Working as a bartender, the biggest challenge of the job is keeping a smile on your face as you are bombarded by a vast array of character types each and every night. Making drinks is easy, dealing with the social nuances of the human race is the hard part. One of the most troubling things that occurs consistently is the greeting gone wrong. This is when you cordially ask a new customer how they are as they belly up to the bar, only to have a drink order barked at you without so much as a “Hi”. Every bartender knows how debilitating this feels. Before opening, my partner in crime for the night, Jake, were discussing this aspect of the job. It was obvious Jake was as annoyed by the greeting gone wrong as I am and we enjoyed a few laughs about what we would really like to say when this happens. We opened the bar and our first customer of the evening came in. He was probably around 260 pounds, tall and bristling with muscles. Jake greeted him with a “Hi, how are you?” The customer grunted out…”Heineken”. I kid you not, without missing a beat and looking him straight in the eye, Jake stands there and replies…”So how are you?” I was laughing my ass off on the inside, however there was no doubt in my mind this was the wrong customer to throw that kind of sarcasm at. Sure enough, this guy rises up off his bar stool, puts both his hands on the bar, and towering over Jake yells…Are you fucking with me! At this point I was laughing so hard at Jake’s circumstance, I had to hide behind the beer cooler door pretending to be busy. Jake made quick amends with an awkward apology and bought Mr. Heineken a couple of beers. I understand where Jake was coming from, we had just been talking about this literally seconds before this patron came in. Given the situation, he couldn’t resist. I just hope in the future when Jake runs one of our social experiments it will be on someone much less intimidating!
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