It’s not just for coats…

Most people come to coat check to check their coats, but did you know that coat check can store other items as well.
At least 1-2 times a shift I always get asked . ” Do you take bags?” and the answer is YES! As of late I have been seeing other items being checked in.
Bags, Luggage, Backpacks, and shoes.
Depending on how the coat check is styled out, most coat checks will have an area to put items that cannot be hung. The few coat checks that I work in have built in shelf cubbies.
These cubbies are outfitted against the wall. When a hanger is not tough enough, or the item is way too heavy for a hanger I utilize the cubby. The cubbies are a perfect place for someone checking in multiple items,
a group of friends that have multiple items. Any med to large purse will be well kept for the night.
 I did work a few shows that started early and people where coming from work. So I was checking in laptop bags, backpacks.
Other necessary oddities that patrons bring are signs that are made by fans, gift bags for birthday parties, skateboards, canes, bike wheels, motorcycle helmets, and merch bought from the band.
A coat check should always take the items you want to check in. If you are unsure just ask.
And remember the larger or heavier the item, you should definitely leave a tip for your coat checker after all they are not the TSA, but you will definitely be hands free for the night, and you don’t have to worry about misplacing or getting your stuff stolen.

Until next time,

LGOYW

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Wire Hangers the drama!

The coat check would not be a coat check without the number one tool needed and that is this week’s spotlight the ” Wire Hanger” and the many uses. I have a dark hanger story to share, especially on this Easter Day Blog.
I was thinking of different topics to blog about and I had a childhood memory surface; kinda crazy and haphazard but it got me thinking.
I must have been a preteen in the mid eighties, and my mom had her own chair at a local beauty parlor. The day had been steady with people coming and going, and towards the end of the day about 15 minutes till closing time, this crazy meth head creep walks in and all the ladies in the shop were startled, and thank God that the owners husband was in the back.

Now, that I am an adult.. and hindsight is 20/20; the dude was obviously on drugs.

But, he comes in the shop walking fast and was like..”Do you have a  wire hanger?” I locked my keys in my car? and the shop keeper ended up having a wire hanger visible on a tv, and just gave him another one.  I just remembered that he was given a wire hanger and right in the middle of this small shop he unravelled it so fast and straightened it, it got all the ladies really upset and scared. I was freaked out, and there was this uncomfortable vibe, I got up and  told my mom I was going next door. The shop owners husband came out from the back and was watching the dude but it got all the people in the shop freaked out. It was 3 beauticians, cleaning up shop for the night.
Later on my mom was like it was good you made a move to leave it cut through the weirdness. I told her that I was freaked out and thought something was going to happen. She shared the same thought. I was sure relieved that nothing happened that would have been crazy. ” Hair salon” held up by Meth freak with a wire hanger”
The memory of a wire hanger is this story for me.. followed by the famous line from Mommy Dearest ” No Wire Hangers”

However in thing of the uses a wire hangers has there are many possibilities
giving a whoopin’, using the length to reach something in a tight area, jimmying a car to unlock it, freakin’ people out, creating some type of wire art, I have seen people make wire street art.

I only see wire hangers these days when dry cleaning is involved. I guess there is a place for wire hangers still. Some wire hangers have made it into my coat check, but we really don’t use them. Usually, they are what catering companies use to bring in large table clothes or uniforms that get left behind.
The main reason why I don’t use them is that they buckle under pressure of larger coats.

 

This week was so kick ass in terms of concerts

Willie Nelson.. new CD out Roll me up and Smoke me when I die

Queens of the Stone Age.. On tour now with new CD

Motorhead.. OMG this show blew my mind! I am still freaking out on the 10 minute drum solo.. Micky D!

 

Wire hangers.. who knew they were so dramatic!

Until Next time,

LGOYW

 

 

