stupid person. If I felt someone needed to be brought down a peg/cut off/sent home, I would not start shit with them unless I knew I had some backup. The last thing I want to do is start a brawl with me caught in the middle. Anyway, I made sure I had my buddy Shaved Nutsack watching my back when I decided to ruin someone's day.

Then comes the day when I just couldn't take it anymore. I had just finished one of my degrees and I figured I would spend another couple of years in college to get the next one instead of looking for a "real job" (this is offensive when people say this to you because we are probably making more money bartending than you are with your brand new Bachelor's degree, unless it is in dick sucking and you better be fucking great at it to even come close). I was going over my options with HootersMan and had pretty much decided that another summer or two by the pool during the day was where I was heading, instead of taking a pay cut to get an 8-5 using my degree (obviously not a BBJ - Bachelor's in Blow Job). And then came Cinco de Mayo. We had a guy come in who was a "Jimmy Buffet" type from the islands (Put-In-Bay and Kelly's) to do a concert. All day we decorated the bar with tropical themed items, including these honeycomb fold-out 3-D pineapples that we put all around the bar. We sold tickets and were packed for the concert. Everyone had a good time and there was not a whisper of any fighting, but that was because this was an older 40's crowd.

After the concert was over, we opened the doors to everyone and there was a cover charge to get in - this sometimes helps to keep out a more low-class crowd (anyone who knows where I work will understand the comedy in that statement). We got our second rush around 10:30 or 11:00 that evening and one of my regulars - Labatt Blue Guy - sat in my area of the bar. I was pretty busy all night, but I noticed out of the corner of my eye some early 20-something punk walking around the bar stealing the 3-D pineapples. I tried to get Shaved Nutsack's attention or one of the other bouncers, but I couldn't see them through the crowd. Anyway, after a while the little prick came around to my side of the bar and was trying to take LB's pineapple. Mr. LB told him that he liked the pineapple and that the kid could not take it. That is when the kid threatened to beat LB's ass at the top of his lungs, in about seven different ways. That is when I lost the rest of my mind.

It was not that I didn't think LB could take care of himself. It was not like I hadn't seen this type of thing happen before - drunken punk starting trouble. I don't know exactly why I snapped, but that little turdstain was NOT getting the pineapple. I launched myself over the beer cooler and grabbed that little fucker by his collar as a hush went over the crowd. Fifteen seconds before, you had to scream to be heard and now you could have heard a pin drop in the room, it was that quiet. I enunciated every word like I was speaking to someone new to our language. I said "you little motherfucker, you have exactly 30 seconds to put all of those pineapples back down on the bar and get the fuck out of here. Hey, does anyone know if he has a tab? No? Good. Now I suggest you apologize to Mr. LB here for causing him any kind of distress and you BETTER FUCKING MEAN IT!!!"

What happened? The little twat laughed at me. Bad, very bad idea. You see alcohol tends to make folks who wouldn't normally act like this, act like this. But that is never a good idea, because there will always be some cunt of a bartender out there who will call you on it. Needless to say, all I could hear was the sound of blood rushing into my ears. I saw Shaved Nutsack making his way over out of the corner of my eye and I decided that he would probably make it over in time to keep me from getting my ass kicked. I didn't really care either way to be perfectly honest. I grabbed the little fucker around his throat and started pushing down on him as I came over the bar. Nutsack got to me just as the void's face was changing colors. After Nutsack pried my hands from around the fucker's throat, I said "you now have 15 seconds to do what I said before, or I am going to start swinging and right now I could fuck you up pretty bad (I couldn't, but he didn't know that, and furthermore, neither did I at the time - adrenaline y'all)". The kid must have seen the crazed glossy look I had because all of a sudden, he remembered his manners and apologized to me, Mr. LB, Nutsack and anyone else he could see.

Nutsack escorted him around the bar to replace the pineapples and took him over to his buddies. He then came over to me and asked me if the shit could stay since he apologized and replaced the pineapples and used to be a student of his back in the day. I told him "no fucking way", so he went off to make the kid leave. Do you know why I told him to make the kid leave? Because I am a bitch? Undoubtedly. But there is an even bigger reason why I did it. Follow through. You have to be able to follow through on your threats as an employee and you MUST have the rest of the staff backing you up. Why? One reason is you will look like a fool if the outcome isn't what you prescribed. The most important reason is that you have to show people you won't back down and you won't tolerate the kind of behavior that was displayed that evening. If you do, then pretty soon your bar will be overrun with riffraff and if you want to make a decent living, you can't work in a place like that.

Now you might place the argument that my behavior was out of line and you would not be wrong in that assessment. When I got home from work that evening (really about 4:00 in the morning), I sat down in the dark and started thinking about my options. That is when I decided to get a job outside of the service industry and start a career. I still work with people who are assclowns and dillholes, but they respect me. If you have not been in the industry before, it is hard to explain, but bartenders and waiters/resses do not get a lot of respect. You are treated like crap and then expected to smile and fawn over those people. I still fill in now and again when I want to have a little fun and see some old friends, but I am happy with the decision I made back then.

Just remember this story the next time you have to wait an extra 30 seconds for your drink order to be taken, or when you get the wrong side dish with your dinner. Shit happens and your server is not out to get you. Saying please and thank you will get you far with folks in the service industry. Just because we are working for you, doesn't mean we don't deserve your respect.

Thank you for listening to my rant,


Kalleigh Hathaway said...

You have a definite gift for writing and telling a story. Please tip me off if you ever write a book about your Hooters experiences.

waitress said...

OH my god, i love your nicknames and your blog. keep it up.