Long time reader, first time poster! I'm currently not in retail - full-time student - but I do miss it. Reason for that is that I got lucky and worked in a wonderful pub in my uni-town, and I'd like to share a few stories from there to cheer y'all up. Sorry if this is a bit long, I do tend to get rather verbose.
The pub was not your typical "customer is always right." If us bartenders perceived the customers to be giving us attitude - we gave 'em some right back! The staff were a pleasure to work with, and if we bantered between us, customers usually joined in. It was always good fun.
I worked part-time, mainly Fridays and Saturdays - busiest nights - and I'd often get tipped rather well. During my time there, I was able to pay my cab fare back home from tips alone at least four or five times (I lived about 15 min away from the pub by car/public transport, and the only safe way to get home at 2.30am was by cab). During Christmas, an elderly gent insisted on tipping all the bar-staff for every drink he bought, culminating in giving me a twenty during one of my shifts (I shared it with the other two girls on shift at the time) and the Friday afterwards, informed one of my colleagues he wanted to buy me a drink. Stuff like that gets your faith back in people.
There was one time a party of about 7 or 8 kept coming to the bar for the same round of shots and drinks. I have rather good memory for lists, and amused the guy who was getting said drinks every time he started asking for the same things. I didn't get tipped very much from what I remember, but there was a prize-draw going between employees that night - whoever could sell the most, got a free dinner. Guess who won the prize that night!
I did have one crusty, on a busy Saturday night (we had license to stay open until 2am). She came up to the bar, wasted out of her mind, and asked for two shots of tequila. I put down two shots with lemon wedges, told her the salt was on the condiment table by the wall, and gave the price. She paid by card; when the card was in the machine, she'd punched in her code, looked at the shots while the transaction processed, and uttered this gem: "I didn't get any salt. I want my money back." Now, for some reason we weren't allowed to carry any salt behind the bar - don't ask me why; I still never got an answer for that! - and that's what I told her, and informed her again the salt was on the condiment table by the wall. At this point the line to the bar is four-deep, we're seven bartenders on three tills, and I simply do not have time to leave the bar to find this woman her goddamn salt. And she's still yelling at me she wants her moolah back. Because she couldn't be bothered to get the goddamn salt herself.
I do admit to nearly losing my cool with her, and angrily stomping to get the salt from the condiments table - at which point HER FRIEND COMES BACK WITH A FRIGGIN' SALT SHAKER HIMSELF. At this point I smiled at the lady, gave her the receipt, gave her the iciest glare I could muster, and shouted for the next customer to come up.
However, this WAS one of the nights I paid my cab-fare from tips alone, so I didn't really care!
May all your crusties realise their mistakes and pray for your forgiveness,
From Huff Po: NEW YORK -- The man who changed the 2012 election is named Scott Prouty. The 38-year-old bartender at the Boca Raton, Fla., fundraiser that doomed Mitt Romney's presidential campaign came forward Wednesday in an interview with MSNBC's Ed Schultz.
Prouty, a Midwest native, took his Canon camera to the fundraiser, thinking Romney might pose for photos with the event staff. Instead, he captured Romney speaking about "the 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."
The bartender said in a series of embargoed phone and in-person interviews with The Huffington Post that he decided to make the video public and posted clips online, hoping they would go viral.
Prouty -- who now tweets as @AnneOnymous670 -- didn't own a car, and spent his free time volunteering with his girlfriend at a South Florida SPCA, where he gave a HuffPost reporter a tour of the horse rescue operation (donate here). He said he worried about what releasing the video would mean for his employment and for the company he worked for. On some nights as a bartender for South Florida's super wealthy, he could pull down more than $1,000, so losing the gig was not a thought he relished. But he finally decided it was his civic duty to release his film. He had made a risky decision before to do what he thought was right, when he dove into alligator-infested water to save a drowning woman. (That really happened.)
Before the final presidential debate, held in Florida, HuffPost and Prouty met for Budweisers at a waterfront bar. He was pondering whether to go public with his role in making the video and ultimately decided he didn't want to become a distraction, and instead wanted the focus to remain on the remarks themselves. He climbed on his motorcycle and sped off, without a helmet.
After deciding to release the video, Prouty made it his mission to get the film clips out there. "I decided I was going to make a 24-hour a day push to make sure it went as far and wide as it possibly, possibly could go," he explained. "It's been a long journey for sure. A lot of people think I just sent it to the news media on a disc or something and then forgot about it. I had been pounding it."
