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Problems with a lounge bartender (How would you handle a situation like this?)

Problems with a lounge bartender (How would you handle a situation like this?)

Old Apr 20, 22, 3:28 pm
  #1  
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Problems with a lounge bartender (How would you handle a situation like this?)

Here is an interesting encounter I had with a bar tender at the Admirals Club at ORD. I am curious to know how would you handle similar situations professionally.

I walked by the bar to ask for a glass of diet coke in a tall glass with easy on ice and Lime and Cherry sirup. Normally I avoid the self-service coke machines and order a similar drink at the bar. Bar tenders at various clubs including LGA, JFK, DFW, LAX, CLT etc etc always gladly make the drink. Today at ORD, I was been humiliated by the bar tender. Here is what happened:

I walked by the bar and asked the bar tender I like to have a diet coke with easy ice and Lime and Cherry sirup. Before I could complete my sentence, she showed me the self service machine. I told her that I like to have the drink in a tall glass. She handed me a glass and pointed her fingers to the machine. It was hard to believe. I told her that there is no lime available in the buffet area, and regardless I prefer to get my drink at the bar. She said there is no Cherry diet-coke at the bar - do you know how to operate the self service machine? She started to become sarcastic and insulting. I was still most polite and calm (and, just a FYI I am wearing a business attire). I told her that I know how to operate the self service machine. I flew more than160,000 miles last year and I am a member of the club for many years. So I have a very good sense of what's available at the clubs. And this is the first time a bar tender at a club is refusing to serve. I am not asking for a cherry-diet-coke, but I am asking to mix a bit of Cherry sirup on my diet-coke, and the syrup is normally available in the bar, although I don't know the brand name of the syrup. She pulled out the coke dispenser nozzle and said look, look, look here -- there is no Cherry coke button here. Come with me and I will show you how to operate the self service machine. She was giving a loud show for the people sitting on the bar, and it was getting quite humiliating. So I picked up the glass and turned around. She shouted do you need your lime - and let me show you how to operate the machine. I didn't say anything. I filled up my glass at the machine and walked towards the quite area. On my way back, I turned my head around towards the bar, and saw she is having quite a chit-chat and a laugh with the people sitting on the bar all looking at me.

So it get me thinking. Not only I was humiliated and insulted deliberately by a bar tender but I cannot think of anything I can do to change her behavior. The whole incident was so humiliating that I don't even feel like going back to that area to get a refill from the machine.

I wonder how would you handle similar situation if it happns to you? Do you think I should file a complain to someone?

Thanks.
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Old Apr 20, 22, 3:42 pm
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by Tintin
<snip>

I wonder how would you handle similar situation if it happns to you? Do you think I should file a complain to someone?

Thanks.
I'd have asked (not her) staff to bring their manager to me.

Followed up with a complaint to corporate. I'd name her in that correspondence.

Wrong on so many levels. Wow.

All the best, James
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Old Apr 20, 22, 3:43 pm
  #3  
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Just playing devil's advocate here, but the bartender offered to take you to the machine to show you how to work it, so maybe she thought was genuinely helping you out and not trying to humiliate or insult you. Also are you sure the ORD club actually has cherry syrup, that could have been what she meant when saying there's no cherry on the gun.

In any event if you want to try again, I would just walk back up, thank her for the help, but say the drink didn't quite taste like what you're after and try asking again if they have cherry syrup. Or just go to the other bar (there are 2 bars in the ORD H/K club) and ask a different bartender.
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Old Apr 20, 22, 3:47 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by Tintin
Here is an interesting encounter I had with a bar tender at the Admirals Club at ORD. I am curious to know how would you handle similar situations professionally.

