Feature - Surviving the high-season 

How customers can work with staff to create fun experiences for all involved.

By Kara-Leah Grant

’Tis the season to be jolly, but when you’re skiing all day, working all night and fitting the fun in around the edges, jolliness can melt as easily as spring snow.

But for Whistler’s frontline staff, maintaining a smiley exterior is just a part of the job, even when your customers seem to do absolutely everything they can to make that job as difficult as possible.

But remember, those guests are probably just as tired as the staff. They also skied all day, probably after partying all night. Since getting off the hill, they’ve most likely waited in line at the post office to send last minute Christmas cards, they’ve waited in line to buy groceries for pre-dinner cheeses, waited in line at the liquor store for wine to go with the cheese and they’ll definitely wait to get a table at almost any restaurant in the village when they head out for dinner.

After dinner, they’ll stand in the cold, waiting to get into a club, and once they get into the club, they have to wait to get a drink, wait for the bathrooms… wait, wait, wait. It’s enough to bring out the Grinch in the jolliest of people.

But before you feel too sorry for people here on vacation, celebrating Christmas and New Year’s in a virtual Winter Wonderland, remember, they’re not working Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day, or New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day. That’s reserved for Whistler’s worker bees (Thanks to Max for use of his trademarked phrase. The cheque’s in the mail. Or it would have been, if I could have made it past the post office line up.)

But, there is one ingredient which both sides can add to the mix, which guarantees to grease all transactions and ensure no nastiness erupts at the checkout, or in the taxi loop, or outside the club. Best of all, this ingredient costs nothing and it’s really, really easy. It’s simply called etiquette.

Defined as "the rules and conventions governing correct or polite behaviour in society in general or in a particular social or professional group or situation," etiquette is an old-fashioned sounding word but it’s a necessary component of modern life.

As a great man once said, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and we all like it when people show a little etiquette.

Jeff Cockle is the head doorman at Tommy Africa’s. He’s seen a lot of line-ups in his time, dealt with a lot of people, broken up a lot of fights. He exudes the calm exterior of a man who knows the best way to deal with people and that way is respect. Cockle believes the most important thing when working the door of any club is to treat all customers like you’re welcoming them into your home.

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