How To Use Venue Coat Checks Without Being a Douche
Ah, venue coat check. Utterly necessary if you want to stay comfortable at your gig of choice -- and totally undervalued by almost everyone. A few years ago, I worked coat check in Slim's. It was a wonderful venue to work at with a fantastic staff and a delicious kitchen, but being a coat check attendant there -- while fun on occasion -- provided me with an insight into humanity that I didn't necessarily need. Here's how to use coat check at a music venue without being a total douche (seriously, kids, it's not that hard).
Remember: Coat Check Attendants Are Not Idiots
Every so often at the coat check, guys in pastel-colored shirts show up with dates wearing diamonds and proceed to talk down to you, apparently to (A) make themselves feel more important, (B) impress their dates by demonstrating what a total douche they can be, and (C) try and reduce the insecurity they feel about the size of their penis. If you are that douche, please take note: coat check attendants aren't bums who dropped out of school and do this for a living. They're people who need to make some money on the side, probably while they're halfway through their astrophysics degree. Do not talk to them like they're five-year-olds with learning difficulties.
Taking a skateboard to a show seems like a bafflingly inconvenient decision as it is, but when you do that and the venue tells you that you have to put your deck in the coat check for safety reasons, it doesn't mean that the venue is going to pay for that. So when you get downstairs, with a beer in your hand, pass over your beloved wheels, and announce that you "have no money" (we can see the beer in your hand, dude!), it means that we don't really feel like taking care of your property. When you start talking about how un-punk rock having to pay is, coat check ears stop working. Just an FYI.
Do Not Ask for Help Getting Backstage
In Slim's, the coat check is in the basement. So are the backstage rooms. The two entities are separated from one another only by a heavy door that is clearly marked as being ALARMED. When you ask the person in coat check if this is true, they are going to point in the direction of the sign and nod sullenly because they are asked this nightly and it is beyond irritating at this point. So, consider this, young, overenthusiastic fan kids -- even if the coat check folk magically got you through that door, what would you do once you got to the other side, exactly? Watch the band eat and check their email, that's what. Now calm down, go back upstairs and watch the music.
Dear Hippies, Tipping Wouldn't Kill You
In a cruel twist, the shows that hippies attend also happen to the ones that go on for the longest. Since coat check folk are not usually paid hourly, jam band night is frequently a painful exercise. Add to that the fact that we don't make any money when no one is hanging anything up, and then consider the fact that hippies don't hang anything up (ever), and you've got a dire night all in all. Your rail stays empty and sad-looking as the be-dreadlocked masses simply tie all their clothing to themselves or their backpacks. On occasion, a backpack gets too heavy and they'll put that in coat check, but, just to add insult to injury, they usually give you exact change and then don't tip. You people are supposed to be about caring for your fellow man! A 50-cent tip would not upset the balance of the universe (neither would a dollar). Oh, and P.S., your backpack smells.
Stop Asking If Your Stuff Is Going To Be Alright
If we were the type of people that wanted to wreck your shit and go through your pockets, we'd probably also be willing to lie to you when you ask us seven times in three minutes if your stuff is going to be alright. What do you think we're going to do with it exactly? Here's a newsflash, fella, we don't think your coat is nearly as cool as you do. Plus, it's three sizes too big for us anyway, so why would we want to steal it? The only time it's okay to ask us this question is when you come back three hours later and you're so relieved to find your property intact, you leave a massive tip. A five dollar tip buys you the right to ask us 10 minutes of dumb questions, but otherwise there's no excuse.
When the Show Ends, Pick Up Your Jacket
Yes, yes, this one seems like common sense, doesn't it? Show's over! Nothing to see here! Go home! Pick up your crap from coat check on the way out! Not exactly rocket science, but not only do people leave things behind with alarming regularity -- like it's not cold every single night in San Francisco -- but there's also a special portion of the public who like to wander around in circles in the venue, as it empties, lingering like if they stay longer than everyone else, security will forget to kick them out and the bartenders will keep serving them. That's not how that works, drunkpants, and ignoring your jacket is preventing another human from going home. Quit being so selfish.