Wednesday, 4 November 2015

5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me

5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me

I've worked as a barmaid for 12 years. 

Mostly, it's ok, even a bit of a laugh at times, but sometimes, like any job, I want to scream and shout and swear. 

Overall, I enjoy it as jobs go. I have done a lot worse. It is very different to what I thought it would be. I stupidly thought that people would come to the bar, request their drinks, pay and go sit down. If only!

There are many people who make the job fun, and interesting, but the ones that stick in my mind are generally the ones I have wanted to strangle for various reasons. On the plus side, those customers make the best stories.

Aside from how to pick my battles, here are five things I have learned working in this industry:

1. The customer is very rarely right, yet they always think they are.
 
5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me
 
 
Anyone who still believes the customer is always right has never had to deal with the general public. If you are right, we will fix the issue without arguing, probably before you even notice there is an issue.
This also includes customers who outright lie in an attempt to get something free. We have heard it all before!

2. Even the nicest person turns into a whiney brat when they don't get their own way.
 
5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me
 
I understand you have drank here for ten years, but your half a lager once a week doesn't pay the bills, so no I can't turn the music off to suit you when the other 100 people in the pub want it on. This is usually followed by the person declaring they are never coming back and flouncing off like a four year old. The following week, they return at their usual time.

3. There IS such a thing as a stupid question!
 
5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me
 
 
A couple of examples I have genuinely been asked by customers:

* "Do you have a toilet?" Bear in mind this wasn't someone walking off the street just to use it, it was someone drinking in the pub!

* "Why is this round dearer than the last one?" Because last round, you get 2 pints, this round you got 3. He wasn't convinced it should be more, even though he accepted he had gotten an extra drink!

* "Is the bar still open?" This is not a stupid question in itself, but in this context it was. It was around 8pm on a Saturday night, we were heaving and were quite obviously serving people.

And it's not just customers. Here's two I have been asked by staff:

* "What's in a gin and tonic?"
* And my personal favourite, while standing in front of a sink, "Where do I get water from?"

4. That anything that can go wrong will wait until the busiest/least convenient moment possible.
 
5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me
 
Nothing ever breaks on a Monday morning, it's always a Saturday night! Whether it's the till, the ice machine or anything else that can make your life hell, it will happen at your busiest time.
This is likely due to the fact you are using it more at those times, but in the moment that logic doesn't help.

5. That it's really not that bad.
 
5 Things Working In A Bar Has Taught Me
 
 
For all some customers are so frustrating you could happily scream yourself hoarse, its really not that bad. You learn pretty quickly to grow a thick skin, laugh it off and ignore the chaos. There are much worse ways to earn a living, and you will definitely get a laugh along the way. And for every customer you want to punch, there are 30 or 40 nice customers that make you realise it could be a lot worse!

Have you ever worked in a bar (or retail)? Anything you would add? Let me know in the comments :)

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25 comments:

  1. oh I really enjoyed reading this...it made me giggle at some of the silly questions. I really do like reading about life experiences. Thanks for sharing. This is a great post!

    Angela

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it and that it gave you a giggle :)

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  2. Having worked in a fast food restaurant, I can totally agree with these, especially the first one. I soon learnt that it wasn't worth arguing even if I knew I was right and the customer was wrong.

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    1. I know what you mean! I'm pretty lucky that our manager backs us up but with the big companies, the manager often seems to side with the customer and make the staff look stupid even though they were right!

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  3. I worked in a bar and a waitress from 16-18 yrs old and it was a nightmare. The best thing was the people and the worst was the long hours, poor treatment and staff. I was not a fan!

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    1. Yeah, sometimes we do get treated pretty badly!

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  4. I can imagine it must be hard work dealing with people who whine and think they are right, alongside asking stupid questions. I last worked in customer service when I was 18, I don't think I'd have the patience now!
    #effitfriday

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    1. It is hard, but it can also be hilarious, sometimes the hardest part is keeping a straight face lol!

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  5. I always say that work would be great if it wasn't for the public. ;) (I love them really!) The 'what's in a gin and tonic?' bit made me giggle too. #KCACOLS

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    1. Haha, I agree, everything would run so much smoother! The gin question was a classic :)

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  6. Funny, especially the water question and gin and tonic! I worked in a book store and we used to have customers stand there, rip the wrapping and READ the whole magazine or book standing there. We used to have to tell them we weren't a library and then they'll get angry and walk off! We also had customers who used to time us and tell us off if we were a minute or two late in opening ...LOL... #justanotherlinky

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    1. People are so cheeky aren't they! If it's a new author I will sometimes read the first page, just to see if I like the style of writing but not any more than that and I certainly wouldn't open the wrapping! Ours just ring our doorbell and expect to be let in, they think the opening times are just a suggestion I think lol :)

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  7. I can relate to all of this. I have only recently stopped working behind a bar, after doing the job on and off for 4 years. I could never get over how rude people could be and how many don't have basic manners, my 2 year old can say thank you! You are right though, the nice happy customers always out number the grumpy, moany ones xx #KCACOLS

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    1. It drives me mad when people don't say please or thank you. I tend to shout you're welcome after them lol! x

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  8. So funny! I especially love the gin and tonic question! I used to help out behind the bar at my dads restaurant and things always used to go wrong at the weekends when you were the most busy! I'd always somehow manage to break a glass (or two) too!

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday!

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    1. Breaking glasses is my speciality lol! :)

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  9. Haha! Brilliant! I worked in catering for 12 years before turning my hand to this stay at home malarkey a year ago! And yes, yes, yes to every single one! The stupid question thing..spot on!! The toilet one used to do my head in! I said no a couple of times. I think a couple of things I would add, people forget you're not a pole dancer - waving money in my face is NOT going to get you served any quicker, in fact it will probably put you at the bottom of the queue. And speaking of queues...people love a queue! Its a bar not the post office love! xx

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    1. Yes, the money in the face isn't good! It's like, Oh, you've got a tenner, you must be special! x

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  10. Sounds like there is never a dull moment working in a bar. Oh my some of those questions just stupidly funny lol.xx #KCACOLS

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  11. What's in a gin and tonic is the sort of stupid question that I would (and probably have!!) asked!! Great post Debbie - my mum was a barmaid and has drummed it into me to always be polite, always smile, and always make sure you don't push in!

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    1. Lol! Thank you :) You're mum is so right - especially about being polite, please and thank you really don't hurt!

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  12. Great post and sounds like there is never a dull moment! Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

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    ReplyDelete