I walked by the bar to ask for a glass of diet coke in a tall glass with easy on ice and Lime and Cherry sirup. Normally I avoid the self-service coke machines and order a similar drink at the bar. Bar tenders at various clubs including LGA, JFK, DFW, LAX, CLT etc etc always gladly make the drink. Today at ORD, I was been humiliated by the bar tender. Here is what happened:

I walked by the bar and asked the bar tender I like to have a diet coke with easy ice and Lime and Cherry sirup. Before I could complete my sentence, she showed me the self service machine. I told her that I like to have the drink in a tall glass. She handed me a glass and pointed her fingers to the machine. It was hard to believe. I told her that there is no lime available in the buffet area, and regardless I prefer to get my drink at the bar. She said there is no Cherry diet-coke at the bar - do you know how to operate the self service machine? She started to become sarcastic and insulting. I was still most polite and calm (and, just a FYI I am wearing a business attire). I told her that I know how to operate the self service machine. I flew more than160,000 miles last year and I am a member of the club for many years. So I have a very good sense of what's available at the clubs. And this is the first time a bar tender at a club is refusing to serve. I am not asking for a cherry-diet-coke, but I am asking to mix a bit of Cherry sirup on my diet-coke, and the syrup is normally available in the bar, although I don't know the brand name of the syrup. She pulled out the coke dispenser nozzle and said look, look, look here -- there is no Cherry coke button here. Come with me and I will show you how to operate the self service machine. She was giving a loud show for the people sitting on the bar, and it was getting quite humiliating. So I picked up the glass and turned around. She shouted do you need your lime - and let me show you how to operate the machine. I didn't say anything. I filled up my glass at the machine and walked towards the quite area. On my way back, I turned my head around towards the bar, and saw she is having quite a chit-chat and a laugh with the people sitting on the bar all looking at me.

So it get me thinking. Not only I was humiliated and insulted deliberately by a bar tender but I cannot think of anything I can do to change her behavior. The whole incident was so humiliating that I don't even feel like going back to that area to get a refill from the machine.

I wonder how would you handle similar situation if it happns to you? Do you think I should file a complain to someone?

Thanks.
I'm a pretty reasonable guy, but I would have probably done exactly what the bartender did up until the "do you know how to use the machine" remark which sounds unnecessarily sarcastic. The machines are there. Doesn't make any sense why you wouldn't make your own cherry syrup diet coke on the machine and then snag a lime from the bar. If I were the bartender, I wouldn't understand it.

That said, you have a valid complaint on the rest of her conduct but if you didn't complain to someone there at the time, I would just let it go.
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Old Apr 20, 22, 3:47 pm
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Very sorry to learn of what was obviously a very unpleasant experience for you. As someone who enjoys a (non-diet) cherry cola lime rickey

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/34122224-post356.html

I can sympathize.

I'll let Admirals Club members weigh in on whether or how you should complain. But going forward, I offer the following advice: If you encounter any resistance from a bartender about fulfilling the same request in the future, I would just request a tall glass with a slice of lime and some cherry syrup (or Grenadine, if that's what they use). Then use the self-service dispenser to fill up the glass with as much or as little ice as you prefer, and Diet Coke.

Last edited by guv1976; Apr 20, 22 at 4:36 pm
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Old Apr 20, 22, 3:48 pm
  #6  
 
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Dont they have diet Cherry Coke at the soda machine? Then afterwards go and ask for some lime at the bar ? Im confused . why go to the bar if you dont drink alcohol ? Are you going to report the bar tender to corporate ?
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Old Apr 20, 22, 3:50 pm
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I hope you are exaggerating when you say you were humiliated, but it does seem like the bartenders have some beef with the freestyle machines. At CLT I asked for a bourbon and Dr. Pepper and the bartender brusquely stated “we don’t have Dr. Pepper here, have you tried the machine around the corner?” It wasn’t what she said but how she said it. I moved on with my day because I didn’t have time to dwell on such a minor slight, and in retrospect chalked it up to the fact that the CLT lounge was closing a day or two later and she might well have been out of a job.

I’ve never had anything less than great service at the ORD bar. Was this the bar near the elevators or the one in the back?
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Old Apr 20, 22, 3:57 pm
  #8  
 
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After re-reading through the OP: they prefer the flavor with the syrup. I can get that. Apparently the bartender didn't.

I know when someone is being dismissive, rude, and patronizing to me. The behavior, as I read in the OP, certainly sounds that way.

All the best, James
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Old Apr 20, 22, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Tintin
Here is an interesting encounter I had with a bar tender at the Admirals Club at ORD. I am curious to know how would you handle similar situations professionally.