$2 for Peace of Mind

For as long as I have done coat check, it’s not only the coats that get checked in. People will bring other things to the coat check just to be hands free.
Hence, this weeks blog of bags, and boards.
Bags are the #2 mostly checked item. The first question I get from a person who wants to check in a bag is. “Do you take bags/purses?” The answer to that is YES!
If it’s tag able, it’s checkable!  I have seen it all from the mini sized bag to an enormous camper’s backpack., and everything in between.
There are plus points to checking in your bag. First off, the cost is the same of checking coat. This gives the patron a place to put their top layer if it fits in the bag. A lot of people do this, that way you are only paying for signal coat check ticket. ( Remember) to take everything that you will need! This is because if you show up to the window and ask for your bag again because you forgot your lipgloss or credit card, you will have to recheck your item.
Now, I get it your probably not digging the idea of a repull, but there is a method to this madness. When a show is busy and/or sold out, you can only imagine that the coat check will absorb. Out of 600 patrons at a show, out of those 600 I will check between 80-200 coats/bags or more. And when a patron comes, and wants one or a few items from their bag, the coat checker must retrieve the bag and issue back to the customer.
A few factors come into play here:  
#1 By the time you find what you are looking for, the coat checker is already on another claim number to be issued in the proper numerical sequence. It may not be hitting home from the customer’s point of view but, consecutive numerical order is important to the coat checker because everything needs to be in a numerical sequence that is how we find your items.
By doing a repull, the order of how we have coats hung and put away gets altered and this can really effect the big line at the end for pickup. Especially, if there is a large attendance number.
#2 Is there a line behind this customer who just wants lone thing? If there is a line, the coat checker has to keep it moving and cannot wait for you to dig through your purse with 20 people standing behind you. Really~
#3 Lastly, asking for a repull to put more items in your bag because your friend got there late, will be considered an automatic repull. I have run into this on occasion. And it’s usually,  patrons who don’t usually use coat check and don’t know what the rules, or are doing this on purpose, because they are cheap ,and trying to be coy to the coat check signs that post the cost. Note: To the people who do this… As a coat checker I am right in front of you,  and I see what you are doing, you want to avoid paying again. Duh! I wasn’t born yesterday. These special people automatically crown themselves as douches, and trust me it’s a guaranteed repull fee.

Boards.. Skate boards that is.. Short, Long, Retro. It’s a common club policy to be escorted by club security to the coat check because skateboards are not allowed on the floor or in the main areas when a show is happening.
-it’s dark and sometimes you can’t really see the floor
-someone who is drunk may try to ride the skateboard and that is a big accident
-if there is a bar fight, you don’t want a skateboard lying around because it can be used to inflict injury
-if you leave it in the corner unattended someone could steal it, and that would suck

Do yourself the biggest favor just pay the nominal $2 and have peace of mind for the entire night.
Coat checks are different all over and have different rules, just talk to your coat check person upfront and ask about repulls, and what their policy is on repulls. They may be cool enough to do it once for you but don’t assume you can keep showing up multiple times during the night to reapply your lipstick.
And with all these requests, leave tips it shows gratuity and that you actually know your coat check P’s and Q’s.

Until Next Time,
LGOYW

First Time

I was thinking about the stuff I did in my teens and my early 20’s, and life just seemed to have picked up at around the age of 15 for me. That was because I knew that I was going be able to find  a new sense of freedom, getting a license and getting a car.
My earliest night club memories were at an under age club you had to be 16 to get in. It was called the Amazon in Sacramento I think it was around 1992ish. We would hit up some club nights on a Friday or Saturday night and attended their Goth night where you’d hear Souxsie and The Banshees, The Cure, Morrissey, KMFDM etc. we be hopped up on sodas and dance until 1am.
Fast Forward … I think my first official coat check was at a rave. in the early 1990’s; I don’t remember the particulars of the party but what I do remember is that there was a make shift area in a giant warehouse that smelled like Nag Champa, and a girl with red curly hair with a big hat that covered her red curls. She was checking coats, bags, and whatever else. I think coat check was about $5.  I paid her my $5, and there went my bag that I didn’t want to deal with.  I did get a claim number.  I did have a couple of questions, Thankfully, I ran into another person and got the skinny. But, like every newbie I did go through the usual questions: Will my bag be safe? Is this person going to be here all night? What happens if …. ?
But in these situations, you learn quick and get back to the dance floor.
Back in the day if you forgot something in your pockets or bag, that was considered a REPULL and you’d just had to repay for it, unless you had the hookup. I guess what I am trying to convey is that when I was with my friends the experience of going out was not only for entertainment, but it also taught me some “going out” skills. I was so lucky to have moved into a household with people who were at least 3-5 years older than me, and to have an older group of friends. I was the baby in the group, and just hanging out with them I learned my social etiquette. I learned how to go out. Which means learning the process of how to order a drink at the bar, how to check my coat in coat check, and how to leave tips.

