Last month, on an almost perfect autumn day in New England, a crowd of people arrived at the Stone Cow Brewery in Barra, Massachusetts. Stone Cow is based on a dairy farm and is known for its well-balanced grill kitchen, which brought its customers home long before the brewery was established on site.
But it was that weekend that a series of bad customer contacts led brewer and owner Sean Dubois to Instagram to ask for the property. After the customer started arguing about waiting times in the kitchen and the rules for staying at the table while eating and drinking, Dubois posted a black and white photo of his employees wearing masks with tired and excited eyes.
Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. that… that’s enough! Read Dubois’ signature. If you want to be a complete idiot… Stay home… we don’t even want your case! We have so many customers who love us, and we want YOU! We’re real people… …and so are you… Let’s do it again.
It is as if they have forgotten that we are real people with real feelings, and that they have forgotten their manners and behaviour in public. -Cow of Shan Dubois Brewery
Mr Dubois said that 99% of visitors were fantastic and had not complained about the security rules related to the new coronavirus pandemic, but the 1% who did not care about the rules or who was angry with the rules was very difficult to deal with. They were too rude and when they explode, they seem to go after our employees here in the brewery, as if it’s no good at all.
It is as if they have forgotten that we are real people with real feelings, and that they have forgotten their manners and behaviour in public.
Server at Stone Cowid wearing masks to prevent spread of Cowid-19 / Photo by Shane Stevens
As the pandemic affected people’s lives, breweries across the country have made efforts to adapt to an environment where the lights don’t go out, taps leak and staff and customers are safe. Most guests respect the rules, but those who refuse to influence the hotel staff are already afraid of regulatory changes, safety issues and, in many cases, reduced working hours and wages.
There are a lot of horror stories. At the Fifth Hammer in Queens, New York, a customer refused to drink beer according to state rules or to wear a mask while standing, remembers co-owner Mary Isett. This man left home and left friends instead of following the rules.
Another boss of the Fifth Hammer was so enthusiastic about the medical regulations that he wished Covida-19 and his bartender dead before he stormed the brewery stand, says Isett.
Employees of the Funky Picnic Brewery and Cafe in Fort Worth, Texas, store a box of paper masks at the entrance and sell them for $1 to any visitor who intentionally or unintentionally forgets to bring his or her own mask. Eyes are rolled and growled here, and some customers call employees cowards, says co-founder Collin Zreet. However, the biggest concern is for people who refuse to leave their contact details when the brewery registers a Covid 19 flash.
In San Diego, a customer of the Kairoa brewery refused to wear a mask when he went from the table to the toilet, as required by the government. Instead, he closed the $214 note without leaving a tip and left a mocking message for his waiter.
Of course, not everything’s bad. Breweries say that some customers give generous tips, take beer from their own hiding place to share with others, and also leave notes or comments online, praising staff for their mercy under pressure.
Eyes roll and growl, and some customers call Stackers cowards. “
Mr. Dubois feels that the stress of the past seven months has affected everyone. The same day, the customer scolded the staff about the waiting time for the pizza, another customer threw away the dirty plates hysterically.
We have tried to explain that we do not leave the tables of the bus before the customers have left, so that the plates left behind can indicate that the table needs to be cleaned and well disinfected for the next customers, which is another level of government, Mr Dubois explains. This man didn’t want to hear it, so he threw his cheese slate on the floor and watched my 18-year-old employee clean up a mess he’d made out of anger.
Such behaviour is offensive, Mr. Dubois adds, and anyone who can do it should probably tell him to go home.
We really don’t want people like that coming to our brewery if they want to do something like that. We will give up their business and put our energy into serving those who understand and are good, he said.
We know times have been difficult in Covida, but there is no excuse for rudeness.