A local door guy tells us what makes him tick -- or get ticked off.
First off, I hate the term "bouncer." At best, it brings to mind a Swayze-esque badass; at worst, a meathead on a power trip. I always use the term "doorman": It's nicer, and doesn't reek of Axe and steroids.
There aren't many people who take a door job as a career. It's either bench-warming to work behind the bar, or extra income to supplement a day job. That's the reason most doormen are stoic or, as some of you say, "grumpy." (If you think it's cute to tell the doorman to smile, you're lucky to get in at all.)
I can honestly say that I've never hated any of my customers. (When
the Fred Phelps clan graces the doorway, I'm sure that will change.) If I
see you out and we didn't part on the best of terms, there's a good
chance I don't even remember. I clock out, and I'm done. People do get
on my nerves, though. Here are three pet peeves.
1. I'm not working the auditions for Last Comic Standing. You're not original if I ask for your ID and you answer "No," "I don't have one," "Here's my fake," or show me a novelty McLovin license. Another offender along those lines: "But first: how old do you think I am?" Shut up. You're coming to see the show, not fool the guesser. Take that shit to Worlds of Fun.
In Missouri, to even be in a bar, you have to have a valid ID on you no matter how old you are. If liquor control comes in and cards everyone, and your smart-ass doesn't have yours, we get shut down. 25 people work here. If we get shut down because I let you slide, I couldn't live with myself.
2. Don't complain about the cover charge. Entertainment is a service. Services require money. Would you give the dude in the window at the movies a hard time for charging you nine dollars on a Friday night? Nope. Don't give me grief when I'm asking for seven dollars, and you get three-plus hours of live music.
Sticking with the movie theater analogy: sometimes, there's an early show and a late show. Your cover for the 7 p.m show doesn't entitle you to stay 'til close. You'd be arrested for trespassing if you stayed in the theater hoping to catch a second screening of Avatar. Pay for the second show, or settle your tab and leave. It's probably past your bedtime, anyway.
One more thing: I need cash. If I look confused when you hand me a credit card, it's not me -- it's you. I don't know whether to swipe it in my armpit or ass crack.
3. Don't be a dick about closing time. If we could, we'd stay open until five or six in the morning, but thanks to laws set by the state and city, we can't. If you're still there after close, we could lose our license. I try to go around to each table or group of people and ask if they still have tabs open, and inform them that it's time to settle and leave. If the night is very busy, I have to shout. Please don't take it as rudeness. It's the only way to get the message out to 200 people in a short amount of time.
Keep in mind: When you're loaded at the end of the night, I'm still sober. I want to have a wind-down drink and get the hell home. Arguing, claiming I'm harassing you, or saying, "Yeah, I heard you, I'm going," when you're still sitting there gingerly sipping your Bud Light is a sure-fire way to make sure you have my attention. There's a trashcan by the door. Take your drink with you and start moving.
I see 50 to 500 people at their worst each night. Give the person at the door a break. We're just workin' folk, like you.