This week in coat check sparked my trip down memory lane, because I did have a couple of first time coat check patrons. They were super nice people, and what was really cool was they let me know that this was their first experience doing coat check. I could tell they were curious, and attentive and wanted to know the deal.
I gave them a quick recap of how coat check works. I went through the entire process with them. It was really a reciprocal moment. I was so glad to inform them, and give them a base experience. Basically adding to their knowledge of going out, and introducing them to the world of coat check. In the big picture of things it was a quality moment for patron and coat checker.
Working in coat check, I do notice there is a disconnect these days when people go out. It seems like everyone is having a first time (constantly) .. or has not been clued in on how to do something properly. My suggestion is:  Ask your questions, with a smile.

I was so truly lucky to have experienced so many life lessons and memories with quality people who taught me how to go out. This weeks blog is dedicated to the shared experience and making memories.

 

“There is a first time for everything; a life moment that you will remember and pass on.
Some moments are much more larger than others,no doubt some are so micro mini that you may dismiss them, hold on to the quality of the feeling and pass it on. ” ~S

Until next time,
LGOYW

 

Upside Down/ Inside Out

Upside Down/ Inside Out

I was thinking of what to blog about this week, and as I was working a coat had come to coat check by it’s owner upside down and inside out.
And, right then and there I thought to myself this is was going to be the Upside down/inside out blog.
For whatever reason(s) and there are probably many, people giving up their coats always put their personal instructions when they submit them or questions.
Then there are the ones who just have to get out of their coat who come up to you and have not shed it from their bodies yet.
I find that 2 out of 20 people hand in their coats this way.
It’s the insta strip, the attempt to grab the necessities from the pockets. This is done in such a hurry the the coat check person will get the coat upside down and
definitely inside out. People! I am speaking for myself This is sooooo annoying. My personal philosophy is that if you had me your coat that way then, I’m going to hang it that way. And sometimes I do.
Why is this such an annoyance? Well, the next step in the process is the hanging part. First off, the last thing any coat checker wants to do is turn your coat to the right side it should be hanging. We don’t know you. and don’t want to experience your personal parts of your coat especially when you have just removed it from your person.
Your dealing with a whole lot of factors here: body heat, smell (which is another blog to itself), and let me be super blunt. It just feels GROSS to rearrange and pull out a sleeve especially when the patron doesn’t have the best hygiene and you just know it.
Oh patrons… don’t be fooled we will take your coat and check it for a price.. but you will leave a coat checker with a lasting impression. And whatever that impression is trust me it’s not going to be favorable.
It doesn’t take very long for you to submit your coat the right side up. I imagine at the most 15 seconds. 15 seconds to do something the RIGHT way. I wonder if it takes that long to do anything the right way or at least start the process. People, I implore you take the extra time for yourself. It builds character and will not make your label yourself unnecessarily; you know your the person at the party with the lampshade on their head.
It’s another lesson to the beat of a cool song. Something sassy and constructive.
At the same time I could hear Diana Ross in the background singing her famous hit too.

Music Wise This week was really fun.

Carcass is on tour check it out! They have a new release out 2014 haven’t done one since 1996, so you metal heads GO!

Rockets from The Crypt had a really fun show too rocked peoples face off!

And Crosses actually the band has the symbol for their name, look it up.

Until Next Time,

LGOYW

 

Between Coat Checkers

It’s always interesting to meet people, especially if they share a commonality with you like a job. In the past few months I have been running into others
that work in the world of coat check. Other coat checkers out in the vast sea of clubs and parties. And having a conversation with them is always so engaging and such a great pow wow. Conversations of coat check are some of the most entertaining ones you’ll ever hear. There is the collective thought of the whole process, the discussions about the personalities that pop up. The sharing of how I run my coat check….there is the affirmation of Yes! I have experienced that.
This is totally relatable; imagine when you are out, and you happen to find out what someone does for a living and you have the same job. It’s the recognition and you saying hey I do that too where at…? It then is a personal connection and a sense of camaraderie a conversation that quickly evolves from topic to topic.  It’s totally exciting, and just another slice of life moment.

And I am PROUD to announce that I am branching out people! and really excited. In the next few weeks I CHECK MY COAT is going to be audible.
I am proud to announce an audible Interviews. A new component to my blog: CHECK MY COAT
I am going to be interviewing my fellow coat checkers.  Which will be a coat check series of interviews by sought out coat checkers – ( I have been connected with, who have been there working while history was going down)  It will be an adventure and totally entertaining.
And trust me that is just the tip of the ice berg. I got big plans in the up and coming Blogs to come and can’t wait for you to hear them
I would also like to say thanks to all the people who have subscribed to this blog and have told their friends.

