We’ve all been there: you flop into your comfy chair at the end of a successful night getting happy people drunk, kick off your shoes, sigh that satisfied sigh of another job well done and pull out your phone to read a scathing one star online review. It ruins your night. It ruins the next morning, afternoon and evening too. Every second thought is dedicated to identifying your detractor – you scan your memory of the night and try to remember a crossed word or complaint. You think back to the barrel changes and who may have had the last pint out of the cask. You ask the staff and regular punters. You check the CCTV to try and identify this nay-sayer, and all the time you’re thinking “you absolute fucking turd. How dare you!”. And how dare they indeed? One star is effectively saying you’ve ruined their night. That visiting your premises was, in fact, worse than doing nothing. It wasn’t as good as not going to your pub; your pub that keeps good beer; your pub that collects for charity; your pub that shows the football and puts on bands…. your pub that some couples have enjoyed so much that they’ve popped to the ladies cubicle to have one of those skirt-up-trousers-down quick knee tremblers then casually walked back to the bar to finish their pinots giggling like teenagers. Did they give me any stars? Did they immediately take to the internet, search for my boozer on tripadvisor and pen something akin to “nice beer, great band. So good that I decided to give the wife one in trap two of the ladies’. Will definitely come again”? No they didn’t, but that bloke that came in on his own expecting——– well I don’t know what he was expecting. Maybe for us to rush up and scatter rose petals in front of him on his way to his golden throne where nymphs will flank him and toss grapes into his mouth whilst harp music mingles with the tinkling of water from a distant stream and the gentle, warm breeze carries subtle tones of freshly mown grass and scented candles uplight his best features.
This is a rant.
And I proffer no apology, but that’s how these people get to me. It’s like those people – usually a bit older, usually a couple – that walk in, look around then mutter something to each other and walk out again. What do these people expect? We’re a pub. We serve beer, wine, spirits, cider, pork scratchings. There’s tables and chairs, a dartboard and a bloke behind the bar who’s just said hello to you through a big smile. Were you expecting cheap beer, massive plastic menus, hushed conversation and the aroma of baked beans, table polish and disappointment? Are people laughing too much in here for you? Is the music too upbeat? Would you like me to show you to a corner where there’s a bookcase full of never-to-be-read books and some low chairs that, at your age, it will probably take you an hour to get back out of? Or maybe I could just bring your drinks to the nearest hotel foyer for the full J.D Wetherspoons experience?
Because that’s the problem: people now judge us against a company that took the local pub, made it too big, sucked all the personality out of it, put the toilets in the loft, made you queue at the bar, surrounded you with the type of people that think they’re having a nice time by eating microwaved food off a plate that your nan would’ve thrown away. Your local ‘Spoons is a pub for people that don’t like pubs. A pub for people that like to know what they’re getting. The same people that will by a sandwich from Pret a Manger instead of the local, privately owned deli next door. The same people that will walk past their local cafe to make their own coffee at Costa using tiny sachets of sugar stirred with a stick that you dispose of immediately in a cup with your name on it. You know what? Go into your local cafe three times and they’ll remember your fucking name. The same people that will walk into your busy pub on a Saturday night, see a sea of happy drunken faces and a couple coming back from the toilet adjusting their clothing, and go home to write a one star review on fucking tripadfuckingvisor.
“Ah, but,” I hear you say “you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
No. That’s because some people are twats.