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6:25 a.m. - 2005-07-01

THE WORST MANAGER I'VE EVER KNOWN

Last night I show up at the club to work.

Ah! Look! A new bar manager! Let's introduce ourselves!

"Hi! I'm Uncle Bob! I'm the DJ!"

"Hi. I'm Wally. I'm the new manager. I want to close up at 10:30 tonight."

Ummmmm...okay?!?

(For those of you who have never worked in the bar business, the majority of bars don't have an actual "closing time" unless required by law. Most bars close down when the cash register stops jumping ... regardless of the actual time. Most managers take a "wait and see" approach to the evening.)

"That's fine with me, Wally," I said and walked away.

So I'm up in the booth, layin' down some phat jamz with a "z" and a "ph".

Nobody's dancing.

I bring up the fact that it's Karaoke Night and if anyone would care to sing, they just had to let me know and by God ... I'd let 'em sing.

Nobody wanted to sing.

No singing, no dancing. This ain't Broadway, DJ Pilsbury. Just shut yer yapper and bring on the tunez. (Also with a "z")

So it gets to be like 9:55 p.m. and we're down to about 20 people in the bar.

I'm now playing my eclectic hipster mix. Old Elvis Costello tunes (no "z"), Charlie Mingus, vintage Rupert Holmes ... et cetera.

Four people walk in the bar and one of the girls walks right up to the DJ booth. I figured she was coming up to tell me how insanely handsome I was or something. Chicks do that on a regular basis when they're three sheets to the wind.

"Are you still doing karaoke?" she asked.

"For a little while," I said, emotionally deflated that she didn't mention my piercing eyes and well-coiffed hair.

"Oh," she said. "Well, you've got about 75 people that are about to come in and want to sing karaoke. We just got out of a boring banquet dinner and they're ready to get crazy."

Gotcha.

Just as she's telling me this, Wally's walking up to the DJ booth.

"Shut it down," he says, pointing at the DJ equipment.

"But we're about to get slammed," I said. "This huge banquet just got out and everyone's heading over here."

"I know!" Wally said. "Shut it down! Let's get out of here before they show up!"

Okay.

This isn't really a "bar" rule, per se ... it's more of an overall business rule ... but when you find out that the business that employs you is about five minutes away from making a ton of unexpected money, you prepare accordingly for that factor rather than do everything in your power to sabotage it.

Wally must have been sleeping off a hangover that day in Business 101 when that rule was covered.

"Are you serious?" I asked him. "You want to shut it down NOW?!?"

"Wrap it up!" he said, making the universal spinning finger motion that signifies wrapping something up. "Wrap it up!"

With a half full dance floor shaking their respective booties to Lil' Jon's "Get Low", I shut off the music.

Everyone looked at me.

"Thanks a lot for coming out folks, but I've been told to shut it down," I said.

People started booing.

"If you have a problem with it, there's Wally, our new manager. Wave at everyone, Wally."

Wally lifted his arm up in the air and shouted "You ain't gotta go home, but you've got to get the hell out of here!"

It was THE MOST INSANE management I've ever seen.

While I'm packing up my stuff, people are yelling at Wally, who's just grinning and throwing empty beer bottles in the trash one after the other.

The first batch of new customers come walking in the door, a group of about 15 people.

They're met at the door by disgruntled ex-customers who inform them that the new manager is clinically insane and has shut down the bar for reasons nobody's really sure of.

I get all my stuff packed and head out to the car when I hear "DJ! Yo, DJ!"

It's Wally, running out to the parking lot. I figure he's going to say "I'm a dumb ass. Get back in here and keep playing so we can make a couple more thousand dollars."

Nope.

He goes to shake my hand.

"Thanks for playing some great music," he says. "See you tomorrow night."

Holy hell.

I give him a pained look and said "Wally, that was WRONG what just happened in there. You can't shut a bar down when you know you're about to get slammed."

He looked confused.

"But ... I'm tired," he said. "The bartender's tired and you said you didn't mind going home early tonight."

"Yeah," I said. "If there's nobody in the bar, I don't mind going home early. But we were about to make some serious money and you shut it down."

"Oh," he said, thinking for a second. "So what should we do?"

"There's nothing we can do," I said as I pointed to another group of people getting out of their cars and being greeted by pissed-off customers who were telling them to get back in their cars and head to another bar. "The customers are gone."

"Oh," he said. "I didn't know. I just figured we were all tired and ready to go."

Bar Rule #2: Sometimes, whether you like it or not, you may have to work longer hours than expected. This is called ... the freakin' BAR BUSINESS, YOU IDIOT. You don't sleep until Sunday, fool.

I finished up the conversation by telling him that he just did a very bad thing and he went inside to catch some more hell from the few customers remaining.

I get the feeling that I won't be working with Wally anymore.

Once upper management finds out that he turned away $2,000 in sales because he was tired, he'll be begging to get his burger-flippin' job back by this afternoon.

I just hope his new job fits into his sleep schedule.


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