One of my major pet peeves as a bartender is when people stick their fingers in the fruit tray. I take customer service very seriously. Customers to me are like guests, so for a long time I just didn’t mention it because I didn’t want to make anyone feel bad. But after a while a guy can only take so many foreign fingers in his fruit before he says enough is enough. I’ve tried the polite route, informing clients with a smile that I can get them anything they need, all the way down to the last squeeze of lime. I’ve gotten sassy too because some people like that, snapping the tray cover on their hands like they are Pretty Woman. I’ve even tried bribing people, letting them know that if they just ask, I’ll give them two lemons next time or even three. But I’ve never had to throw anyone out over a fruit tray fiasco, until last night that is.
Check it out. It was already after hours and I was in the middle of some 3am pre-closing. The music was still pumping. People were smoking and the Red Bull was flowing sans vodka. I’m on the patio sweeping straws and napkins into neat little piles when I see this gal just going for the the cherries like they were chicken strips at the Sizzler. One or two cherries went into her mouth as she was talking to her boyfriend and I almost didn’t mention it until the eager beaver went in for a double dip, her hands already wet with maraschino and saliva.
So with broom in hand like a staff of wisdom I ask directly “Hey girl, are you a bartender here?”
She rolls her eyes. She knows where I’m going with this.
I go on. “Cause you know the bartenders here, we wash our hands when we give you your cherries, but if all the customers here helped themselves, there’s a pretty good chance some germs could get up in that mix and you might even get sick.”
She sneered. “Well it’s a good thing I’m not gay.”
Really, I was relieved she went there. “Ok” I said. I leaned my magic staff on the wall, gently grabbed her drink out of her hand and threw it away in front of her. “You’re outta here. Both of you.” I extended my arm toward the exit with a smile, the way I usually do to welcome people into the bar or point them toward the bathroom.
As I walk them toward the door the boyfriend chimes in with, “Man, why don’t you mind your business and do your job?”
“I am doing my job. I’m throwing you out.”
My man Todd at the door took a mental pic of the pair and assured me they wouldn’t be back. They assured us of the same as most people do when they are thrown out of a bar, spewing incoherent vitriol.
To be honest, I’m sure these two aren’t really haters. I’m sure they are alright folks who treat people with an adequate amount of respect 80 percent of the time. I probably embarrassed the girl as she was slurping up the sticky redness that was dripping down her chin. I called her out and a gay slur was the first thing she could think of. That’s ok, I have a high tolerance for uncreative comebacks. I’m sure these people are alright people. Right? They just happened to fuck with the wrong fruit.