When Prouty talked about the film's rollout, he sounded like any indie film director looking for word-of-mouth magic. "I wanted to have a build-up," he said. "I wanted to have it viral as much as I could possibly get it viral. And then I was hoping obviously a serious reporter could jump on it at the right time [and] make it pop. ... I wish I almost did it a little bit later because I think it would have been more crushing. But it all worked out obviously."
BuzzFeed offers a thorough rundown of where Prouty shopped his Romney reel and where he posted it. On May 31, under "Romney Exposed," he began posting audio snippets to YouTube. Soon he started hitting the comment sections of The Huffington Post -- not the best way to stand out among all the reader debates.
Prouty said he later posted it to Daily Kos with mixed results. The Daily Kos readers ended up bouncing him from the site, suspecting his footage was bogus. He threw up clips on Pastebin. He did it in the comments of The Washington Post's stories. "Just trying to go build a little head of steam and get people talking about it," he said.
By late August, he said there were a few sites, including BuzzFeed, that had picked up at least one of his Romney videos. He said he had some success when he posted videos as the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on YouTube. "She came out and denied having any knowledge of it," he said. "But she linked to the video and left it on her site all weekend long."
The filmmaker said that before the Republican National Convention, he contacted the Romney campaign directly. "I sent it to the Romney people ad nauseum," he said. "They knew about it." When he saw Romney give his acceptance speech in Tampa, he wondered what the candidate knew about his videos. He says he never got a response from the campaign. (He had posted a clip of the 47 percent comments specifically on YouTube, but to a different account, which is where HuffPost was the first to find and republish it.)
But Prouty didn't wait for a reporter to find him.
He found James Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, who had discovered a talent for opposition research and finding gotcha videos deep in the C-Span archives. Prouty had followed Carter's work on YouTube. "He had good sense enough to follow me back when he saw my videos after I followed him," Prouty said. "Then he had the good sense enough to contact me after that."
Prouty said he wanted Carter to help him get in touch with Mother Jones' David Corn. He had been a big admirer of Corn's work -- especially his investigative pieces on Romney and the Hong Kong-based Global-Tech Appliances, a firm that sought to profit from U.S. outsourcing. He saw Corn on television all the time, he said. Maybe the veteran journalist could get his little film on the air. "They were picked," he said of Carter and Corn.
The one thing that now rankles Prouty is the idea that Corn uncovered anything. It was already out there. "Corn sort of -- he's capitalized on this for all it's worth and that's what the goal was," he said. "I don't want to say it the wrong way. He didn't uncover."
Prouty put the original tape in the mail to Corn. "I sent it to him in regular mail, taped to a small, like, a little note card in an envelope," he said.
From Huff Po: Something as small as a $10 surcharge is apparently enough to set Chris Brown off.
On Wednesday night at Los Angeles' PINZ bowling alley, Brown exploded on a parking attendant over a $10 valet charge, according to TMZ. The 23-year-old, who had been at the venue for a charity event, was furious he had to pay the fee.
"F*ck ten dollars," the singer said, TMZ reported. He was allegedly angry because he had only been inside for 30 minutes and didn't think he should pay. After threatening to "turn this whole thing on out," he got his keys and drove away. It is unclear whether he paid the $10 or not.
According to PINZ's Facebook page, the bowling alley was hosting a "Stars and Strikes" celebrity bowling and poker event on behalf of the youth-centered charity, A Place Called Home. The Wanted, Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump, Nick Cannon and will.i.am were all expected to be in attendance. Brown was not featured on the billing.
It is surprising that Brown would get so heated over $10. InTouch magazine reports the "Don't Judge Me" singer just dropped $65,000 on a pair of Neil Lane chandelier earrings for his girlfriend Rihanna's birthday.
Maybe he was having a bad day?
Earlier Wednesday afternoon, Brown reportedly had an "altercation" with his bodyguard, Big Pat, according to The Bermuda Sun. When the private plane carrying Brown and his entourage stopped in Bermuda to re-fuel, Big Pat was allegedly kicked off and forced to take a Jet Blue flight to JFK.
Huff Po: An Ohio bartender has been fired for what the local police chief says was the right decision.
