Serving the drunks until the early morning


Many students find it necessary to have a part-time job during the semester to help them get through school.  Students find employment through the many local industries in Waterloo, from working on campus to working in the local restaurants.

Students often aim for part-time jobs that consist of serving food or drink; there is the opportunity to make great money and also work in a fun atmosphere. However, the most practical working conditions for students are most-likely within the large fast food industry.

Among many of the local fast food chains in Waterloo, several of them have realized the potential profits to be made among the weekend partygoers.  After an adventurous night out, students are often faced with the overwhelming challenge of deciding what would be the most satisfying meal.  The late night meal is an important event for the average drunkard. The choice between pizza, poutine, or even a sandwich can ultimately sway your satisfaction by the end of the night.

Most students are likely familiar with Smoke’s Poutinerie or Pizza Maniac as there traditional drunken food source, but among the restaurants that remain open until early Saturday and Sunday morning is Quick Sandwiches.

Johnny Robertson, an employee at Quick Sandwiches, often works past 3 a.m. on weekends serving students a healthy alternative as they make their way home from the bars.

Like many fast food employees that are required to work well into the night, Robertson has had the opportunity to observe these students in their finest moments.  It is easy to assume that serving intoxicated members of the student body would be entertaining, and at times it may be.

“This one time some drunk guy came in and tried to convince us that his uncle owned the drink company Orangina, so he tried to convince us that it would be no problem if he took one without paying,” Robertson said.

Though at times it may be comical to witness the student body transform into a drunken mess, however, it is also challenging.  On occasion, Robertson and his fellow employees have had to deal with some unpleasant experiences.   It is easy to understand that the employee’s major concern is whether or not customers are able to comprehend that perhaps the best place to be sick would be outside, or in the toilet – not the floor.

(Photo by Jody Waardenburg)
(Photo by Jody Waardenburg)

“Every once and a while by the end of the night we find that someone had gotten sick in one of the washrooms,” Robertson said. Robertson has recalled several times when customers have gotten out of hand, from dropping full bottles of alcohol, to getting sick in the store, and even the occasion fight breaking out between intoxicated customers.

“People don’t usually get to rude or aggressive, but I remember at least one occasion when customers were trying to start a fight with one another,” Robertson recalled.

Another popular spot for drunken students to stop by at the end of the night is Smoke’s Poutinerie.  Jen , an employee of Smoke’s Poutinerie has had the opportunity to observe the many intoxicated customers that have stumbled through the doors well after midnight.  When asked if the late night hours on weekend affect her social or academic life, Jen replied, “As long as you can arrange your classes it’s not a big deal.”

Smoke’s Pountinerie is definitely an attractive and popular location for drunken students which is why is somewhat surprising that employees are not often faced with aggressive or overly difficult customers. On weekends, Smoke’s can become very busy with endless amounts of orders, however, there seems to be few occasions when customers have caused the staff problems.

“They don’t get aggressive, just rude,” recalled Jen.

Fortunately for the staff, Smoke’s is a small store offering little room to sit down and eat, therefore the flow of customers is always moving.  But just because customers are easy to deal does not mean that weekend shifts are any easier.

There are definitely challenges with working weekend shifts that go through the night.  You may not be able to join your friends on every weekend outing, or you may find it difficult to adjust to a normal schedule during the week, but it is also an interesting experience and often entertaining.  However, in some cases it is also a necessary form of income in order to stay afloat.

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Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.