Putting The Tender Into Bartender

, , , , | Working | March 20, 2019

(The drinking age in the UK is eighteen; you’ll sometimes get an establishment with its own over-twenty-one rule, but this is rare. My friends and I — all age twenty — head to a gig and afterward fancy a pub visit. We head to a pub in an area I’ve never been to before. It’s completely empty for a Friday night and the bartender looks like he’s about twelve years old.)

Bartender: *aggressively* “IDs, guys!”

(We all hand them over.)

Bartender: “No, no, strictly over twenty-five only! GET OUT!”

Me: “Are you serious? The age here is eighteen; there’s not even anyone else here.”

Bartender: “NO! Strictly over twenty-five and we can refuse service. F*** OFF OUT!”

(Knowing that establishments are fully within their rights to refuse service to people for any reason regardless of how nonsensical it is in a business sense, we decide not to argue and leave to find somewhere else, but before we leave…)

Me: *to Bartender* “Just out of curiosity, are you able to drink here?”

Bartender: “Yes, of course. All employees can.”

Me: “How old are you?”

Bartender: “Fifteen.”

Me: “Huh…”

(It is highly illegal to serve alcohol as a minor, as he was so rude I ended up reporting the pub. We came back for another gig a month later and the pub had closed down. Not sure if it was because of the illegal activities or cash flows, but good riddance.)

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 17, 2019

For several years I lived directly above a pub. It was incredibly noisy, but I loved being able to watch people coming and going. There were frequently stag dos dressed in elaborate fancy dress, such as blue body paint to look like Smurfs or mascot costumes.

Around midday on a Saturday, I suddenly heard a very loud horn blast followed by cheering from the pub. I looked out my window to see a man in a full fox costume, including a giant head and tail, sprinting down the street. He was soon followed by a yelling group of men, half dressed as dogs and half wearing tweed suits, high socks, and caps and running with children’s toy stick horses between their legs. One man carried a bugle and repeatedly blew on it as the group ran down the street after the fox, presumably going to the next pub.

They Left In Good Spirits, And Wines, And Cocktails…

, , , , | Right | February 27, 2019

(A group of woman out for a hen-do have just left my pub. I see them walking around the building through the windows. They spot our side entrance and come back in. They spend another hour with us until they ask to pay their tab.)

Woman: “Hey, do you know there’s a pub just around the corner that looks just like this? You should be careful, or you’ll get arrested for copying.”

Me: “Actually, this is the same building you left an hour ago. See? You left one of your balloons on the table you were sat at.”

(They all looked, screamed in shock, and then drunkenly tried to retrieve the balloon. Some of the workers thought they were probably a little too drunk, and we called for a community officer to help them get home. They left in good spirits. We found out a week later, from the same officer, that he was called for them another three times after he saw them off in a taxi. Two were bars and one was a fast food place. They weren’t troublesome, but the bars assumed, like us, that they were too drunk. They either sobered up or went home after the fast food place, as there were no more calls.)

Phoning In The Parenting

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 19, 2018

(My wife has always been pretty direct, but pregnancy seems to have amplified it. We’re standing outside the local pub one day chatting to some friends when a kid, between seven and nine years old I think, cycles past. We see this kid all the time and he always has one hand on the handlebars and with the other is holding and staring at his phone. He also doesn’t wear a helmet. On this occasion, my wife reaches out as he cycles past and nabs the phone out of his hand.)

Kid: “Hey!”

Wife: “If I see you cycling with this d*** thing in your hand and not looking at the road one more time it is going straight in the river.”

(The kid goes from startled to angry, but my beloved is too quick for him.)

Wife: “Just what the h*** are you thinking? You could hit someone. You could end up under a d*** car. You think your parents want to spend Christmas sat around your hospital bed, you idiot?”

(At this the kid seems to crumple a little. My wife holds out the phone to him.)

Wife: “Now switch it off. Put it in your pocket. Go home and ask Santa for a d*** helmet.”