Twyla DeVito, who called the police on a patron who was later found to be driving while “a little over twice the legal limit,” was told by her employer at the American Legion Post in Shelby, Ohio, that she would be let go as a result, according to 10TV News. DeVito says she was told that “‘it’s bad for business to have a bartender that will call the cops.’”
But while DeVito faces unemployment as a result of trying to pull a drunk driver off the street, it may have been the right decision anyway: Police recently arrested a Texas bartender after undercover officers found her providing a patron with a few too many drinks, according to ABC affiliate KTRK in Houston.
(Firing bartenders for dealing with customers happens at even the most upscale of restaurants. P. J. Clarke's in Manhattan reportedly let go a famed bartender last year for attempting, unsuccessfully, to deal with an intoxicated man who was harassing other customers.)
DeVito’s employer, for its part, apparently stands by the decision. “If every patron who comes in here has to worry about the cops waiting for them when they leave, the place would be empty,” Mic Hubbard, a commander of the post, told 10TV News.
Drunk driving remains a serious problem across the country. More than 10,000 people died in the U.S. as a direct result of driving drunk in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And 341 of those deaths reportedly occurred in Ohio, one of only 16 states where the problem was getting worse, not better, as of 2010, according to the The Columbia Dispatch.
A 2008 survey found roughly one-fifth of people over 16 years old had driven within two hours of having a drink at some point within the past year.
By Stephanie Williams on BroBible: I remember the first day I stepped foot in my bar. I had just gotten laid off from the job that made me pray for a subway crash every morning, and was drinking free on the dime of a family friend who was a bartender there. It was Halloween. I was dressed like a Victoria Secret Angel. I was 22. I had never so much as made a martini or poured a beer from a tap. When I was offered a job hostessing one day a week that day, I didn’t think I would ever parley it into a four year stint that has given me more opportunities and money than I could have ever imagined.
But here I am, four years later, possibly on the verge of leaving and finally putting my English degree to use writing TV shows in L.A. And the bar/restaurant that I call second home in New York City has taught me a lot of life lessons. I’d like to pass those lessons on to others because I genuinely feel like I owe it to all my other bartender friends to try to educate the masses as I go.
10. I am a bartender, not an escort.
Funny how a lot of guys in suits seem to mistake the two, but just because I get you a beer and have a vagina while doing so, it does not give you the right to grab my ass or say inappropriate shit to me. That’s assault brotha. If you think grabbing a girl you don't know's ass is a good icebreaker, maybe you should reevaluate your life. I am not being paid to flirt with you or your friends. I do not get paid nearly enough to pretend I am remotely interested in 98% of the bankers, traders, stock brokers and other finance guys that roll through my little bar during the week. And for the guys in my bar who already crossed that line, if you think I haven’t thought about messaging your wife on LinkeIn about how I had to have her husband thrown out because he put his hand up my skirt, you’re greatly mistaken. It’s always on the backburner as an option. Treat me with respect and you will not be forcibly evicted from my bar. Or ratted out to your wife for being a groper.
9. Anything less than 20% is blasphemy.
Sorry kids, this isn’t an ego thing, this is a New York thing. Most service industry workers make about $2.13 an hour, far below minimum wage. My livelihood is my tip. And I know without a doubt, I never give service that is worth less than 20%. I always find it funny to hear these guys who work for Morgan Stanley or Barclays or UBS or Bank of America talk about throwing money around, but when a $153 bill is dropped, everyone gets real quiet. I was an English major that was terrible at math and somehow even I know that $20 on anything more than $120 is an insult. It’s ironic that those that deal with money on a daily basis are the ones who seem the most confused when it comes to adding a tip. You aren’t curing cancer or solving the debt crisis here bro, you’re leaving a 20% tip on a check and I’m pretty sure your phone even has a calculator. Maybe that explains the financial crisis of the last four years. If you can’t figure out 20% of 173, you probably shouldn’t be handling millions of dollars a day for other people. Or if you’re just too cheap to leave an adequate tip, maybe you should just stay home. Do you work for free? No? Okay cool because neither do I.
