STORYTIME | WHY I WAS A HORRIBLE BARTENDER

STORYTIME | WHY I WAS A HORRIBLE BARTENDER

I was lying in bed last night- like the casual insomniac that I am- reminiscing on my third job I had as a teenager; the time I was a bartender and waitress for a wedding venue. I then had all these vivid flashbacks about how horrible I was at this particular job and all the kerfuffles I got myself into. I cringed into my pillow, but also had a little giggle. I’ve never really told anyone about these particular moments that lead me to not getting any shifts; basically being fired, and I thought that it might be a nice little story to share with the Internet as it is currently quite a reflective time of year.

First of all, eighteen year old Racquel, what were you thinking? Why the fuck did you apply to be a bartender? You knew literally nothing about alcohol, you barely drank and when you did it was literally just vodka. Second of all, just because you take a four hour seminar to be eligible to hold a RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate it doesn’t mean you’re qualified enough to confidently serve alcohol at weddings of all places.

The job itself was a decent job. The staff and owners were among some of the loveliest people i’ve ever met, the venue location was absolutely incredible scenery- atop mountains in lush, green, forest- the pay was higher than the average hourly wage, the skills you gained were transferrable, and it was touching to see loved-up couples get married to each other every weekend. I landed the job through an old netball coach of mine, but it was over an hour away from home, with late-night shift times and quite a dangerous drive for a new red p-plater like myself. Nevertheless, when I was given the position I thought I was the luckiest person on the planet.

It all started to go wrong as soon as I started the RSA online seminars on my own accord. Being the desperate, money-hungry teenager that I was coupled with the stress of high-school exams and study, I decided to not read through the theory properly and wing the online exams. Surprisingly, I passed all the exams and was granted an RSA certificate. Basically, I was RSA qualified but knew absolutely nothing! Oh god Racquel.

So I show up on my first day about 30 minutes early for my shift. Being the socially awkward person I am, I decided to hide out in my car for the next 20 minutes instead of actually going inside and mingling with my new co-workers and managers. I was given the tour of the venue and was finally shown the bar. My manager showed me where to sign in as one of the bartenders on duty and started to point out the range of alcoholic beverages available to the guests and what products were on what wedding packages purchased. This is when I realised I was completely and utterly unprepared for what I had just signed up for. My manager started listing the wines available; what ones were red, what ones were white, the names… Luckily, the estate I live in actually has street names named after particular wines so things could have been much worse.

Wedding guests would come up to me as I was tending the bar and ask for drinks that were mostly foreign to me. I’m pretty deaf and the music was so loud that I could barely hear what they were saying so I would awkwardly find myself asking them to repeat themselves, but I would never ask them to repeat themselves more than twice because that was the kind of awkwardness that would make me want to physically punch myself in the face, so instead I just got them what I thought they had asked for and hoped for the best.

Then there was pouring the wine- a WHOLE other ball game! As a waitress, at the start of the reception I would have around three tables designated to myself and I would have to go around to each individual person, ask whether they would want red or white wine and then pour the wine into their glasses. Me being pretty poor at good hand-eye coordination, this would result in pouring wine onto the white tablecloths and publicly humiliating myself followed by apologising to the guests. To make matters worse it was usually red wine that I would spill. Whoops.

And then there was that one night. Oh my god, I am about to implode from cringe just writing about it. I think this was the final straw for my position in this workplace. So I rock up to work one night and there I am, pouring wine into guests’ glasses and onto their tables apologising constantly; just the usually, really. This night was a pretty large wedding, one of the largest of the wedding season, so I was completely and utterly flustered. I asked this rather good-looking man whether he would like red or white wine, and he responds with ‘red please’; just my fucking luck. The mixture of emotions was too much to handle; I was stressed because of the size of the wedding, I was flustered because this guy was quite beautiful, I was shaking like usual because of my lack of waitressing skills and guess what happens…

I go to pour the red wine and I POUR IT ALL OVER HIS WHITE SHIRT. Brb, i’m currently imploding.

After multiple apologies and his endless reassurances that it’s ‘okay’, I leave with the reddest cheeks and go to hide out the back of the venue in the bathrooms. I stay in there for about 10 minutes and push myself to open that door and walk back outside into that wedding. I don’t know if any conversing happened between my manager and the man that I poured wine on, but I feel like there was and that was basically the final straw as I got nicely sent home early and got no shifts for the next three weeks before I decided to quit because it was ’too far from home and the driving frightened me’.

So that was the story about why I was a horrible bartender. I honestly wish I was a little better at it because the job was actually great; nevertheless there is a moral to this story! If you are going to try something different, make sure you actually have some basic knowledge of what you are about to try- especially if you are in an employed position- and ask for help, don’t be awkward and try to do everything yourself. To my past employers, just know that I did try my best every single shift and I tried to learn as much as possible. Also, thank you for the three months of employment. Honestly, it was an awesome job and I am very grateful.

Enjoy the rest of 2016 everyone and please remember to drink responsibly; look out for each other.

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Racquel Hardie
Racquel Hardie

A twenty-something Aussie girl with a love for exploring this world and telling her stories.

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