Tales from the service industry

Welcome to what we hope is the first installment of Behind the Line. We’d like you to be a part of this series by submitting first hand experiences of imperious bosses, difficult guests, and your own and others’ stupidity. Please send stories to

I will start with a couple of my own stories of ‘dumb’.

Cutting comment

A few years ago I worked at a great spot here in Charlottetown. Very eclectic crowd. One afternoon I was working by myself managing the few guests that had come in for lunch and the two or three professional drinkers that held up the bar most days.

After the lunch rush a couple of my younger regulars came in. To say they were already somewhat altered would be understating the amount of Owsley’s Old Original they had dropped.

They went directly to their favourite table and I followed them over. I asked them if they would like menus. No, but could they get a couple of fly swatters?

We didn’t have a drink on the menu called a fly swatter so I thought that they wanted to kill a couple of flies? The bar was located in an attic space and we were always battling flies, wasps, etc. Ok, so I went to the supply closet and got them a couple of fly swatters.

Imagine—if you can—the look on these two high kids’ faces when instead of delivering their “couple of ice waters” I handed them two nasty fly swatters.

Don’t run with those

This took place at one of Charlottetown’s lesser dives in the early nineties.

Once again I was behind the bar working the busy and loud evening shift. We were mostly a beer and shots kind of place, but we did have a few of the most common cocktails available.

Two young women came in and I asked them what they would like. They weren’t sure and asked about a couple of mixed drinks. They discussed what they wanted with each other and I left them to it for a few minutes. They waved me over with their decision and proudly asked for a pair of scissors. Odd request, and I said, “Make sure you don’t hurt yourselves.”

They said “Okay,” and I handed them a pair of scissors.

“What’s this?”

“Your pair of scissors.”

“We wanted a pair of Caesars.”
(I’m thinking I may be hard of hearing.)

In the end they thought it was endearing and tipped well.

And those are the reasons why I don’t tend bar anymore.

About Rod Weatherbie

Rod Weatherbie is a writer working in the hospitality industry. He spent a number of years in Toronto as a member of the financial press before returning to PEI. Rod has published one piece of short fiction, one book of poetry, and has had work published in Red Shift, the Antigonish Review, Mitre, and the Toronto Quarterly. He has also recently co-produced, co-directed, and acted in a stage production of old television shows.

He also likes writing about food. Go figure.

View All Posts