8. Don’t ever tell me to buy you a drink. I am all about buybacks.
I love rewarding loyal patrons who are courteous, respectful and patient with a round. What I don’t love is having someone demand I buy them a round, or worse, demand I buy MORE rounds for them. Even if you have a regular presence at a bar, it doesn’t always justify a buyback, let alone multiple buy backs. When people say “well I’ve spent three hundred dollars here, you aren’t going to buy me anything?” I usually respond by saying “when you go to CVS and buy a hundred bucks worth of stuff in toiletries, do you demand free bottles of shampoo or Tylenol?” If you are asking for free drinks, more than likely you’re a d-bag in the general scheme of life and I don’t do buybacks for d-bags. Seriously, who the fuck ASKS for free drinks? How poor are you?
7. Don’t ask me for something “fun."
Dude, I’m going to be 27. I’ve been drinking for 10 years. I know what I like, I know what I don’t. When I go to a bar, I have four staples – Hoegaarden, Chardonnay, Jack and coke, Bud Light. If the bar offers crazy concoctions, I’ll browse the list. But to the women who think they’re in an episode of Sex and the City, no, I don’t want to make you something “fun”. All alcohol is fun. You get drunk. Whether it’s pink or brown or blue or clear, it’s fun. Pick a drink and stop expecting the bartender to have a secret bottle of hot pink glittery awesome fun that's just going to take your drinking experience to the next level behind the bar; it’s cranberry juice for Christ's sake, my grandma used to drink it when she was constipated.
6. I am not stupid.
Yes, I work in a bar, and I have for a while. But many years ago I had a 9-5 desk job with benefits and a computer and a boss who made my life hell. And you know what? I hated it. I am not dumber than you because you wear a suit to work and I wear leggings and a tank top. I am not dumber than you because I serve beer and you tell people you trade bonds when really you get your boss’s lunch and laundry. I too, went to a decent college (holla, Terps). I have a degree. I travel, I’m cultured, I love sports, and I’ve been published. I work my ass off both at my bar and trying to get where I want to be with my writing. Do not assume that because I am the one pouring your beer, that somehow I am less ambitious than you, or a “fuck up”, or a disappointment that wasn't as capable as you were to get a job in IB or marketing. Just because I don’t sit at a desk all day and crunch numbers does not mean I am not changing the world in my own way.
5. I am more important than an intern.
My favorite story to tell the youngins. Long ago, I befriended a patron named J. I used to hate him because he’d come in right as I was closing.He knew this. Eventually, he wised up and began coming in earlier and tipping graciously. I would buy him rounds, chat with his coworkers, and make him look like the coolest mother fucker to ever grace a New York bank when he brought clients in for drinks or dinner. J loved me. So when three little snobby intern brats who made it clear they worked with him, decided to tip me three dollars on a hundred and ten dollar check, then call me a bitch as they walked out because hey, they work at a bank, and they are just too fucking cool to be nice to lowly bartenders, they had no idea that I would go to my dear friend J. And here’s the thing – J is in his late 40’s. He’s with it, he likes having the in at my bar. Wanna know what J doesn’t like? People associating him with 21 year old twits who tip shitty and call me a bitch on his company's reputation. J later called the three little interns and told them to come back. He told each to tip me 30 dollars and apologize. As they left, I told them the most important lesson they might ever learn. I am more important to J than they are. They are one in a million on Monster.com. There are a million other Georgetown, Duke, Brown, Yale, Cornell, and UNC kids that could replace them in a second. Their daily routine of getting yelled at and going to pick up lunch for their boss can be performed by any idiot willing to sell his soul for a bullet point on his resume. Me? It took J a year for me to warm up to him. To get the buybacks, to get the reserved tables, to get the “J’s the greatest” in front of the big buyers. I am the reason J comes to this bar. You? You’re about to get fired. Might want to work on that better than thou attitude before you graduate.
4. Don’t tell me to smile.
Don’t write it on a check, don’t write it on a napkin, and certainly don’t say it to my face. Look kids, I know it’s hard to believe, but I too have problems. I too have bad days, and sometimes I am not all smiles. I will always do my best to be polite and attentive, qualities any good server should employ regardless of how their day is going. But do people walk around your office telling you to smile while you’re sitting at your desk? My favorite response to people who seem to think I should constantly be smiling is usually that I just found out my dad’s cancer came back, or that it’s the anniversary of my mother’s death. Neither of which are ever true. However, don’t assume you know what’s going on in the life of the person who is serving you. Don’t wanna feel like a total jackass for telling a girl who’s dad just died to “smile”? Well, then don’t tell her to smile. I work in a bar, not Chucky Cheese. I have shit going on in my life too, and sometimes my job sucks. Don’t expect me to greet every person like I just won the mega millions.
