Saturday, June 18, 2005

Unhappy hour

One of the trials of a publican's life, oft lamented by Mine Host, is abuse from an ungrateful public.

One of the disappointing aspects of society is just how many people will speak to shop staff in a manner in which they would never dare speak to anyone else.

Abuse, threats & ranting are not uncommon. There is an unhesitating expectation that there will be no response, & no consequences.

This abuse can be most unreasonable, quite vitriolic, even violent at times.

Over time this treatment can have quite an effect on people, especially those who are paid relatively lowly to provide a good service to the public.

Mine Host had pondered in vain how to reduce the amount of abuse. Perhaps give more to the customers? A free drink each day for every regular customer?

No matter what was tried, the abuse continued to grow steadily.

The solution, stunning in its simplicity, came from one of the suppliers, Mr. Welsh. Elderly, he wore braces & a cloth cap (a very rare sight in the tropics).

He operated a vending machine run, & called to the Wayside Tavern monthly.

A lifelong member of the Showman's Guild, Mr. Welsh had been raised on the fairground circuit. At each of his visits Mine Host would experience the privelige of being allowed to peer through a window into another world, and be allowed to listen enthusiastically to tales of a childhood spent repairing merry-go-round horses, & other exotic events from the show circuit.

The pearl was dropped unexpectedly during one of these conversations. "You know young fellow" spoke Mr. Welsh "you should NEVER give anybody anything. If you give them something you only get abused for it."

"Always charge full price & do not compromise on this, it makes the public more polite.”

This policy was immediately adopted as gospel by the Wayside Tavern.

In the years since, with a firm policy of no free drinks, no bar draws, no discounting, & no happy hour, Mine Host has lived a relatively stress free life.

Drinkers in the bar greet him by name, offer to buy him drinks, no more does the sour chant of "shout c**t, shout c**t" commence when Mine Host enters the bar.

Never again will Mine Host be foolish enough to give anything to drinkers. All else aside, it is bad business!