Till Next Week,
LGOYB

YOUTUBE VIDEO CREDIT : PAPERGIRL

 

Personality+

This weeks blog is dedicated to those big personalities that an entrance.

It’s takes the right combination but there are some shows that just bring out the best personalities.

There are those moments where you get that special personality that leaves a great impression. Like on a recent coat check night, I happened to be working, I had the most charismatic person come to check in their coat.

First off I was totally caught off guard, and then at the same time was suddenly feeling like I was at a comedy show. It happened to be this young guy in his mid twenties, and obviously he knows how to use the coat check.

He proceeded to say that he was an avid coat checker when he goes out and that he was not prepared because he had some stuff in his pockets he needed. Nobody was in line behind him so no rush. He proceed to bust out this jargon you’d here a magician say.

In this pocket I have my ……. , and then he started to unzip his jacket and turned shyly and was like now this is not for the kids to see. By this point I was like cracking up and to myself was is this person a performer. Regardless, I was totally entertained.  You never know who is going to walk up and drop off a coat.

And there were some other personalities that night that were really stellar too..  just people asking how I was doing? being really genuine and grateful. I even had one guy bow when he picked up his coat. It was one of those nights where the personalities made the night a memorable one.

And this week is St. Patrick’s Day weekend. I want to wish everyone a memorable St. Patrick’s Day, have a great time and be safe out there. Forget about your worries this is the perfect weekend and holiday night to really use the coat check and cabs and car services.

Smile! Charm! Love!

Late Night Lines

Late Night Lines? What kind of lines… I can just imagine it now the concept running through your neurotic minds. Let’s scale this all back and go simple.
Or … if your reading my blog then of course I am referring to the COAT CHECK LINE.
Yes, another line you can add to the lines that you will wait in your life time.

How long does the average American spend in their lifetime waiting in lines?
Answer:
The average person spends approximately an hour a day waiting in line, which totals to about 2 to 3 years in a lifetime.
YIKES…!
Yes I did throw that internet crazy statistic at you all.

So there are a few factors to you being in a long line at the end of the night.

Blame the band or show… yes the popularity of the band/ show that night is so bomb that everyone and their mama showed up with a coat. That is a good thing you can then throw out other connecting lines to the people in front or in back of you. And make some friends get some numbers… don’t be shy.
You decided to do the whole show with the encore..  for those who stay and stand in line with a great attitude I salute you. You SHOULD enjoy the whole show, after all you paid for it. And if its a band or something that you have wanted to see for a long time then screw your companion or friends they want to leave early.. Let them stand in line alone and get their shit. It’s funny to me that the individuals who require a companion or need groupage.. (a new word) can’t do anything alone. “What will happen to me if I wait in the coat check line by myself?”  My advice is just don’t take a drink from a stranger that looks douchy. This year I am telling people to DO YOU!  Enjoy yourself because you work hard and you gotta play hard.
You are in Line because you are not a line cutter 
You got caught trying to go right to the front and the coat checker told you that there is a line and you have to get into it before they get you your coat. The checker or security guard is just regulating and being fair. FAIR..? Yes, FAIR. Is there such a thing to the line cutters of America?, ( No ) but to the rest of us people we have to acknowledge and be grateful that the coat checker/ security has our back. It’s really messed up to see a person just cut or expect to cut when you have been putting your time in. I am a Portlandia Fan and there is a funny episode that totally goes there and here is the link http://www.ifc.com/portlandia/videos/portlandia-brunch-village .. it’s Season 2 Ep. 10 you have to watch the whole thing. I tried to find the clip to show you all but no dice so DIY it. It’s so worth it.
You are the friend who see’s your friend inline and does the line cutter roll- up. This is no better. These types of people both suck. Here is my advice… ASK! ask the people behind you if you can cut. Plead your line cutter case.. if it’s an honest one then people will usually be okay with it. Like, my friend is hella drunk and just puked.. do you all mind if I can go ahead of you? Conversation heals the nation.. WERD!
You are in line and at the very end because YOU LOST YOUR ticket. And yes, you are the special person that must wait to the very end or when there is no one in line to retrieve your item. Don’t expect the coat check person to go through every coat to find yours. When there are about 100 people behind you. You know you should have been a lot more clever and more attentive to where your ticket has been. Chalk this line up to a LIFE LESSON. Or heads up I’m not all there when I party so I’ll be smart and take a picture of it on my phone.  And, if you are told to get into the back of the line, don’t bitch. Yes, you maybe upset but take that verbal spew cuss words and use them on yourself. Nothing like the drunk/semi drunk/ entitled spiel: it’s the black one, the one that has the rip in the pocket, do you know who I am, don’t you remember me, I tipped already.. blah, blah, blah. People: that does nothing except make you look like an ASSHOLE. Take it down a 1000 and just be chill.
Magic of the line
And let’s end on a positive line experience, you never know who will cross your path. It could be someone from the band since you had to pick up your coat last. You may have that fate encounter with that special person. The universe puts you in the situations that you are supposed to be in, so use the force. Good things come to those who wait.
Until next time..

