100daysofgrievances #36 CUSTOMERS – PART 2 (Festival time…)

I love a good festival, but living in a town that hosts a festival is, sadly, not the same as attending said festival.  This latest rant relates to the sheer tedium that is a pub shift in Reading during the rock festival weekend.  I like to think that with only a small amount of artistic licence/imagination, it could equally apply to any town in close proximity to a festival of almost any ilk.  Edinburgh barkeeps, just replace stingy music-lovers with wannabe thespians and you’re good to go…

“Hello? Sorry, what do you think you’re doing? Yes you, ducking under the table there, who did you think I was talking to? If you wanted to charge your phone/electronic cigarette/gigantic charger pack, don’t you think you should maybe have asked at the bar first? Well…because it’s polite?”

“Do you normally saunter into a pub, point your girlfriend in the direction of the toilets then proceed to unplug a light/TV/jukebox just so that you can charge your wares? No, alas, it didn’t escape my attention that you’re here for the festival…But I don’t really see how that makes a difference… What gave it away? Well, let see…The mud, the day-glo paint on your face and the faint whiff of stale beer, Johnson’s baby wipes and bonfire surrounding you, for starters… But it would still have been polite to have asked first! Get that outraged look off your face! You’re really not that hard-done-by and I really don’t think that if you intend to use our electricity, then me asking you to buy a drink is all that unreasonable a demand… Now telling me to fetch you a glass of tap water doesn’t really count as buying a drink, does it?  Stingy?! Me? Pots, kettles, all kinds of black thoughts springing to mind right now…”

“Right, here’s the tap water I grudgingly poured you after I got sick of you wittering on about how your girlfriend would most definitely buy a real actual drink, just as soon as she has finishing making use of our amenities.  What do you mean it ‘doesn’t taste right’?! You have been drinking lukewarm Tuborg out of plastic receptacles for the duration of the weekend; lovely fresh water is bound to taste alien to you after that…”

“You over there, I can see the look you’re giving me as you count out your coppers and I’m just going to pre-empt you right now… Please, please don’t complain about the prices. You are the recipient of a decent pint, a fizzy pint, an ice cold pint, served in an actual glass. You are drinking it in the warm and the dry. You are sitting on a comfy seat, or perhaps perching on a stool at the end of the bar annoying me. You have full use of facilities that don’t have ‘porta’ as a prefix. Your Super-sized Sonic Charger is currently plugged in to the pub power supply. Now pipe down.”

“I don’t care. I literally Could. Not. Care. Less. Seriously, if you can actually remember (and feel the need to tell me) that our pints cost 10p less last year, then quite frankly your festival ticket was wasted on you… Now I think about it, you are clearly one of those people who goes round snuffling about for empties at the festival so that you can save a few pence off your next pint. (Hey, I’m all for environmental objectives, but I do grudge you asking me for my cup before I’ve even finished my drink…). Clearly you have no qualms about collecting used receptacles. Why then, is the concept of bringing used tap water glasses back to the bar so alien to you?”

“Yes you, I’m asking you for I.D. No, I’m not joking. Nope, the fact that you are at the festival does not ‘prove’ you are old enough to drink. No, it really doesn’t. Actually, if anything, it makes you more likely to be under 18 in my humble opinion… No, I’m not wrong. And no, I think you’ll find that I’m not breaking the law. No, you are not just going to sit here and watch the football and drink tap water! Why? BECAUSE I SAY SO!”

“You again?! No, you’re still not getting served. No, not even a tap water. No absolutely not. Not fair?  Last time I was in the beer garden collecting glasses, it wasn’t raining…That went right over your artfully coiffed head, didn’t it?  No, your mate can’t act as your guardian. Why? Well, because he’s about 12. No, no once again, I think you will find that I am not breaking the law. Losing my patience, my mind, the will to live, perhaps, but no, not my ability to behave in a law-abiding manner… The other barmaid served you earlier?  Did she now?  Did she really?  Rather strange that it’s only me on today, isn’t it…  What was that, cat got your tongue, boy?”

