One of my passions is baseball. I think all of life can be found inside the game of baseball. But this blog is not about baseball, directly. It’s about this little bar in Scottsdale, AZ that I go to every year when I go to spring training.
The bar is called the Rusty Spur. It’s a small place no more than 1200 square feet or so. It sells long neck beers, and shots. I am not even sure there is food. What’s the appeal you ask? Is it the daily visit by a cowboy on a horse? Yes a cowboy from the local chamber of commerce will ride into this small bar on a horse. As cool and weird as that is, not really. Is it Mrs. Moo? The lady, who was the 1947 Miss Arizona, knows everyone and dresses up in cow clothes. Again very cool and no that is not the thing that keeps me coming back. Could it be the owner, while drinking a pitcher of margarita’s singing the kitty kat song (possibly the dirtiest song ever written)? That’s second.
No the real reason I love coming to this bar is the owner, usually after singing his world famous song, makes a pronouncement of the three basic rules of the Rusty Spur:
Rule #1: If you can’t have fun at the Rusty Spur it’s your own damn fault
Rule#2: Don’t let your fun interfere with the fun of others
Rule #3: Tip your bartenders and waitresses well
What I love about the rules is the environment it creates and you know, THOSE ARE THE RULES. There is a sense of clarity and constancy of purpose. I’ve been going there for years now, and not much changes, and the experience is great every time. Let’s look at the rules and their appeal.
Rule #1) If you can’t have fun at the Rusty Spur it’s your own damn fault.
The place is all about fun, from the music to the characters, to the “decorations”, to the staff. I’m sure it mission statement, spoken or unspoken is “havin’ fun”. And what I love most about the rule is it is about empowerment. I will give you the space, the tool, the training, and you get to choose. And if you choose NOT to have fun, it really is your loss.
What I think is best about the “fun” is, it actually is fun. It’s not about getting so drunk you lose body functions. Yes, the place is loud, but it’s fun and funny. During spring training it is a place of Giant fans, and just about every other baseball fan that comes to Arizona. There is never the concern of any nonsense, other than that provide by the owner.
That leads me to Rule #2.
Rule #2) Don’t let your fun interfere with someone else’s
I love this rule because it is about respect and responsibility. As I said before, when you are in this place it really is a community, everyone having fun, enjoying the music, the sights, and the cold beer. There is another thing that happens. As I said the place is small. And I stated that it sort of becomes a community. And in this community the strangest thing happens, if you have an open chair or two at your table, people join you. And you meet them, and talk to them, and laugh with them. I don’t know where you are from, but here in the burbs of Chicago, that just doesn’t happen.
Finally Rule #3
Rule #3) Tip your bartenders and waitresses.
Yes, I’ve heard this a million times, but when this guy says it, he means it. Not in a way that forces you to do it, but in a way that acknowledges the work the bartenders do and the space created by the waitresses. It really is acknowledgement, for who these people are, and what they provide, and what is created by their work. A really cool bar and a fun experience.
So what do you think? Oh yea, he goes that coach guy making what goes on in a bar significant. No, not so much. What I do hope you see those is the beauty and the magic that is created. What I hope you see is that a few principles, constancy of purpose, clear communication, empowerment, respect, responsibility, and acknowledgement really create a meaningful experience for customers, and that those principles have created a sustainable business for the owner and his stake holders. And this business is not a financial institution, or a high tech firm, but a small bar serving beer.
What would it look like if all business practiced those simple distinctions? What do you think?.