Time for a little rant on MFBR. And – hold on to your hats – this time it is not about pisswater! It has been inspired by my recent change of job which takes me into London on a daily basis, where I have to deal with commuters of all shapes, sizes and body odours (honestly, if you smell that bad at 7.42 in the morning, you should see a doctor). Bar the commuter rage, there is another part of commuting life that irks me.
Station pubs are a privilege not a right
Now I’m sure many of you have traveled through one of the larger stations in London – my two most frequented are Waterloo and Charing Cross. A charming, clean, well-decorated and well-stocked chain, Beer House, operate out of the bigger stations – providing thirsty travellers with a solid beer (and wine, spirit etc.) choice to quench their parched tongues. A service, I’m sure you will agree, is as necessary as it is delightful. When I am running late from work and the trains are then sporadic there is nothing more enjoyable than nipping into a Beer House and gulping a cheeky London Pale Ale or such similar.
It is to my horror, then, that the staff of these wondrous oases are frequently subject to curt, dismissive and sometimes abusive communication from its punters. It was just yesterday that I was standing at the bar in Waterloo and a chap dressed in an over-sized suit (which clearly matched his ego) and mismatched shoes (echoing his whole perspective of life) demanded a pint of Greene King IPA. When asked, as most pubs do, if he wanted any bar snacks with this he physically recoiled. “I’d have asked if I wanted them” following with a huff that Vicky Pollard would have been proud of. Now, the barman was clearly new, had to ask someone to sign him into the till so he could process the brew payment – a little patience punter-side would not have gone amiss. He took a little longer than a more experienced cashier would to sort out the change and return it – forgetting the receipt as he tried to hurry along the process. “Where’s my receipt? Jesus, come on.” spat old prickpunter. At this point, I shifted my gaze sidewards to get a good look at this malevolent buggar, he spotted me and said in my direction but loud enough for the barman to hear, “f*****g useless”. I responded that the guy was clearly new and to give him a break, dropping a little nod to the bartender as a “don’t take it personally” whilst the offender huffed again and left, receipt now in hand, to find a seat big enough for himself and his ego (I’m sure he struggled).
Although this isn’t the worst thing to ever happen in a pub, no glasses smashed or blood adorning the wall, it’s these small infractions that really wind me up. These guys are providing a service in a hectic environment – a little courtesy and respect does not go amiss. We’ve all heard of terrible customer service stories, but it’s not very often (and I’m sure a lot more common) for the bad behaviour to be on the buyers’ side of the bar. So, if that story sounds a little too familiar, next time you’re in the pub – and even if you’re in a rush – just remember the words of Wil Wheaton:
Don’t be a dick.