Monday, November 17, 2008

Jacket Fillers

In certain teams you get settled staff. 6 of the same 8 people, week in week out. Someone doesn't work sundays and someone only does the Fridays and Saturdays. You get settled into a routine and you know how each other works. Everyone on the team may not be the best at everything but you work around that and use each ones' skills to the best advantage in the team.
In some places with an unsettled team or just a bigger team you get to rely on jacket fillers more and more. When one of the team has a stag do and all but 3 of the team go away for the full weekend, you're left with a very ropey looking gaggle of muppets and a full venue of the usual scrotes to keep in drink and out of trouble.

You phone the company bosses and beg for a couple more than you really need. This gets you on paper one more than you really need. In reality it leaves you about 3 short. Some folks you may have worked with before and you'll know what they're up to. Not all good, not all bad but it gives you some idea of where you're going to put them and how close you have to keep them. Then you'll get the randoms. You have to size them up in 30 seconds, give them the walk 'round before doors open and stick them somewhere and hope they stick. You never know. I've had randoms turn up and be top flight drunk spotters and trouble solvers. The kind you'd want back if you can get hold of them.

Then you get those with no clue. Sleeping in the staff room toilets, texting a good four fifths of the shift or just chatting with new ladies in a new town who don't know to avoid the filth ridden loins of the doorwhore from out of town.

I have places to put folks who I don't trust. We've a wonderful well lit, tedious smoking area to monitor, usually taken in turns by the regular team but perfect for a new muppet. We also have front of house watching the punters pay their way in and stamp them out. Well covered by camera, nowhere to wander off to and within shouting distance of my cold front doorstep.

It's not fool-proof, especially when you get some serious fools. Some are better off being told "to wander 'round, look busy and not stop walking". They may be chocolate fireguards but the punters need never know.