“Hi, what can I get for you? The jukebox? No, it isn’t free. Well, because it’s not. No, never. I don’t know why… Actually scrap that, I do know why… Because this is a money-making business, not a charity (not that you’d know it by the number of people making use of the facilities, loitering and drinking tap water right about now). I can give you some change for the jukebox if you want? I don’t care about your local pub. Watch my lips. I could not care less about your wonderful local and its free effing jukebox…Bet the barkeeps there are enjoying a welcome break from you this weekend…”

“What, you just queued at the bar for 15 minutes with the sole intention of expressing outrage that your favourite song isn’t on our jukebox… When you could be inside the festival, the one that you paid about 200 quid for the privilege of attending, listening to actual live music being played by real life bands instead of bugging me? Are you kidding me?!”

“Our cheapest shot? The same as last time you asked. Yes, it is still the same price. No, I don’t think that is really expensive… Nope, no special deal if you buy two. I don’t care that you came in here last year too. No, I’m not going to get the landlord. Because I’m not. The cheapest pint we sell?  That will be John Smiths.  No, Fosters is more expensive.  Yes, so is Guinness. And Kronnenburg. Why is the concept of ‘cheapest’ proving to be such a difficult one for you to grasp?  No, cider is more expensive too.  I already told you, the cheapest pint is John Smiths… Okay, so 6 pints of John Smiths coming up.  What was that?  You all want to pay separately and on debit card?  No problem at all!  Now, if I could just see 6 lots of I.D. before I start pouring please… No, festival wristbands do not constitute  acceptable I.D.!”

“Please put your boots back on.  Okay I get it, they’re muddy. But could you at least put your socks on, and maybe remove your feet from that seat? Well actually, no, you’re not a paying customer are you now? I didn’t charge you for that glass of tap water you’re still nursing, now did I?”

“Can you get down off that seat please?  Yes, I can see you’re trying to close the window (the window you watched me open approximately 3 minutes ago in a vain attempt to rid the place of the fusty smell that pervades) but you’re getting mud all over the seats.  Yes, I get that you are cold, I’d be cold too if I was dressed like that.  No, sorry, I’ve no intention of putting the radiators on.  Freezing?  Well no, not really, I’m fine thanks…Hmm, you are, are you?  That might have something to do with those diminutive hot pants that you are all wearing…  Maybe you should have brought something a little more suitable to wear? Hmm and if your boyfriend over there were to just put his tee shirt back on, he might not be so cold, either… Just saying…”

“No sorry, I can’t give you cashback. Why? Well because you’re not buying anything… Yes I know you said your girlfriend would buy a drink when she came out of the loo… (Thinking about it, that was an hour ago, what is she doing in there?  I guess it takes ages to get those ubiquitous festival-flower-power headbands out of a tangled mane). If she pays for a drink, she can get cashback, that’s fine, but I can’t give you any unless you make a purchase. No, I’m not ‘trying to be awkward’, I’m really not. Yes, I am well aware that there are massive queues for the cashpoints in the festival. Yes I know that means you will miss some music as you queue (although you don’t seem to mind missing music as you argue with me…), but I still can’t give you cashback if you don’t buy anything. Positive. Yep, certain. No, I’m not fetching the landlord, and even if I did, he would tell you the same as me!”

“Oi, you over there, have you got some I.D.? No, you’re not just going to use the toilet! Don’t you think it might have been polite to at least have asked first? Even if I decide to believe you when you say that you’ll buy a drink just as soon as you’ve finished washing your hair (for the record, I don’t, I’m humouring you), then I still need to see your I.D. Why? Well because this is a licenced premises. No, by law, I do not have to let you use the facilities. And no, you are quite wrong, even if you just drink water, I still reserve the right to I.D. you…”

“Hi, what can I get for you? Grande Latte? No, we don’t sorry, we only do standard tea and coffee. Well… because this is a pub. Soya milk? No, sorry, standard tea and coffee only I’m afraid. No, no cappuccinos either, sorry – standard tea and coffee and that’s all. Flat white? I don’t even know what that is, but I know we don’t do them. What kind of milk can I offer you? The normal kind, the kind that came out of a cow and is currently residing in the fridge. Fat content? I have absolutely no idea. No, I hate to break it to you, but you won’t ‘just’ have a de-caf pomegranate green tea… Yes I’m sure we don’t. No, I’m not going to ‘check out the back’. Nope, no infusions, no earl grey, no de-caffeinated abominations, no herbal teas, no fruit teas and no hot chocolate with skooshy cream and/or marshmallows… Because WE ONLY DO STANDARD TEA AND COFFEE. Weird? No, I don’t think it’s remotely weird… Because this is a PUB! Yes, fine, I’ll get you another glass of tap water instead.”

