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Ballyhoo: Embracing the Weird

a close up of a bicycle

This is odd. I’m starting to stress writing this blog, now that I know so many of you are actually reading it. Never expected THAT to happen. Not going to stop me from blathering on, though!

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been in a retail or service position. I have to go back to 1992 when I was working at Great Adventure in NJ. It’s a Six Flags amusement park, and I was working at the “Cookie Shoppe”. Just writing that made me google image search it. Yep, there it is. Thankfully, I’m in none of those photos (that I will admit to).  Anyways, I worked the night shift and gained valuable experience being calm while angry New Yorkers yell at me that a cup of coffee was $2. If they only knew what was to come.

Now, almost 30 years later, I gain valuable experience listening to people yell at our staff about following COVID rules. Or roll their eyes at me when we stop them from trying to build a table for 12 on our patio. The eye roll made me laugh. Really? You think we’re the problem? Wow.

Of course, at this point I’m rarely tending bar anymore, as I need to get back into my cage and get more beer brewed. But looking past the eye rolls, I forgot just how weird people can be even in times of bad behavior. Also, you never stop being surprised. Even the person who says, “I’ve seen it all” stops in shock when someone comes in with a mask made from fishnet pantyhose. And is totally serious about it being acceptable.

We had some of our grain bins stolen from behind the brewery. So, I went to the video camera and caught a woman at 2:40am drive up and steal the bins. How did she know they were there? I back up the time a little bit and saw that her and her husband were stopped next to the brewery in (maybe) a fender-bender. She left the scene and went behind the brewery. To relieve herself. Then she came back and stole the bins. Yes, I hosed everything down after that. I’m sure, over time, we’ll get more “people behaving badly” videos and maybe I’ll develop a super-cut to put on YouTube or something.

That aside, plenty of awesome happens that I have not seen before. One person rode up on an electric unicycle. Another person entertained themselves by playing with a cup-and-ball toy.... for a while. I know I spoil my dog, but the amount of money people spend on their doggos makes me think we need to sell some dog-related merch. LUKI-branded dog travel kit, anyone? Look at this thing, check out the Royal Blue. That dog is better prepared for trips than I’ll ever be.

Believe me, I’m not poking fun. Hey, I’m the guy who recently did an employee training video on changing a keg while wearing the infamous top hat. So, I “embrace the cheese” as it were. I have to. It will change eventually, but I’m the current poster child for Grandstand masks.

Yes, that was a shameless ego plug.

This is all probably normal for the food and beverage industry in 2020, specifically the hipster craft beer culture. We’re taking it all in; the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s part of the fuel for us to keep improving service, building out our beer menu, and learning to keep popular styles flowing (sorry Hop Spinning fans, I know it’s been a rough go). If I can get both the angry yelper and hipster beer nerd to nod in approval, we’re all heading in the right path.

August 31, 2020
Written while drinking ‘Bout Damn Time, by 4 Noses Brewing Company.