Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Talking About Work: 2 - The morality of being a barman.

In my darker moments, and I have a few now and again (though if you knew me in RL, you wouldn't really know as I'm the picture of sunshine and cheeriness, when I'm not threatening to give skanky fucknugget customers facial burns).


In my darker moments, I've often thought about what it is I, and my fellow barstaff actually do.

On the one hand, we're there to help: it's our job to provide quick, efficient and friendly service, facilitating your good night out. We pour the pints, mix the cocktails, clean the glasses and wipe the tables. We should, hopefully, keep the scumfucks as far away from Good People as possible, allowing Good People to enjoy themselves in safety and comfort.

But we're not dogsbodies. We're not servants. We are not there to clean up your puke and shite and piss, to break up your fights, or to be treated badly. Treat barstaff with respect, and you'll receive much better service. This is one the Truths of Britain's pub culture. Do not fuck with us, as Tyler Durden once said.

Ahem, again.

The point. Getting to it. On the other hand, barstaff can also be there to hinder: I work in what can fairly be said to be a damn cheap boozer. It's big, pints are £1.55, and we have a lot of regulars who are career drinkers. Every time I serve them a pint, they're one more drink closer to death. That's the dark side of being a barman. We have the power to refuse service to anyone - yes, anyone - but we don't. We allow these guys to come into the pub day after day after day and drink themselves into the grave.

Because, you know, we may be able to refuse service, but we can't tell you how to live. Only how to behave.