Search This Blog

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jacket Fillers

In certain teams you get settled staff. 6 of the same 8 people, week in week out. Someone doesn't work sundays and someone only does the Fridays and Saturdays. You get settled into a routine and you know how each other works. Everyone on the team may not be the best at everything but you work around that and use each ones' skills to the best advantage in the team.
In some places with an unsettled team or just a bigger team you get to rely on jacket fillers more and more. When one of the team has a stag do and all but 3 of the team go away for the full weekend, you're left with a very ropey looking gaggle of muppets and a full venue of the usual scrotes to keep in drink and out of trouble.

You phone the company bosses and beg for a couple more than you really need. This gets you on paper one more than you really need. In reality it leaves you about 3 short. Some folks you may have worked with before and you'll know what they're up to. Not all good, not all bad but it gives you some idea of where you're going to put them and how close you have to keep them. Then you'll get the randoms. You have to size them up in 30 seconds, give them the walk 'round before doors open and stick them somewhere and hope they stick. You never know. I've had randoms turn up and be top flight drunk spotters and trouble solvers. The kind you'd want back if you can get hold of them.

Then you get those with no clue. Sleeping in the staff room toilets, texting a good four fifths of the shift or just chatting with new ladies in a new town who don't know to avoid the filth ridden loins of the doorwhore from out of town.

I have places to put folks who I don't trust. We've a wonderful well lit, tedious smoking area to monitor, usually taken in turns by the regular team but perfect for a new muppet. We also have front of house watching the punters pay their way in and stamp them out. Well covered by camera, nowhere to wander off to and within shouting distance of my cold front doorstep.

It's not fool-proof, especially when you get some serious fools. Some are better off being told "to wander 'round, look busy and not stop walking". They may be chocolate fireguards but the punters need never know.


an.otherdoorman said...

I'm utterly envious of your situation. I do not believe in the last year and a half of working this venue one single weekend has mirrored the doorstaff of the previous. Every single weekend we get a new team, and every single weekend as you say, you have to judge them in a very short space of time. Unfortunately, it becomes natural to judge on size rather than character as size is all I have to judge by, an unfortunate predicament but nonetheless the only option. In your said 30 seconds, how do you decide whether they get pole position of dance floor rotation float or rather the more important job of taking the till tickets.. ?

Adoor Man said...

Some of it is size, more of it is probably age and from this experience. I like to hear them speak, answer a question and see if they get a fast joke. It gives me some idea of their demeanour and wether they're able to produce more than a syllable a minute.
It's pot luck, you can't tell who's 30 seconds of irritation from going psycho. You can't tell who's going to run check the toilets when main dance floor erupts into a brawling mess. You just get to rely on your regular lads more and more.
Bad luck being in a high turnover team. It's bloody hard when you've not got teamwork to smooth over the inevitable dropped balls that happen night in night out.

Anonymous said...

Just had a bad weekend. The regular door team have, for some reason or another, decided they will have the night off. This leaves me with many options. I wait for the cover to arrive, is it someone i know? Is it someone i don't like to work with. Worst case happened, someone i didn't know who was about 5 stone wet through, never worked a door before and thought the night was for cracking onto local talent. And who else arrives? Yep its the guy i can't stand as well, well thats my Saturday night buggered.
Mr 1st night on the job is now argueing with Mr Tit over who goes inside, and who stays on the door with me. I go for Mr 1st night on the job, so i can keep an eye on him. By 10 o'clock he's mardy because he gets an ear bashing off me for wandering off to follow some woman into the club. Mr Tit inside is causing trouble with a group of regulars, who have not done anything wrong, he just doesn't like the look of them. It kicks off, Mr Tit steams in, i'm in the middle and Mr 1st night is nowhere to be seen. Only 3 hours left to go. Yeah it's a great job sometimes :-)

Anonymous said...

Real nice ! Many thanks !