I walked by the bar to ask for a glass of diet coke in a tall glass with easy on ice and Lime and Cherry sirup. Normally I avoid the self-service coke machines and order a similar drink at the bar. Bar tenders at various clubs including LGA, JFK, DFW, LAX, CLT etc etc always gladly make the drink. Today at ORD, I was been humiliated by the bar tender. Here is what happened:

I walked by the bar and asked the bar tender I like to have a diet coke with easy ice and Lime and Cherry sirup. Before I could complete my sentence, she showed me the self service machine. I told her that I like to have the drink in a tall glass. She handed me a glass and pointed her fingers to the machine. It was hard to believe. I told her that there is no lime available in the buffet area, and regardless I prefer to get my drink at the bar. She said there is no Cherry diet-coke at the bar - do you know how to operate the self service machine? She started to become sarcastic and insulting. I was still most polite and calm (and, just a FYI I am wearing a business attire). I told her that I know how to operate the self service machine. I flew more than160,000 miles last year and I am a member of the club for many years. So I have a very good sense of what's available at the clubs. And this is the first time a bar tender at a club is refusing to serve. I am not asking for a cherry-diet-coke, but I am asking to mix a bit of Cherry sirup on my diet-coke, and the syrup is normally available in the bar, although I don't know the brand name of the syrup. She pulled out the coke dispenser nozzle and said look, look, look here -- there is no Cherry coke button here. Come with me and I will show you how to operate the self service machine. She was giving a loud show for the people sitting on the bar, and it was getting quite humiliating. So I picked up the glass and turned around. She shouted do you need your lime - and let me show you how to operate the machine. I didn't say anything. I filled up my glass at the machine and walked towards the quite area. On my way back, I turned my head around towards the bar, and saw she is having quite a chit-chat and a laugh with the people sitting on the bar all looking at me.

So it get me thinking. Not only I was humiliated and insulted deliberately by a bar tender but I cannot think of anything I can do to change her behavior. The whole incident was so humiliating that I don't even feel like going back to that area to get a refill from the machine.

I wonder how would you handle similar situation if it happns to you? Do you think I should file a complain to someone?

Thanks.
Who was the bartender? I only ask because is it was the older, shorter lady with an accent, that is her personality, and I am fairly sure she meant no harm. There are two club managers who have overall responsibility, but the F&B staff have a different manager/supervisor. If you send in a note it will get to the proper person. The question you aske, I would have said my thoughts/feelings directly to her at the time, I am personally not a big fan of writing in complaints, bit that's me. I would move on.
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Old Apr 20, 22, 4:08 pm
  #10  
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Op here. Just spoke with one of the manager at ORD club. Her name is Lana. She was infinitely gracious and profusely apologized. She took it very seriously and will retrain the bar tender. We walked by the other bar and the bartender at the other bar made me a delicious cherry mix with diet coke. Apparently the first bar tender has a tendency to flip out. I a! running to catch my flight now. Will post more later. Thank you all for quick response. When you are at ORD club and need any help, look for Lana.
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Old Apr 20, 22, 4:10 pm
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Originally Posted by fdog
I'd have asked (not her) staff to bring their manager to me.

Followed up with a complaint to corporate. I'd name her in that correspondence.

Wrong on so many levels. Wow.

All the best, James
Many thanks. Took your advice. Spoke with manager Lana. She was most gracious, incredibly helpful, and profusely apologized. Got a great delicious drink from the other bar. More later. Many thanks.
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Old Apr 20, 22, 4:12 pm
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Hopefully that bartender gets fired, not retrained
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Old Apr 20, 22, 4:22 pm
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Do Admirals Clubs have AA employees any more, aside from the front desk?
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Old Apr 20, 22, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Tanic
Do Admirals Clubs have AA employees any more, aside from the front desk?
Bartenders and F&B staff in ACs have been contract staff for as long as I can remember
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Old Apr 20, 22, 4:39 pm
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Originally Posted by DataPlumber
Bartenders and F&B staff in ACs have been contract staff for as long as I can remember
That should make the bartender even easier to get rid of. If AA complains to the contract company who employs her, she is gone. That's the main reason to use contractors; to not have to deal with unions and other nonsense.
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