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Regarding a Recent Visit to The Rock Shop

December 12th, 2011 by admin
Dear Management,
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Please excuse the delay in reply. Life got in the way a bit, but I still feel this is important enough to share. It’s concerning the bar service I received at the Saturday, December 1st show featuring Sky-Pony and Toys and Tiny Instruments. There was one bartender behind the bar that night, a woman with curly blond hair whose name I never got. To keep things succinct, I’ll break the story down by encounter.
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Encounter 1:
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Speedy service, got my drink without incident, left a tip.
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Encounter 2:
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While talking with my friend at the end of the bar, I casually signaled the bartender with my drink hand and continued discussion. She appeared a minute later and said with contempt “It isextremely rude to signal the bartender with your cup.” My friend and I were completely taken aback, not by the message itself but by the intensity of it. I’d never heard this unwritten rule prior, and for my part I wouldn’t have done it had I known. But I wasn’t shaking the glass or pounding it on the bar top, and the instant escalation of her response left no room for anything but shock.
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As I looked to my friend for confirmation that this was actually happening, she pressed me for my order. I gave it to her along with a twenty. She filled the order, went to the register and came back with a ten and a five. She slapped the bills on the table and said “And don’t bother to tip me.”
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Encounter 3:
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I was somewhat hesitant to go up for another drink, but my friends and I had been planning this night out for a month and I wasn’t going to let a bartender get in the way of a good time. I took a drink order from a friend – an IPA – and went to the bar, asking the tender with total civility what IPA’s she had. She responded by pointing at a menu and walking away. I was having trouble finding any beer specifically labeled IPA, so I started looking for the higher alcohol content. While searching, her finger appeared on the menu, wordlessly pointing out my only option. I agreed and she filled my order.
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When I got back to my friend’s, I noticed the glass of beer I ordered for her was smaller than everyone else’s. This may be your policy regarding IPA’s, I’m not sure.
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Encounter 4:
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By this point, I had given up ordering drinks for myself. When I wanted one, I gave money to a friend and they got it for me. At the conclusion of the concert, as we were about to leave, I decided to write a note to the bartender. I’m not an aggressive person by nature, and I can accept people having tough nights, but I wanted her to understand my position as well. The note read simply “I’m sorry for whatever I did to offend you, but your service left a lot to be desired.”
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I got her attention, left the note on the bar, and left. As I was standing outside with friends, planning our next stop, the bartender came bursting out of the bar and started cursing me out furiously. “I’m not even going to read this, who the fuck do you think you are, you’re the worst customers I’ve ever had” and so forth. The scene was so surreal, my response was to do nothing by say “Go on, keep going, what else do you have?”
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When she’d had enough screaming, she threw the note on the sidewalk and ran back in the bar. At this point, my friend from the second encounter and I had had enough. We followed her back into the bar, shouting what a bad bartender she was and how we’d never come back if she were serving that night. In this action I admit being disruptive, but every person has their limits, especially after trying to apologize. We were only in there for a few seconds before we left without prompting.
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Outside, onlookers asked what the heck had just happened. When I related my story, I received other stories of bartender rudeness from people I didn’t even know.
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*****
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Now even as I say all this, you should know I think the Rock Shop is a fantastic venue. I’ve never seen a bad show at your space, including the night in question, and my friends and I try to come by every 3-4 months to check out new groups. The incident won’t stop this habit, unless of course this bartender is working, in which case we’ll go somewhere else.
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So if this won’t change my behavior, why am I telling you this? Because I’m the exception in this situation and not the rule. Every time I tell this story, I’ll be sure to say what a great pace the Rock Shop is and how much I enjoy the concerts. No one else would bother to do that, because to most people, the bartender is the bar.
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I tell you this because I like your space: this bartender is a danger to your reputation. If she can elicit this type of reaction from the calmest, most analytical person you could ever meet, what happens when she crosses a hot head? If she’s willing to leave the bar unattended to chew out a customer over a note she didn’t even read, how much can you trust her judgement? If she doesn’t have the patience to deal with a customer ignorantly signaling her with their drink hand, what will she do when patience is actually necessary?
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I sincerely hope for both your sake and hers she was simply having an epic bad night. To me it seems a sign of troubles much deeper and in need of help, but I’ll leave you to make that determination.
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Thank you for your time.
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Regards,
Mike Varley

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