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Remarkable Stories from a Spanish Bar

For you to enjoy the unbelievable stories and unforgettable characters of a Spanish Bar! Some so outrageous that you couldn't make them up !

The joy of staff !
12 March 2013 @ 16:37



Here we are, it's started ! 
We are in, our feet are on the floor and we a running and falling, a lot !! 
Let me tell you a bit about our staff and how they have come to be with us and as time ticks on, how they do, how we rub along and the best way to go through a huge amount of different staff, in a short space of time ! 
In the four years we had the bar we managed to go through a Grand total of 14 different staff members, my god, counting them up is scary !! That's not including the extra help called in from time to time, when a big event was happening, or the amazing friends that jumped in when we were snowed under ! These were Fourteen people we employed to be mainly part time help, but on a long term basics !
The reasons they didn't stand the test of time are varied ! 
Sometimes we just didn't have the hours they wanted, some lied, some let us down big time! 
Others didn't want to the work, people's situation changed. Others just couldn't do the job !
I am embarrassed that we managed to get through so many staff members ! I like to think that I am a good boss and fair, but maybe I am deluded when you look at those sort of numbers. Maybe I just had to have the (not always pleasurable) experience of working with these people to grow as a person and learn more about me ! Yes, we'll go with that one !
Steve was the first one to bite the dust, this is his story and I know he will not mind me sharing it, as we are still on talking terms and have got over the problems we had all that time ago ! We can even manage to laugh about it now, but I really wasn't laughing at the time !
So Steve at this point in time four years ago when we opened the bar, was an eighteen year old, typical teenager ! He had been in Serón for about fours and was fluent in both Spanish and English, he needed a job, we needed help and were prepared to make allowances for the teenager ness !
It started well, he got on with translating for us with the suppliers and did most of the jobs we asked him to with a small amount of fuss !!
Then the bar opened and he had some sort of change ! He got complacent and starting acting like it was his business, not ours ! Okay not a huge problem, just explained that he needed to wind his neck in a bit and do it our way ! He spent a bit to much time talking and not working, but again this could be ironed out ! What was about to happen couldn't be ironed over !
To run a bar in Spain you need a few things in place, one of which is anyone touching food needs a health and hygiene certificate. Okay, not a big problem you do the one day course and take a test and bingo have the certificate. 
But of course it all in Spanish, so not that straight forward ! The decision was made for Mrs W, Steve and I to travel down to Vera about an hours drive, take the course and get the certificate.
Steve main function was to translate what we didn't understand, bad move !
It turns out that Steve is not great in a learning environment! 
We arrived, signed in, took our places and then spent the first two hours listening to the tutor speaking the fastest Spanish I have ever heard in my life, even to this day !
Steve had no chance of translating all of that, I am not stupid and within the first two minutes knew, that she didn't stop to draw breath, so he just wouldn't be able to translate. Okay I listened carefully, got as much as I could with my very limited Spanish, then he started, tapping, tapping, tapping ! I told him to stop, he was right next to me and I was trying, under very difficult circumstances to concentrate. 
The room was a theatre and we were seated a long way back, this was not a small course about 400 people from all sorts of businesses in the food industry, we were the only English that I saw !
The break came, I ran, I had to get away from Steve, i just had to ! I went outside, I couldn't trust myself to be near him, did he not understand, if I didn't get this certificate, we could be shut down at any point, it was that important !
We could fail before we started and I had to do all in my power to get that certificate !
Breathe, Breathe, Breathe ! I know most was not his fault, but the bloody tapping, he could control ! I explained as calmly as I could, that I knew he wouldn't be able to translate, so he had to pay attention, so when it was time to take the exam, he could at least help us to complete it. I thought that was fair enough and please stop tapping !!
Back in we go and what happens, tap, tap, tap,tap !! How I didn't smack him I will never know ! 
The exam approached, result, they had the test paper in English, the work book was in Spanish, but we might just get away with the common sense questions !
Luckily I knew a lot of the answers, I had working in catering a little in the UK, but some of the questions where history of the Spanish industry and Spanish protocol, I had no idea ! I asked our Spanish speaker what he thought the answers were !
"Don't know " what do you mean you don't know, did you not listen ! Where is it in the work book ? I found it, what does that mean ? "Don't know" if you look you might. I have no problem if someone doesn't know, but at least look !!
The three of us, sat trying to work out what was going on, no, that's not right, Mrs W and I tried to work out the answers, Steve had gone into his own little World ! Now I was really angry ! We had paid for the course and where paying him an hourly rate ! 
Results came in ! Please, please let at least me get enough to pass, remember this is a legal requirement in Spain ! 
I passed, I do not know how, but I passed ! So did Mrs W and by the skin of his teeth Steve ! The only Spanish speaker out of all of us, got the lowest mark ! My blood was boiling.
As we left, I walked ahead, trying to calm down. I had over an hour in the car with him !
We piled in, then he said something like, what's your problem we all passed !
Red rag to a bull, I went, I told him he had the attention span of a nat and he would never work for us again ! It was the attitude that got me, nothing else ! Mrs W is his Mum, how awful that I told him in front of her ! Sorry Steve for that but you have got the attention span of a nat !!
When we got back, he didn't have a job, although to his credit, he has since apologised to us and told me I was right to fire him ! Also to his credit he has grown up a lot and help us out on a few occasions, when we needed an extra hand !
Thanks Steve for my lesson in patients, not sure I past that test though !!
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eggcup said:
13 March 2013 @ 00:02

Hi Sam. I'm going to sound really old now (I'm not), but is there something about the youth of today? They maybe just can't concentrate after a million hours on their video games. Perhaps because they often get given money by their parents, they don't really have the work ethic? I think we've got problems brewing -all over the world, not just Spain or the UK. My mother had her first child at about 18, and while that's not such a good idea, you get the feeling that they were more mature then, and got on with it, learnt how to be 'adults' when they were quite young. I think that boys in particular these days seem quite young for their age. It's good that Steve is coming on more now. All the best.

Sam said:
13 March 2013 @ 08:44

Thank you eggcup, totally agree !
Like you, I am young, but it does seem that teenagers today are very different than the when I was a teenager in the late 80's !
They seem to loss the innocence earlier, but not grasp real life !
All we can do is try and help these teenagers be the best they can !
Thank you for your support x

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