The Triumphant Return

It isn’t often you hear applause and cheering in a bridge club, but that’s what happened when Gail returned today after her two week suspension.

Gail  was suspended for having the temerity to speak up when the director began haranguing the players for “abusing the privilege” of being guests and not properly cleaning the club after the game. When I directed games, cleaning up was the responsibility of the directing staff, which included collecting and washing the ash trays.  The computer already does the scoring; if the players are required to clean the facility the director won’t have anything to do except recite the five options for a lead out of turn.

Gail rightly pointed out that we aren’t “guests”, we are paying customers, and cleaning up is not our job. She forgot to point out that we entertain frequently and have never, not once,  even thought of asking our genuine (not paying) guests clean up.  I think it unlikely that the next time I buy a shirt at Nordstrom they will ask me to vacuum the fitting room when I’m finished, either.

Nominally, Gail was suspended for a Zero Tolerance violation of embarrassing and humiliating the director.   I should think that the club management who put him up to addressing the clientele so rudely was the real cause of the embarrassment.

I am surprised at how many people have told us both that they were thinking the same things as Gail was saying.  Gail is just a trifle more willing to speak up than most.  Nobody likes to be talked down to, nobody likes to be hectored and insulted, nobody likes to be accused of being a poor guest, decidedly so if they aren’t a guest in the first place.

Playing today against one of the nicest women in the universe, she told me of bringing some tasty goodies to the club, only to be rudely told not to bring them again because they made too many crumbs.  We won’t be getting any more goodies from her, that’s clear.

Here’s the good news:  when the director made his last round announcements today, there was no mention at all of picking up, tidying, pushing chairs in or stacking the equipment.  Perhaps this incident has brought about a change of attitude in club management.  We can only hope.

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3 thoughts on “The Triumphant Return

  1. At the local unit game (the only club I play in), we do ask people to fold up their bidding boxes, and there are some volunteers who help with clean up, so that the caddies can do the big stuff of putting things away. I don’t mind the request, but there is no hectoring. At the sectional, of which I’m the chair for the moment, though done after our August sectional, I ask people to stay after, and give them a free play in return. I always have more volunteers than I need, including many who help even if I already have what I need and can’t give them a free play.

    I don’t think it’s wrong to ask bridge players to help with that. Yes, being a jerk is out of place, but a polite request is fine. And some, though not all, bridge players are pigs. I am routinely astonished. No, you don’t ask your guests to help you clean, but I’ll wager that if your guests drop a slice of pizza on the floor, they don’t just put the paper plate upside down to cover it so that others can mash it into the floor. I’ve seen that at tournaments.

    Again, many directors are jerks, perhaps including this one. And a suspension for speaking up would not have meant my triumphant return two weeks later, but rather my never playing at that particular club again. But I do get the frustration on the part of the directors.

  2. At our club in Santa Cruz the Board has a running request that players pick up after themselves and push in chairs. As Ron Zucker points out, many fail to do that. Although some players are thoughtless pigs, a simple request should be enough. Badgering or belittling paying players is, indeed, inappropriate. On all counts I agree with Ron. (Open toga here, I am Gail’s sister.

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