Saturday (I don't want to blog about politics) night.

I'm gonna tell you a story instead.

I was reminded of this one earlier today:

I have mentioned quite often in the past that I spent many years working in pubs, in various capacities. The last one I worked in before I left the trade (and I won't mention any names for the sake of anonymity) was more a restaurant that a pub. It's main trade was food, and it was a lot higher quality than standard pub grub. We had a passing trade in chavs wanting burgers and stuff that we didn't do, and they always ended up buying a load of cheap side orders like chips and garlic bread rather than proper meals.

One quiet Monday afternoon we had a couple of fat chav women in with their kids and unusually they did order full meals. I can't remember what the meals were anymore but I do remember one of them came with a side salad.

I was having a quiet fag in the back room with the landlady (good old days), when a young waitress came in looking a bit confused and upset. She said the chavs had complained about their meal because there were no crisps with it. She had explained to them that the meal does not come with crisps. This chav woman, with her best arsy, customer is always right, attitude, had picked up the menu, pointed at it and said,

"Yes it does. It says, "Comes with a crisp salad""

After much rolling about laughing, we gave them a small bowl of nachos to go with it.

That's customer service.

Do you remember when Bulmers cider first came out? It was a huge hit in most pubs and we sold it by the bucket load. One busy Saturday evening, a youngish woman came to the bar and asked me for a pear cider. (This is before the pear version came out. The original Bulmers was apple, pear appeared a lot later).

I says, what is a pear cider. She say it's right there behind you and rolled her eyes a bit. After some tooing and froing I realised she meant the Bulmers, so I says it's not pear cider it's apple.

Well, she didn't half go off on one. "You didn't know it's made from pears? How thick are you? What kind of a barman doesn't know that? etc.

So I calmly says, no I didn't know that. I then picks up a bottle and says lets find out. I read the label on the back,

"Made with seventeen varieties of apple". I see what you mean, I says, and put the bottle in front of her.

She went bright red and melted in front of me. It turns out her fella had sent her to the bar and told her it was made from pears. He was taking the piss. And she called me clueless!

It's often said that the customer is always right. It's rarely true.

It's surprising how little the customer actually does know, and it's always the thickest of the bunch that quote that saying.

A lot of people don't know how to order steak, but they never ask for advice because they don't want to sound stupid. What is stupid is ordering your steak rare and then complaining that there is blood in it and we haven't cooked it properly, or ordering it well done and then complaining that it's tough.

Have you seen the Guinness adverts? "Order it first". You are supposed to order it first because it takes so long to pour. Pour two thirds of the pint at a 45 degree angle. Let it settle. Top it up. You know what? If you just pour the whole thing straight up it is no different. The crazy preparation is just a marketing gimmick.

Never the less, people expect it to be poured as per the advert and they never order it first. They will go through about 10 different drinks before saying, "oh, and a pint of Guinness". Words of advice when going to the bar to buy a round.

Tell the barman your whole order in one go rather than asking for stuff one at a time as each drink is poured. If the barman forgets something he will ask, but chances are he will be able to do two or three drinks at the same time, meaning you get served a lot quicker.

Know what you want when you approach the bar, particularly when it's busy. If you piss your barman off when he is up to his neck in it, you might be waiting a long time to get served next time. If you just ask for a pint of lager, rather than specifying brand, you will just get the pissiest one that has the biggest profit margin.

The best way to get served quicker during really busy periods is to stand there quietly with a note in your hand. Bar staff are supposed to know who came to the bar at what time and who to serve next. This rarely works in practice when it's five deep. If you shout, you will be ignored. If you have a note in your hand, the barman can see you're not about to start fannying around counting out change when it comes time to pay. You can always put the note back in your wallet and get your change out once he has started serving you, if you don't want to break the note. It's too late then

Count your change. When its busy, its very easy to give change for a tenner when you were paid with a twenty, particularly with inexperienced staff. If they do this, complain and all they need to do is look in the till and your twenty will be on top of the tenner slot. If it's not then you didn't give them a twenty. Check what you hand over as well as what you get back. Remember, it's dark and you're pissed. You're more likely to make a mistake than them, and less likely to admit it.

One guy I served at a town centre bar once, said I could keep the change. That happens often, it's usually a few coppers or a couple of quid from the more generous one who might have just bought a big round. This guy had bought two pints and paid with a twenty. I did say, hang on mate are you sure, but he just waived his hand and walked off. We're really not supoosed to serve them when they're that pissed up ;-)

It's great fun working behind a bar as you meet alsorts. Pity the socialist bastards closed them all.

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