Exposed in the cold: the real reason we suffer

(Graphic by Lena Yang)

(Graphic by Lena Yang)

The Sunday before classes started, I was one of the brave souls who stood in line to get into Phil’s Grandson’s nightclub in Waterloo.  My friends and I arrived and had to wait an hour in the snow. Despite the cold, we still waited in the long line. I was equipped with the necessities: winter coat, mittens and covered shoes, yet I still found myself complaining as my toes went numb. Looking around, I seemed to be one of the most sensible girls in line.

There were girls who were wearing light jackets, and some who weren’t wearing jackets at all. I didn’t get it at first. Coat check at Phil’s is only $1.50. It wasn’t until the end of the night, when I waited another hour in the coat check line, with strangers breathing down my neck, that I understood why some people choose not to bring coats to the bar. And that’s when it became clear that going to the bar in the winter really and truly does suck.

Coat check has to be one of the worst systems and it seems that no bar can get it right or meet the standard that will please everyone.  By the end of the night, you will either lose your coat check ticket and will not be able to get your coat back, or the price of coat check is almost as much as a drink.  In cold weather, the line up is always long, and if for some reason you need to make a mad dash out at the end of the night, good luck, because the line is just as long to get your coat back.Hannah Robinson, a second-year sociology student explained that the coat check makes her paranoid.

“There’s just always that chance you won’t get your coat back,” Robinson said. “I feel like I can’t trust a random person with my good winter coat.”

Vivian Phillips, a second-year communications student at Laurier, expressed similar concerns regarding coat check and the fear of the jacket being stolen or misplaced.  “I would never wear my good coat to the bar, so I wear a cheap one that I don’t care about,” Phillips explained. “It isn’t warm, but it doesn’t matter if anything happens to it.”

For people who only have one good winter coat, having it disappear, or get damaged is definitely not ideal.  For Alex Wilson, a second-year BBA student at Wilfrid Laurier, unfortunately this was a reality after her Canada Goose jacket was recently stolen from The Fox and the Fiddle. “I just find that it’s frustrating that The Fox doesn’t have coat check at all, so either you go out and freeze, or you lose a jacket. Either way it’s a lose-lose situation,” Wilson said.

Ultimately, bars in Waterloo need to re-think their coat check system. Lacking coat check or traditional coat check just isn’t cutting it. Pearl Nightclub has lockers that you can share with your friends instead of a conventional coat check system. Recently, my friends and I were able to shove four coats in one locker for less than a dollar.  In instances like that, I don’t mind bringing a coat with me.

For places like Phil’s or Dallas, however, not bringing a coat, although no one enjoys hypothermia, seems justifiable.  So if you’re a regular bar star and you’re tired of having purple fingers and toes while waiting in lineups, invest in a cheap coat and protect your good one in the event that it gets misplaced.  In the event that it does get stolen, at least it won’t be a coat of significant value.

As for that dreaded coat check lineup that you will inevitably have to face, make sure to buy a cheap drink before getting in line. Really, it helps.

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