“Sorry, stage times? Erm no, I’ve no idea, sorry… You do realise that the town isn’t just a big extension of the festival, don’t you?  You could check online maybe?  Yes we do have wifi but it’s really for customer use only… Yes, we do food. What is it that gave it away?  The guy at the next table tucking into the massive burger, perhaps?  Menus are on the tables, just order at the bar when you’re ready. Vegan options? Yeah, they’re on the menu too. Sandwiches?  Yep, on the menu. No, anything not on the menu, you can safely assume we don’t do. Trains to Cardiff? No, I don’t know, sorry… Maybe ask in the station? No, I don’t have a timetable just kicking about… Half a portion of chips? No, we only do full portions. Yes I’m sure. No, I’m not asking the chef. Burgers? Yes, they’re on the menu. Yes, I can quite imagine that we are marginally more expensive than Weatherspoons…You’ll also find our fodder to be somewhat superior… How big are the sandwiches? Well, sandwich sized… Yes you get chips with the burger. Yes I’m sure. Cheese and bacon, yep definitely… I’ll give you a clue… BECAUSE IT SAYS SO ON THE MENU! Ha, now your phone’s finished charging, maybe you could plug the light back in and then you’d actually have enough light to be able to see the menu… One burger and three forks you say? Oh and three more glasses of tap water. Of course, I’ll get those now. Yes, I’ll put ice in them. Pint glasses again, yes? I’ll be getting on to that right away!  Apologies for your wait!  How long will the food take? You’re in a rush you say? You’re missing your favourite band you say? I’ll be as quick as I possibly can. Gritting my teeth, me? No, you must be imagining it!”

“There’s no loo roll? Are you sure? There was loads this morning, I stocked it up myself in anticipation… Have you actually looked? Hang on a sec, what’s that I see poking out of your girlfriend’s bag? I’m not accusing anyone of anything…It’s just that it looks remarkably loo-roll shaped… I’m being rude to a paying customer, am I? Well… if we’re going to get technical about it, you’re not actually a paying customer now, are you? Sorry, who’s next? What are you after? Baby wipes? behind the bar? Seriously? No, no I don’t get asked for them all the time. Yes, I’m quite sure.  No you are definitely the first…Can I get you a drink?  Yes, yes we do tap water…”

“What time do we close tonight? One o’clock. Yes I’m sure. Yes I’m aware the main stage doesn’t stop until after 11.  I actually intend to be in the audience myself if this never-ending shift is ever over… Yes, I imagine there will be big crowds. You’re right, you probably won’t be able to get a taxi. No, we won’t consider opening later in case you’re running late… Yes prices are the same in the evening. No, shots aren’t cheaper. Nope, none of them. Tequila? No, same price. All shots will be exactly the same price as they are now. Yes that includes Sambuca. And Jagermeister. Yes, definitely. No I will NOT ask the landlord… Yes your mate will need I.D. No, a festival band doesn’t prove anything…Even in the evening. Yes, I’m sure. Positive. No, I’m not getting the landlord. No he won’t. No, I know for a FACT he will agree with me. And no, the jukebox will NOT be free… What was that? One glass of tap water, with ice? Your friend bought a half of diet coke two hours ago you say? Sure, coming right up…”

“Hi, what can I do for you?  You want to return your pint?  John Smiths is nasty?  Why yes, I quite agree, but you asked for a pint of our cheapest beer and I gave you a pint of our cheapest beer.  Ahhh you meant our cheapest lager…. Well that’s not what you asked for, is it?  It’s also not what you watched me pour 6 pints of, is it?  I can swap it if you want, but you’ll have to pay for the replacement pint. Not fair?  Life’s not fair, mate.  And no, for the very last time, I am NOT fetching the landlord!  A letter of complaint?  A letter of complaint about me?  Good luck with that, I very much look forward to reading it!  Just out of interest, what do you intend to write it with?  It’s just if my memory serves correctly, you just returned that pen you borrowed from me to copy down all the set times onto the back of a napkin so that you could save yourself £5 by not having to buy a programme…What was that?  Another two glasses of tap water?”

Not bored of hearing me moan about customers? You can read my original diatribe here: https://caththebruce.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/100daysofgrievances-1-customers/


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