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Capital City Q&A: A bouncer

If you’ve ever gone out in Fredericton, you’ve probably met Max.*

Max has worked as a bouncer for three years at various bars and clubs in the city, but for the last year, he has worked the door at one very popular downtown spot.

It is our intention with this first edition of a new monthly Q&A on an interesting Fredericton character to give you a peek into his world (you know, beyond what you might see while trying to stay upright in line for the bar).

*But first, let it be known that in efforts to appease his employers and in order to share with you the juiciest of his experiences (and trust me, they are juicy) his name has been changed and the name of his workplace withheld. You’re bound to see him around some time — you just won’t know it.

So without further ado, here is everything you ever thought you’d like to know about a day (or rather, a night) in the life of a Fredericton bouncer.

Q: What is the poorest excuse for a fake ID you’ve ever seen?
A: I had a gentleman hand me an ID with a photo of an elephant on it … All it was was a card with an elephant and the date of birth. I couldn’t figure out what he was trying to pull so I just said, “Sir this doesn’t look like you at all. I’m sorry.” He wouldn’t respond to me, claimed he didn’t speak English. Finally it got to the point where he told me he was messing around, but it made for an awkward five minutes.
[Another time], a young gentleman had printed off a copy of an ID, like from a printer, and then taped it to a credit card and handed it to me. The photo was him — he must have copy/pasted it onto a template of the ID — but he just handed it to me as printer paper on top of a credit card and I was honestly extremely confused. I couldn’t figure out how he thought he’d get in with it.

Q: What is the most interesting way an underage customer has tried to gain access to the bar?
A: There were two young gentlemen who started a fight in the line that I had to break up while their friend tried to sneak in behind me … I eventually learned the three of them were friends and they were just trying to get their underage friend to have a bar experience.

Q: What’s the strangest thing you’ve found after everyone went home?
A: I’ve found pretty much every article of clothing you could ever think to find anywhere, including things you wouldn’t expect like suspenders … an eye-patch one time, that was interesting. Probably the strangest one I’ve ever found was a person passed out in the bathroom, No one has any idea how this gentleman got there [we checked the bathrooms right when we closed and no one was in there] but we opened the door and he was just passed out sitting on the toilet, fully clothed, just asleep. He had been at the bar earlier because we all recognized him but we couldn’t figure out how he got back in.

Q: How often do you have to kick people out and what is your craziest kick-out story?
A: At the bar I used to work at it was fairly common to the extent that we would probably have to eject six or seven people a night. At the current bar it’s more like one or two people a week. It also depends on the week.
At the previous bar, we had one young gentleman who was very tiny and very slippery somehow, to the point where none of us could get a hold of him. It was at the point where words were no longer working for this young man so we were trying to grab him and carry him out and he kept slipping out from everyone’s arms. It took us a long time to get a hold of him. It was ridiculous.
Also at the previous bar, we had to expel two people for having sex in the middle of the dance floor. The next day I was in the SUB with my friend and she said hello to someone. I looked up and it was the gentleman from the night before. We avoided eye contact after that.

Q: What is more common than people think?
A: Probably the door staff and the bar staff getting hit on an exceptional amount. Pretty much every shift you work you can look forward to someone deciding to flirt with you. It usually ends with us telling them to have a good night … It’s a matter of, you would never attempt to do anything with someone who was intoxicated when you’re sober and your job is to make these people feel safe.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: Probably dealing with the things I have no control over, either at the front door with like the amount of cover or someone being asked to leave by someone else. Everybody always wants to know why and there’s honestly nothing I can do at it that point. It’s out of my control … I then have to attempt to explain to this belligerent person that I have no control over what’s happening to them and its only my job to make sure they don’t come back … I sit there and become the whipping boy. Be kind to your bouncers.

Q: What is the dumbest/funniest thing you’ve seen an intoxicated person do?
A: I witnessed a person in a banana costume fall down the stairs. I ran over and as soon as I saw they were okay I just started to laugh. Since it was Halloween, one of their friends – who was a paramedic and happened to be dressed up as a Na’vi from Avatar – rushed over and said “I got this.” Of course that just made the situation all the more ridiculous. Halloween is always amusing to say the least.

Q: How often do you clean up vomit and where is the worst place you’ve had to do it?
A: Usually we’ll have to clean up vomit maybe once a week. It’s not that common … the [worst place] was on the door of the bathroom. They were so close.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: Meeting people … It’s part of the job to make people feel safe, secure, happy to be where they are. So part of the job is meeting people and getting to know them and letting them get to know you … Everyone always has interesting stories, even people that are exceptionally drunk.

Q: If you could send one message to all the future potential clients at your bar, what would it be?
A: Not that any of you will remember it when you’re drunk enough to be there, but … we are there just as much as you are to have fun. We’re there to make sure you have a safe time, everyone has fun, that everyone wants to come back. So we’re just doing our job and it helps a lot when people respect that.

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