(The kid takes the phone back and, very sensibly, does as my wife says. We figure that’s the end of it and go back to chatting to our friends. About ten minutes later a woman marches up to us and smacks my wife’s glass of lemonade out of her hand.)

Woman: “How dare you?! My son has just come home in floods of tears saying you yelled at him and scared him! You told him he was going to die! And now I see you drinking, probably trying to harm another precious baby! What kind of woman are you?”

Wife: “Lady, I told your son that if he didn’t stop looking at his d*** phone while cycling then, yes, he might end up dead or seriously injure someone else. Lady, I’m the kind of woman who drinks lemonade while she’s pregnant because, unlike you, I have some concern for my kids!”

Woman: “It’s no business of yours what my son was doing!”

Wife: “Not looking at the road and causing danger to the public? It is absolutely my business. And before you say one more thing, your son seems to be a h*** of a lot smarter than you and he got this pretty quick. How would you like to spend Christmas around your son’s hospital bed? Or in a lawyer’s office after whoever he hits sues for damages?”

(The woman has gone flame red and storms off. My wife turns to me.)

Wife: “Was I a little harsh?”

(I told her that I didn’t think so and that she’d said the right thing. A couple of days later the same kid saw my wife in the village and told her that he’d only been crying because he’d realised how dangerously he had been behaving and apologised for his mother. He even told my wife that she’ll be a great mum, and I agree.)

This Food That I (H)Ate

, , , , | Right | December 13, 2018

(I am looking after the pub while the manager is away on holiday. It’s lunchtime, and the whole place is very busy. One woman has ordered food for herself and her family — three others. As we are very busy, I am on the bar serving food and drinks as required, and also walking the floor tidying and doing standard “check-backs.”)

Me: “Sorry to interrupt, but could I just check that everything is okay with your food here?”

Whole Table: “Yes, thank you, very good.”

Me: “Excellent. If I can get you anything else, just give me a shout.”

(I then leave the table and go back to the bar to continue serving the many other customers. About ten minutes later…)

Woman: “Excuse me. I have a complaint about our food and would like a refund.”

Me: “Okay, bear with me for just one moment. I will finish serving this customer and be with you straight away.”

(I walk over to the table to discuss what the issue is.)

Me: “I’m very sorry; what is the problem with the food?”

Woman: “It wasn’t cooked very well, and wasn’t very tasty.”

(I notice that all four plates are virtually empty; in fact, two are totally clean.)

Me: “I am very sorry you feel that way, but I notice that you have eaten almost all your meals, and when I checked on you part way through the meal you seemed very content and did not raise any issues to me at any other time.”

Woman: *getting a little bit aggressive* “I don’t care; I am making a complaint now and would like a refund.”

Me: *remaining very calm* “I do apologise, but unfortunately we do have a policy that if the customer does not raise a concern until after they have eaten all the food, then a refund cannot be given for the food. I would be happy to provide your party with an extra drink by way of a goodwill gesture.”

Woman: *shouting very loudly* “That is not good enough! I want a full refund! Where is the manager?! I want to speak to the manager!”

(At this stage all my experience and ability to remain calm are wearing very thin.)

Me: “Okay, bear with me. I will just see if the manager is available.”

(I remove the plates from the table and head through the doors to the kitchen where I wait for a few moments, before heading back over to the table.)

Me: “Hello, madam, I understand you have an issue with the service and the food. Is there anything I can do for you?”

(With this, half the pub, who are very much aware of who I am and what I am doing, start laughing.)

Woman: “Is this some sort of joke?!”

Me: “No, madam. I am the manager and I have explained to you very clearly what our policy is; I have even gone above and beyond to try to appease you, despite the fact that you very obviously were trying to scam free food. If I could ask you to leave now, please, as I have instructed my staff not to serve you any longer, that would be most appreciated. Thank you.”

(When I got back behind the bar, I was bought four separate drinks from customers, as I had made their days. I never did see the family in the pub again.)

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