Everyone has their one big pet peeve when dealing with customers. Mine? Customers who think they know me, know my life, know my story, etc. I started bartending over 4 years ago, when I was 20 and still in undergrad at college. Since then, I’ve finished my double major, and have moved on to grad school. In order to get a competitive job in my field (communications) you need a lot of experience – so I figured I would stick to my bartending job on the side so I can pay for my classes, do a few internships, and pack my resume so once I graduate it will actually garner attention.
Because I’m trying to do so many things at once, I have been taking classes part time, so now I am 24, have one class left, and am still bartending 3-5 nights a week. I work at two different locations right now –a dance club with a capacity of over 1,000 people, and the other is a small hole in the wall beer bar. Needless to say, I get an interesting range of customers.
At the bigger club, I usually get guys who tell me I am too pretty to be working so hard and I should settle down and find a sugar daddy. Or ones telling me that my looks won’t last forever so I should really “go back to school”. It’s pretty easy to shut those down and move on to the next customer. But at the little bar, it isn’t so easy, and this is what prompted me to finally post.
Recently I had an older gentleman come into the bar. He was my only customer, so I couldn’t get away. During the course of our conversation, he was talking about himself, and said to me, “yes, I went to law school – I’m sure you didn’t even finish college considering you’re just a bartender”.
I corrected him explaining that I’m currently in graduate school (at which point he also said that communications isn’t a “real” job and all advertising content – my specific area of work - lacks creativity so I really do nothing with my life, but I digress). I explained that by bartending I’ve had the opportunity to pay for my classes as I go instead of taking out loans, paid off my car, and even just bought my own condo and can afford my monthly mortgage payments.
He continued to say that I was probably going to be stuck in a dead-end bartending job my entire life, and should probably pick up a drunk off the street to marry so I can get tax discounts and have a man in my life to take care of me – also telling me that I wasn’t that pretty so I should snag one while they’re drunk.
Luckily before I could throw a beer bottle at him, a couple of my friends came in as backup.
So my question is this: Have any of you experienced something similar? And is there any way to win with some of these customers?!
--The Educated Bartender