3. We are not “in your town."
One of my biggest pet peeves is when tourists from bumblefuck stereotypical southerntown come in to my bar, usually around the holidays, get a glass of wine or a mojito or a margarita, and are seemingly SHOCKED at the prices, conveniently after they drink the whole thing. When the argument becomes, “where I live a glass of wine is five dollars”, it takes a lot of me to not say something like “because it looks like you enjoy a good box of Franzia”. Much like everything else in New York – food, clothing, toiletries, hotel rooms, shows, hookers – drinks at a restaurant/bar are going to be on par with the rest of the city, more expensive than they'd be in Sheboygan. Just like while you pay 500 bucks a month to live in a four bedroom townhouse in no-nameville Arkansas, I pay $1250. The cost of living in New York is higher because the cost of EVERYTHING in New York is higher. Even I passed ECON101. If you come to New York and expect a beer to be the same price as it is at your local dive bar down the street in the town that isn’t locatable on a map, I suggest you get out more. And honestly, do I look like I make the call on the prices at this place dude? I am the bartender, not the owner. If you complain about it, I will not be able to do anything for you, but I will certainly judge you and assume you are cheap. Nobody wins.
2. I judge you on what you order.
I know to ID if you’re ordering a Malibu bay breeze in January or a bloody Mary at 9:30 at night. I know you’re an idiot if you order a very dry martini with no vermouth. Very dry MEANS NO VERMOUTH. If you don’t know what I mean when I ask if you want something up or on the rocks, neat or on the rocks, then you shouldn’t be ordering your drink to begin with. Educate yourself on your booze. If it’s not 1987, and I’m not Tom Cruise, please don’t order a drink like you’re in the movie Cocktail. No daiquiris or pina coladas. You are not Samantha from Sex and the City, and no I can’t make that Cosmo any pinker without curing you of a UTI. Seriously, grow up Peter Pan. Count Chocula.
1. You sound like you're from London!
Do not let the British guy pay the check or leave the tip. Please. Ever. Seriously. Don’t.
From Huff Po: The company that distills Maker’s Mark is reducing the alcohol content of the famous bourbon in an effort to keep up with growing global appetite for the product, Quartz reports.
The move comes in response to concerns the company won't be able to meet rampant demand for Maker's Mark since it's "very low on supply,” Rob Samuels, COO of Beam Inc. (which also makes the less-expensive Jim Beam bourbon), wrote in an email to consumers. The spirit will now have an alcohol-by-volume content of 42 percent, instead of 45 percent.
Just this year bourbon and Tennessee whiskey sales have risen 5 percent, reflecting the spirits' rising popularity. Bourbon in particular has become so popular that it now accounts for 35 percent of all spirits sales, according to Today. Boutique brands such as Pappy Van Winkle’s are all but impossible to find due to the high demand, WFPL reports.
That means there’s likely a whole lot of bourbon lovers -- who are known to be purists -- who won't be too thrilled with Beam Inc.'s move.
"I just think that's a cheap business practice," Erik Lane, a bartender in Brooklyn, told The New York Post of watering down Maker's Mark. "Usually you're going to notice [an alcohol reduction like] that."
The company is apparently doing all it can to defend the decision, arguing that Marker's Mark with less alcohol is better than no Maker's Mark at all. In his email, Samuels wrote that Maker's Mark remains "completely consistent with the taste profile ... created nearly 60 years ago."
He added in an interview with WFPL that any complaints the company has received regarding the move "pale in comparison to the feedback that we've received with the shelves being empty."
Greetings Curious Scroller,
If you've never landed in this part of cyber space before, you have taken a hard, fast plunge into the fiery depths of work hell. RHU is dedicated to giving the service worker a voice. If you are an angry customer, a corporate suite, a homophobic race-hater, and you don't like skull masks or swear words, this blog isn't for you. Click away now, before your ears bleed and your eyes explode.
I'm Freddy, Crypt Keeper of Retail Hell Underground RHU -- a place for service slaves to have a voice, tell their story, support each other, or just have a chuckle about the insanity of working in the 10th Circle of Hell! I'm also the author of "Retail Hell," the funny memoir about life as a handbag sales associate at an upscale department store! The sequel, "Return To The Big Fancy," has just been released in hardcover and e-reader and is available wherever books are sold!