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Monday, July 03, 2006


In work I have to make alot of decisions, on my own and quickly. I have to take full responsibility for them and if I get it badly wrong I'm out of a job. If I get it slightly wrong I'm either going to get the piss taken out of me or I'm out of a job, depending on who saw it.

This is both a good and bad aspect of the job. I get to make decisions and act on them quickly, with the full support of a team of equals. There's no politics when there're punters to be dealt with. The job gets done.

From this weekend I'll give you two examples of simple decisions I make ad nauseam which can vary in outcome so wildly.

I was escorting a punter from the venue, after staff had come to us about their aggressive and antisocial manner. Not a time to go in all guns blazing, but definitely a time for them to leave. The punter agrees to start walking and I place an arm behind them, not on them, to guide their egress. A common thing to avoid any sudden turns or darting efforts. Think basketball marking. All the way out they say.
"Oi, keep your hands off me."
"Keep walking, the doors that way"
"Keep your fucking hands off me"
"Just keep walking."
The steady progress to the exit ensured by the barrier arm catching up every time they stopped. Then staying just clear every time they moved on. They didn't want to be manhandled, so kept walking. When the sod stopped, I stopped, though pressing against their back gently to get moving again. We reached the entranceway in this fashion and I'll leave it there for a moment

Another incident I asked another punter to leave, this time for being intoxicated, they agreed and start heading doorwards. I've one arm behind them as a barrier and in this case also a catchnet/bumper for their swaying gait. Every time they stopped, so did I letting the arm press them to keep moving, again I get,
"Don't fucking touch me."
"Keep moving to the door"
"I said don't fucking touch me, get off"
"Keep moving, out the door"
This time progress was relatively fast if a little meandering 'til they arrived at the entrance way.

Now both customers were argumentative, reluctant to leave and fairly abusive, so if I wished to apply some force to their exit , I would have been justified. Both customers paused at the sight of the door as the reality of their ejection struck them. Both stopped, planted their feet and said words to the effect of,
"Don't you fucking put a hand on me"

Here were the decisions,
One punter found that the hand on the barrier arm had taken grip around one wrist. Their other wrist got pinned to their side and they left effing and blinding in a flurry of scuffle out the door.
One punter I let have a moment, I didn't let the barrier arm catch up. I didn't concede ground but let them assess the lost situation then let them amble on out through the door.

Both worked, both acceptable.
The difference,
Punter one, male, mid thirties, medium to slight build, short, no physical threat.
Punter two, female, mid twenties, average height (in low heels), medium to slight build, no physical threat.
Punter one walked out, punter two was scuffled out.

Punter one was able to see the situation was lost and a pause saved us both effort.
Punter two was a few empty glasses too far and would not see the situation as lost 'til outside under the starry sky. Any pause would just add to their resolve and make the scuffle anticipated.

What'd be your call?

1 comment:

an.otherdoorman said...

I will accept that your question was most probably rhetorically, but I felt that I wanted to answer anyway.

In both situations, without knowing the entire story, i.e I don't know that the female isn't known for violence, or you've watched her throughout the night and see that she could potentially kick off. I'd most probably allow both to walk off, and talk considerately to both. I'd also use the 'good cop, bad cop' routine that seems to happen on my door quite a lot. When I want to eject somebody, I start walking them out, a colleague is always watching me ensuring that i'm okay. If they resist, the colleague uses a light lock and says 'time to go' at this point, most of the time I ask the colleague politely to wait (NOT undermining, i'd never do that, this is a technique we use) I then talk to the punter politely and say look 'lets just walk out of here and save the embarrasment of you being dragged out'' and i'd guess that 99% of the time this technique works and they walk. The 1% can often be difficult.