LGOYW

PreProduction is where it’s at

Now the video above is the perfect introduction to this week’s coat check blog.. PreProduction or being PREPARED is where it’s at.

It’s pretty common knowledge that the more prepared one is the better the outcome/ success of any job is more of a likelihood.
Usually when I prepare for a shift in the coat check I go through my own personal prep, and then once I am in the venue I go through another prep of my coat check.
Since I most of my shifts tend to be at night and start around 7pm, my day prep is key. Here are just a few..

I revert to my usual necessities:
to be well rested : Sleep and rest is key with odd night hours and day hours it’s important to get your ZZZzzzs, or if you can’t sleep take short naps. I find I usually respond to a nap before I go to work so I’ll take an afternoon snooze I usually try to nap for 20-30 mins.
I try and do a mental rest too, what that means to me is doing other things that add to my quality of life. Like getting a massage or my nails done.

-make sure I have the right balance of food and that I have hit the gym : This is so important. You need to be feeling good and not stiff. You can’t stretch enough and doing some cardio and some weights or going outside for a walk for peace of mind is the best thing you can do for yourself everyday. You don’t have to do a lot to make yourself feel good.. 20-30 mins will get you going.
I tend to make sure I have something to eat at least an hour before I get to the venue, what I have been really into lately is having a power meal with the food that won’t make you feel like a sluggish. And I have been into juicing so I have been powering up with all kinds of concoctions but always making sure to put some ginger in that batch that is the key to energy city for me.

make sure I get my outfit together : I tend to have a busy schedule and sometimes I don’t have the energy to prepare but I always do have an idea of what pieces go together, plus what is cool is that I can always count on wearing the hoodie that has the venue logo. Making sure that I personally have black liquid eyeliner , it seems to be my go to cosmetic item I use the most is in my makeup arsenal.  For more formal events that does require a 24 hour prep schedule. Most private events want you to wear a certain color; usually black. And there is formal black and casual black.

Have somewhat of an idea of the show/event I am working. As a rule of thumb this is really important you want to know what band/artist/event/show etc. you are working. This will give you a sense of the crowd. Also you do want to check out youtube or their personal website to hear what they sound like. Believe me the audience is so different in so many ways, mainly what kind of attire does this crowd tend to  identify with. For example, you work a Reggae show. Now this crowd tends to favor having backpacks, oversized sweatshirts, coats, and will have all kinds of trinkets in their pockets. It’s an extremely positive friendly crowd but can be forgetful.When your dealing with the Country music crowd; the outfits change and you will definitely see a lot of vintage coats, vests, cowboy hats, leather pieces, denim, gloves. This crowd is a great crowd, they like to have a few drinks too so they end up being friendly/ sloppy which is great for the tips.
Also, you want to have an idea of the band’s top hit a least if you engage in a conversation about the band and you can be honest and say, I did check out their video can’t wait to see them live. Or think to yourself I heard this song online and it’s the hit so maybe you can gage how their set is going. Lastly, it helps because you do know enough and be social and that just adds to your knowledge, and your attitude about the show. And attitude is what’s going to fill that tip jar. We all have our off nights, but seriously you don’t want to be a bitchy coat checker people can pick up on that so if your in a mood change that tude! and practice smiling it’s good for your face and your tude, and chatting someone else up usually does the trick. After all folks we are social beings..we need to interact. Also a good work trick is to put oneself in work mode and get the job done, and most of the time people just want to be acknowledged, so greetings, compliments, and conversation totally make or break your night. After all working in the coat check is a SUPER social job, and the energy to output is what makes people respond. Finish your shift! and Finish Strong and with Tips!
And Last but not least, talking with your  house manager or the box office is key as well. You always want to ask about how the show/event was selling and what the expected attendance will be. That way you can do some quick thinking and set up all your hangers and racks and guesstimate what you may be checking. Be smart and work efficiently.

There will be a Part II of this Blog on Pre-Production, until next time.
LGOYW