There is an epidemic amongst San Francisco service industry professionals and the plague from which so many of them suffer is contempt. Contempt for customers. Contempt at the world that they can't be practicing with their noise band SatanScratcher at the moment and instead have to work to earn a living. Contempt that you weren't aware that the housemade juniper syrup is lavendar infused. Contempt that they have four degrees a piece and student loan debt that requires they serve drinks to plebes.
Recently at a bar that will go unnamed I waited to be served cocktails. The bartender was busy, though not terribly so, so I waited patiently for her to make eye contact. Which of course, she did not. I did not wave cash to get her attention. I did not try to get her to look over at me. I just waited without a word while she clumsily made two drinks.
When finished with her masterpieces, she took a step back and said, "Who was next?"
Now. Come on, now. I've served drinks at bars three people deep. Any one given a shaker and a strainer should know who was waiting there to be served next.
So, I helped her out. I *discreetly* lifted my index finger to indicate that, since she wasn't paying attention, I was the person who'd been waiting the longest. I said no words. I waved no hand. I lifted a single finger.
Upon doing so the bartender who did not know who she was to serve next held up a fist at me, her index finger in the air. "Hang on! Hang on!" she screamed. "You might not be next."
Oh, ho ho. Did that actually happen? Did a bartender so incompetent that she had to auction off the next drinks at her bar just scream at me when I answered her question as to who was next? Oh, yes. Yes, she did.
She scanned the crowd until she realized that I was, in fact, next. Then she was forced to serve me, a task that made her look like she'd just eaten a spoonful of grubworms.
Of course, I tipped her. I can't not tip. But holy wow, that was one of the worst displays of customer service I've ever seen in this city. I sincerely hope she finds a job soon where there is a roped-off line that clearly indicates who she can scream at next.
(photo credit: by marniejoyce)