Sunday, April 4, 2010

Trivia night: now a total waste of time.

Previously, for late night, we were doing trivia ourselves. The first week CL read the questions, and the next two weeks I did it. I actually really liked reading the questions; I was looking forward to actually writing some of them. CL decided it wasn't obnoxious enough, I guess, because she hired a professional DJ company.

The first night was this week, and I was not fucking thrilled. To start with, they erected their setup at two of my tables, shrinking my section. Their setup plugs in to the television, which is nice; and then they have two giant speakers, one of which was pointed directly at another of my tables—so I was down three tables, because nobody wanted to sit three feet from this screaming speaker. The guy reading the questions yelled in to his microphone, making people jump every time he started talking; in between his over-enthused speaking they blasted top 40 songs.

Don't get me wrong, it would be a great plan for a real bar. For our little restaurant, it's total overkill. The people who were there seemed to be having fun, which I guess is what's important even if it did give me a screaming headache and even though I couldn't hear my customers to get orders. Still, I wasn't cranky, I figured it'd get better with time, I'd adjust to the noise.

When I got really pissed was when a table of regulars left, one of the three tables I got at all. These five guys come in once a week or so, are super low-maintenance, and tip about 30%. And boy, were they pissed off. They didn't like the noise; they didn't like the music; they didn't like the dimmer than usual lighting. What really set them off, though, was our drink specials.

I actually would really like to get some feedback on this. When you go to a bar that has two-for-one drink specials, how does that work? Does the bartender give you both drinks at once, you have one and your friend has one? Or are they both for you, and they won't serve the second one until the first is done? If you all could leave comments, I'd appreciate it, because I don't know how these things work normally.

All I know is that CL said people can't share the special. So if you and I want to drink at the same time, we both have to order a drink under our own 2-for-1. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me—the drinks are the same prices as always, they're not increased to account for the free one. So I don't see what the big deal is, but these guys were pissed. Especially one of them, whose bald scalp was turning red with anger. “Oh, so they want us to get drunk and drive? That's just great!”

I don't get paid enough to deal with the fallout from corporate idiocy, so I fetched Lapdog. He spent a few minutes talking to them, Red Scalp bitching most of that time, and then the people who would've tipped me hugely got up and left. Because corporate has flat-out stated that they're willing to sacrifice regular customers to chase this “late night” crowd.

It would have been fine if we'd still been doing trivia like we were before—a round of ten questions, then ten or twenty minutes for people to keep talking, to eat, to order more drinks. Instead we now have this non-stop onslaught of hip-hop music and a screaming DJ. Our regular Tuesday night Jehovahs are going to stop coming in, eliminating our steady Tuesday business almost entirely.

I'm considering giving up my Tuesday night closes, honestly. I was there until 12:40 at night, and I think I made sixty bucks. Not okay.


Pademelon said...

I've been in bars all over California and Nevada in the US and all over Queensland here in Australia. Every 2-for-1 drink special I can remember seeing has been no sharing & the second drink only poured after the first has been finished (or almost finished). I have been in a few bars where the the bartenders have let that rule slide and allowed 2 people to share the 2-for-1 but only when politely asked beforehand. Never when assumed or rudely demanded. There must be bars that run 2-for-1's with sharing but it's definitely not the norm from what I've seen.

It's amazing how few people realize that you can get pretty much whatever you want, within reason, and bend lots of rules in restaurants by being nice, asking politely and tipping decently. When I was a server, I decided that there should be a mandatory year spent working as a server, the way that there's mandatory military service in some countries. (Not really but ex-servers tend to make better customers)

Anonymous said...

Only when the guest finishes his drink,I give himthe second one. That's what happy hour is about,isn't it? They always try to bend this rule.but,hey,thats what we do? otherwise pay the full price

the career waitress said...

my restaurant has the 2 for 1 special and it is standard for us to bring out both drinks at the same time unless the customer asks us not to (then i get the bartender eye roll when i place the order and tell them to hold off on the 2nd drink). People can share all they want as long as i've carded them. The only problem we have is when people try to play the 2 for 1 mix and match game as in "hey, can my first drink be a strawberry daquerie and my free one be a Jack and coke?" because they get really pissy when we tell them NO.

purplegirl said...

Pademelon, my friends and I say the same thing all the time! One year, compulsory restaurant or retail work so everyone can learn what it's like!

Anonymous, that's how I always understood it to work, but like I said, I don't drink. :)

Career Waitress, people get aggravated about not being able to switch drunks, too! Total lack of understanding of liquor inventory!

Missy said...

My current bar doesn't do 2-for-1 specials, but places I have worked in the past have. At all of those, we let people share, but a few places had a rule that no-one could have two drinks at a time. So, if there are two of you, you can both get one at the same time, if just one person, you have to wait until you finnished your first to get the second.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Right! Everyone should have to do some restaurant or retail.
You just can't know, unless you've been waiting on the tables instead of sitting at the table complaining, what's it's really like....

purplegirl said...

Thanks for the comment, Missy. Seems like it's sort of evenly split. CL would probably make a lot of people happy if she'd allow sharing.

Mary, you're absolutely right. Until you've had to smile and be polite to somebody who just swore at you and insulted your mother, you have no idea!