This post is dedicated to my good friend who volunteers his time on Sundays to barback & run karaoke for me, who just informed me (after I had already posted this) that Asia was actually “really nice” on Friday. So, maybe there is hope!
I work at a tiny 5 table bar on Sundays. The place is dead until 10ish & then usually fairly merry by 11. On Sundays we normally only see the same people – all cool people who didn’t know each other at first but are now all friends. It’s the Sunday community. I’ve put effort into building it, welcoming nice people & icing the disruptive ones. It gives me a less than stellar reputation but like I give a shit. My Sunday regulars are happy, & more than one person has expressed to me how enjoyable Sunday nights are compared to other nights.
When I say that I “ice” the disruptive ones, I mean that I inform them, matter of factly, that they are being disruptive, which is apparently enough of a crime against humanity that they leave in a huff & don’t come back. I don’t insult, name call, or even raise my voice. I just tell them the truth. In response to this, I’ve been flipped off, been called a “fucking bitch,” & been accused of a number of things – racism, incompetence, stupidity – but mostly all while they were leaving, which works out for everyone. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.
I’ve had complete strangers, people I’ve never seen before, come into the bar & be totally cool. And I’m cool to them; I make sure that they’re taken care of. This is how it should be. I’m not going to extend myself for people who come in & aren’t nice; I’ll get them their drinks & that’s it. It’s amazing how many people there are out there who expect you to be nice to them when they haven’t been nice to you. They seem to think that your role as the subservient worker requires you to do a little dance for them while they look down on you from their throne. Well. Not in this bar. I’m not subservient & I can’t dance to save my life.
We only have 5 tables & about 5 seats on the bar. It fills up; that’s just what happens. A few Sundays ago a young couple came in to the bar probably around midnight, when things were already rolling. Four of five tables were seated, although T1 only had 1 person sitting there, overflow from the reservation on T2. T5 was reserved for a late group. They had already looked around by the time I got their drink orders; I assumed they would stand, as often people – including regulars – end up doing when it’s crowded.
This is what would happen if I agreed to that. She & her friend would sit there, & then the reservation would show up. Because the reservation was a group of guys & because just about all the Sunday regulars are nice, they would give their table up to these 2 strangers, & end up standing around the bar. This defeats the purpose of reserving a table & this couple hadn’t shown me any evidence that they were worth kicking good, nice regulars off their table. It would be the Not Nice People screwing over the Nice People. So I informed her that no, that would not be ok. I indicated the singleton on T1 & suggested that they could ask if they could grab the far end of his table, since 3 out of 4 seats were empty, but the girl cut me off with something like “Can we get our drinks please?”
“Sure,” I said, smiling.
I got them their drinks & she opened a tab with a credit card. Her name was Asia. She & her friend then stood in front of T5, blocking the walkway, & I could hear her loudly bitching about how they weren’t “VIPs” & so they couldn’t get a table at our place. They never made a move toward T1. Oh well. Not my problem.
When, several minutes later, a 3rd joined them & the 3 of them stood in the walkway, still bitching, I came outside the bar again. “Look,” I told her. “I wish I had a table for you. But I just DON’T.” She cut me off again by asking for her tab, which I got for her. But they didn’t leave.
Her 2 guy friends were extremely nice. They smiled when they ordered their drinks, & they said “Thanks” when they got them. I supposed they were making up for her behavior & when they finally moved to T1, which was of course given up for them because my regulars are all nice people, my hot barback/karaoke guy had to deal with them. Apparently Asia gave him attitude about a karaoke book & then attitude about the karaoke. I’ve never understood why people think that they can walk into a crowded karaoke bar & get their songs played immediately. I guess they think that they’re that special.
One of our newer regulars, half of a very pleasant young couple, came in by himself & looked around in dismay at the lack of seating. T5 still hadn’t shown & their table was a 6 top composite of a 4 top & a deuce, so I separated the deuce & seated him there. The following Sunday he came in with his girlfriend & thanked me for helping him out the week before, & I said, “Of course. You guys are cool.” Because they are. And therefore I will go out of my way to make room for them.
When Asia got her song order, perhaps 20 minutes later, it was unenjoyable. I have no problem with crappy singers. It’s a karaoke bar. I can’t stand the crappy singers who yell, who want to DOMINATE the entire room with their crappiness. It shouldn’t have been a surprise at all that this offensive little bitch, who thought that the lack of available seating in our tiny place & the presence of queued song orders ahead of hers was a personal attack against her, would be obnoxious when given a mic. One of my regulars gave me a look as soon as she started singing, & I just burst out laughing.
I gave my barback $5 & said, “Here’s $5 to not hear her sing again. If she wants to pay you more to play her song then so be it.” Afterwards I found out that other people who had overheard me also threw some dollar bills in for a total of $12 To Not Let The Bitch Sing Again. When informed of this, Asia & her 2 friends got up & left. And the air just smelled better.
If you want to cultivate a room of Nice People, you can’t be one of them. Nice People won’t stand up for themselves when pushed on by Not Nice People. So I’m a Not Nice Person sometimes.