Pouring pints. By @jembauer
By Jemima Bauermeister
Last night a bunch of my new SCA cohort came to the bar where I work in Clapham. It was really nice to finally put faces to the names I only know from SCABs and see the others who I met as fellow wide-eyed new intake at the end of year party. Even though I wasn’t able to join them, it was great to meet everyone who came and talk to them about beer, my second favourite thing after advertising.
Pouring pints, wiping tables and rescuing drunk people from toilet cubicles has made up a large part of my career for the last ten years and I’m choosing to do more of it part time alongside SCA. Am I mad? Probably. Pretty much everyone has advised me against it. But I’m only going to do one shift a week and I’m doing it for two reasons: 1. I can’t afford not to and 2. I get so much out of it.
So many people talk about how in order to succeed in Ad-Land you need to get your head out of it as much as possible. You can’t understand your “prospect” if you never spend any time with them. Talking to customers is a very enriching experience, you meet so many people from so many different walks of life who you wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to talk to. Here’s a few different people who I’ve had the pleasure of listening to while at work:
One guy was a stage technician for Adele who I met while working in a bar in Melbourne, he said when she tours they take all of their stage equipment with them. They ship it over and it goes ahead of her to the venues. It fills 3 lorries and takes 2 and a half days to set up. The staff who set it up work 18 hour shifts to get it all done and they have to start pack down immediately once the last show is done.
A lady once came in with a yoga mat under her arm and two dogs. She had just been doing a photoshoot for her new business, dog yoga classes. She had a lot of nasty things to say about someone she knew who was trying to make cat yoga a thing.
I once spoke to someone who went to University with Prince Charles. He had a lot of juicy gossip about Camilla apparently. But he was really drunk and I don’t know whether I believe a word of it.
I met a guy who made a living from betting on behalf of a millionaire. He wouldn’t say who the millionaire was, but his job was to research horses and choose which ones to bet on. He spent all day researching and he’d know everything about them and their parents and their grandparents. He even had a spreadsheet and special algorithms he’d developed to see how well they would do with a certain jockey in certain weather conditions.
I was once talking to a guy who asked me to text his girlfriend because he was too drunk to see his phone. He said they’d met when he stopped to ask her directions. They’d both just landed in Melbourne that day but he didn’t realise that the reason she was stopping to talk to him was because she wanted to ask him directions. They were both looking for the same place and neither of them had data on their phones to find it. They ended up just aimlessly wondering around the city all day and forgot what they were looking for in the first place.
I met a girl in her early 20s who hadn’t seen her father since she was 3 years old and was meeting him after finding him online. She was so nervous she had a shot of vodka the minute she arrived. He’d been waiting for her and saw her come in. He was also so nervous he didn’t get up. I looked over at him and I have never seen so much love and remorse on someone’s face all at once. As they made eye contact all three of us started crying at the same time.
There’s so many more stories but the most interesting ones are the people who come to bars to celebrate or commiserate the things that matter most to them. First dates, redundancy packages, new parents, promotions or even just a long day at work. If you want to understand your “prospect”, the stuff that really matters to them is going to come out at the pub. Have you ever wanted to know how a stranger’s day was? Well that’s the great thing about working on a bar. It’s one of the only times when asking them is completely socially normal.