1. October 2004, 16:24 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

This is an editorial that isn't. What do I mean by that? Well, I really don't have a topic of deep interest or technical tips to share at the moment. But rather some musings on an occurance I observed last evening.

While leaving a local nightclub called Smooth Herman’s, there turned out to be a little reality play in progress and so I stayed a while to watch. A gentleman was arguing with one of the “doormen”, AKA bouncers, over his car keys. This is not that unusual an occurence all over the world. What made it notable was the circumstances regarding the gentleman.

Now the gentleman was over the legal limit for alcohol and driving, but the interesting thing was that the man was actually waiting for a drive to come and pick up he, and his car, and drive them home. The gentleman used a cane so obviously had some additional motor problem unrelated to alcohol. The man had tripped while walking towards the rear of his vehicle and in the process dropped his keys. They were picked up by the doorman who then refused to return them.

As the gentleman argued with the doorman, a cab driver who seemed to feel the need to be a participant in the drama, called the police. Now this was not a loud or belligerent argument, just a simple disagreement sort of argument and not at all physical. Apparently as it was late and near a bar it required a police officer as referee - or the cabbie needed to feel important, the more likely case, and liven up an otherwise boring shift.

The police officer arrived about the same time as the gentleman’s drive to whom the doorman gave the gentleman’s keys. With the officer watching without comment, the entire thing remaining on a peaceable, if not friendly tone, the gentleman’s drive handed him back his keys, which the fellow returned to his drive and requested he transport him and his car home. He shook the officer’s hand and he and his drive proceeded to leave. The police officer made some kind of comment to the doorman and left as well.

Where was the necessity to refuse the return of the man’s keys (and effectively his vehicle/house/etc)? What strikes me as odd about the whole affair, is at what point can one person legitimately and legally withhold another’s property from them?

To prevent them breaking the law? Certainly. To prevent them injuring themselves or others? Quite likely. Simply because you can? I don't think so. And yet that is exactly what this doorman did, as there was no possibility of the gentleman leaving with the car, and indeed he was waiting for a drive. It is however, only too common a type of behaviour exhibited by the majority of “doormen” and those in similar positions throughtout the hospitality industry.

A separate but important issue was that this needlessly pulled a police unit off patrol for a good twenty minutes or more when they might have been needed elsewhere.

I guess I know now what happens to at least some schoolyard bullies. They grow up and become “doormen” and cab drivers.

Addendum, March 8, 2010 — Smooth Herman’s has gone out of business due to declining patronage and perhaps reputation and have, as of this date, closed permanently. I guess what goes around comes around.

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Categories: ,
Keywords: editorial,doormen,bullies,bouncers,smooth herman's



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