Week 2 (Secret Barmaid)




Initially working in the bar seemed so vulgar, temporary, menial… something for undergrads. Hmm… I think that’s all wrong, though. At least In my case it is. I keep learning new stuff – new beers, new flavours, aromas, new people, characters and behaviours. The barmaid is a great observer. I like this job.


Mind you, there are some odd, unpleasant and surprising situations. But you get used to it. Some customers think all you do is wait for them to bellow ‘beer!’ right at you, and it’ll be served in a jiffy… It’s not about customers pouring their hearts out to you, but the pub is a place where you can relax. After all, that’s what beer’s for. Fortunately there are people you can talk to, laugh and have fun with. I often work for 8, or even 10, 11 hours – and I get tired too, but I always try to find a smile for customers. At the end of the day, pubs aren’t just about beer; a friendly atmosphere is also important, or at least a positive one.


I had a customer the other day who wanted to hire me in his company as a marketing specialist. That had me in stitches. They thought I studied journalism because I promoted beers well (one day I might tell you what I study?) That whole thing had me thinking how important a positive attitude is – it’s infectious. Don’t be afraid of it when entering a bar or pub! I’m telling you, one nice event can get you going for a whole evening’s work.


My patience is sometimes put to the test, for example, when the fourth straight person in one evening comes up and asks that obvious question: "The cherry beer, what does it taste like?". That’s when ‘like banana’ simply begs to be the answer. Funny, that.


To be honest, there are also some difficult moments, especially when it’s closing time. Many people will enter the pub and still want to order a beer, but my answer is that they can no longer enjoy that pleasure tonight because, unfortunately, the bar’s closed. And so lamentation begins that it’s too early, that we’re driving customers out, this and that. I really don’t want to argue, so I explain politely, that the till’s locked, the place’s cleaned up and the remaining customers are finishing their drinks and leaving. Some people will then turn round and leave, but the other half (usually men) start to shout and insult the barmaid, and with her being a woman, it’s even sadder. We’re human too, not robots, and we may be in a rush to make the last night bus. I know I know: the customer is always right. But I’m telling you… up to a point. When it comes to manners, I’m not going to debate it. There are some rules, that are not to be broken.


You can agree with me or not. Everyone can have their views. And here is where I present mine; but not only views – there will be stories, accounts and anecdotes, pleasant and not so pleasant, both funny and fun.


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