Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bacon as currency

Yes my friend. Having worked in ski shops for the majority of winters I have been old enough to collect a pay check, bacon and beer are equal to or greater than common currency. Why? Because ski shop employees are notoriously underpaid. We are hungry and thirsty from spending our days turning dins, waxing skis and taking ski breaks. When you bring me a bloody mary garnished with shrimp and bacon in exchange for waxing your skis, not only will I not be taxed on it, I won't have to shell out the $6 I just spent the last hour working to earn for said bloody mary later.
We can't hook up everyone all the time, we will remember your good deed and repay you when we can. After having some awkward encounters recently I thought the general public could use a guide on how to get the occasional bro deal.
#1. Never speak of the bro deal. Tourists don't want to know that you just got for free what they just paid $40 for. And by the way my boss is standing right over there, reference to previous bro deals could result in a lengthy bakery talk ie me getting yelled at.
#2. If you have a pre arranged bro deal, for example you are a pro patroler and my shop as a rule gives you free tunes be sure to casually mention your career when you drop off your skis. There are a lot of ski patrolers out there and as much as I appreciate what you do, you are not as famous as you think you are. Also I feel like a real big jerk when I don't recognize you and the person who took in your skis didn't mark them paid because they didn't recognize you and I try to charge you only to find out you are not just any Dave, you are THAT Dave.
#3. Payment is due at the time of service. Stringing us along and promises of future beer will get you no where. Payment in advance is welcomed weather you bring in a 12 pack with the snowboard you just ran over a cheese grater or drop off a random pizza that your work just put the wrong toppings on, we will remember it.
#4. Do not get all huffy when I cannot pass along the bro deal to you on this occasion. Did I mention my boss is standing right there. Did I also mention we have yet to make a single sale today, I can't just give away demo skis. Getting huffy and causing a scene will not only result in your not getting the bro deal this time, it puts in jeapordy all future bro deals you may have received. Always be prepared with funds so you can buck up and pay as needed. By the way, that is the way most of the rest of the world does business.
#5. Figure out what your local shop employees like. There was a vicious rumor going around one ski town I worked in that because we were also a bike shop in the summer we must love fat tire. Everyone in the shop hated it. While we graciously accepted it and drank it, it was everyone's last choice. Locals could have saved alot of cash and made us way happier with PBR. The shop I work in now two of us are gluten intolerant so wine, hard cider and spirits are preferred.
#6. Get creative. We will remember your creativity and thoughtfulness and go above and beyond for you. You better believe the skis of the patroler who always brought hot pockets as a tip and the woman who would make us dank coffeecake for breakfast got bumped to the front of the tune line.
#7. Consider the actual dollar amount of the work you are having done when calculating exchange rates. While a six pack may be sufficient to cover an edge and wax, if your skis look like they have been shot up with a .22 I might suggest bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, a nice gluten free loaf and a bottle of patron.
#8. Establish a relationship with your local shop employees. Get to know us. Buy us a beer when you see us at apres. Talk to us, you may discover that you qualify for the our little brothers played on the same soccer team discount.
#9. Know your local shops policies. While both the shop I work in now and the previous shop I was in condone drinking towards the end of the work day not every shop does. I once spent a few moments fretting over having tipped the dudes at the local board shop a six pack of high life for holding the last ticket in existence for the 9pm TGR opening that night only to hear a rumor their shop owner wasn't down with liquid tips. I hope I didn't get them in trouble I quipped as I took another sip of beer. If it happens again I'll bake them cookies.
#10. Never speak of the bro deal. Ever. We have already covered that this is inappropriate shop talk. I just want to clarify that when I am at the bar or skiing, I am not at work. Well ok, since I do bartend two days a week, when I am at the bar sometimes I am at work, it is a different job and I still don't want to talk about base welding your skis. Nothing will alienate you faster than forcing me to talk shop off the clock. If I bring it up on my terms that is one thing. Don't make me mentally clock back in.
In general us ski shop folk really are cheerful people who do our jobs because we like to be on the mountain as many days as possible. That is just the thing, it is a job and we have to make money for the business. When you do get the occasional hook up, don't take it for granted. Don't expect it to be the norm. Smile inwardly and tip accordingly.

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