When you’re in a nightclub on New Year’s Eve, and you have a complaint, the last person you should be approaching is a bouncer. This is because we couldn’t give a flying fuck what your problems are. We didn’t care about your problems this New Year’s Eve because none of us wanted to be there. That’s what happens when New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday. Most club employees have already worked two or three nights in a row – most bouncers have “day jobs,” remember – so the last place in the world we want to be, at that moment of first-contact, is there listening to you.
So, fuck off. Seriously.
Bouncing is a dichotomy. We’re dichoto-mice. We hate you. By definition, our job is part of the service industry, but we’re not servants. We’re not wired for it. We take tip money as it comes. We don’t dress up for it, we don’t try to ingratiate ourselves to random customers for it, and above all, we won’t kiss ass for a few extra dollars. We’re not bartenders and we’re not waitresses. For the most part, we walk into the club every night knowing there’s a possibility we won’t be making anything more than our base shift pay. Bouncers don’t subordinate themselves.
That said, my advice to you when you have a problem in a club is to avoid telling some random bouncer. When you begin the interaction by telling me how much money you’ve spent, I’m actually happy your night’s not going the way you want it to. In fact, when you corner me and bring up the money issue, I want to make your night worse. You’re making me hate you. Really, you don’t want that kind of attention.
We’re at different points in our lives. You’re spending money to be there. I’m there because I can’t afford not to be. Therefore, I’m intellectually incapable of empathizing with you. And when you try to continue the discussion past the point of utility, I want to hurt you. I want to throw you through a plate glass window and be done with it.
I’m done with it because I’m not rich yet, and because I know the value of a fucking dollar. I resent the amounts of money you people spend in nightclubs. I resent you demanding things of me because of what you think these amounts of money imply about our respective stations in life. When you walk up to me and expect me to understand, and to capitulate, what you’re failing to realize is that I want to kill you.
The ironic part about “I want to kill you” is that I really want to kill you. This is not the metaphorical “killing” we used to threaten in the schoolyard. It’s a full-circle wish to end your existence that goes past the point of wanting to punch you in the face or choke you or break off your arm and shove it up your ass. When you come up to me on New Year’s Eve and complain like I’m supposed to give a shit, I want you not to exist anymore.
Here is Rule Number One: Don’t inflict yourself on other people.
Irrational service fits are part of the game, but the thing I’ve never understood about the industry is why people feel the need to demand satisfaction from people who can’t possibly give it to them. If someone flat-out tells you they can’t help you, move on to the next guy.
“You see all those cars out there passing by?” I’ll ask.
“Yeah,” you’ll reply.
“You may as well go flag one down and explain your situation to whoever stops, because they can do just about as much for you as I can.”
“And they’ll probably be a lot more interested.”
Don’t misunderstand me here: I’m not a complete asshole. If someone comes up to me reasonably and explains what’s gone wrong, I’ll usually see if there’s something I can do to help. If anything, I’ve been known to do too much for certain customers, only to get burned as a result. It’s the expectation that kills me – the idea that I’m there to do anything other than check IDs and throw people out.
The customer is always wrong. I’m not part of any “team,” because I have no stake in any of it. The customer can go fuck himself. This is reality. No bouncer cares. We hate you all. You think we’re stupid. We laugh when you pass out in pools of your own vomit. I spit on the hood of someone’s car last week. This was an unexpected pleasure for the three bouncers standing on the sidewalk with me. The customer whose car it was deserved worse. I hadn’t done anything like that in a while. It was liberating. The pussy drove away.
Yes, I know. If I had spit on your car, you would’ve jumped out and kicked my ass. That’s terrific, but this wasn’t you. I would’ve done it anyway, even if it was. I’m not that tough, but I’m still pretty okay, and I’m not afraid to spit on the hoods of random people’s cars. Even ones belonging to those almighty keyboard thugs who’ll go on message boards today and tell each other what they’d have done to me had I spit on the hood of their cars. Fuck them. They’re wrong too.
Yeah, the job’s still a fucking joke.