Friday, 9 July 2010

The Mini Cheddars Pub Landlord Test

Haven't had a rant for a long time. So here's one. We have a pub in our vicinity that changes landlord about as often as the barrels. It's owned by one of those wretched 'tavern' groups- you know the sort. They put put up an awful plastic banner outside of a bollocksed 'tavern' that says "You could run this pub" which means that any tosspot riding by on a bike goes "Ooh, I've always wanted to do that". So you end up with someone running it who likes the idea of being a pub landlord but is completely unaware of how much work it means (all day, everyday), and how much word-of-mouth recommendation means, particularly in backswood villages like ours. So, yet again, we've got a new landlord in this one. Of course I beamed and welcomed him, and he regarded me with great suspicion. Which is normal. Then I asked "Are you going to stock Mini Cheddars?". He looked at me as though I'd just asked him if I could have sex with his wife, and said "Don't know". A week later I asked again. "Any Mini Cheddars on the way?". "No", and goes back to his paper. You see, I like a packet of something to help the beer go down. It doesn't have to be Mini Cheddars of course, but it was becoming a bit of an obsession with me. And you know what that means. Last week I walked into an empty pub (here we go) and asked "Those Mini Cheddars in yet?". Blokey puts his crossword pen down and says "Look. The wholesaler only does Walkers. Ok?". I'm going to try my level best not to go in there again, which severely restricts my options to two locals, but in both I'm always made to feel that my custom is valued. I mean, how difficult would it have been for Mr. Genial Landlord to go and buy a months worth of Mini Cheddars from bloody Sainsbury's? After all, that's probably longer than he's going to be here. So he could then say "Here you are Pete, got these in for you". I'd tell everybody how good he is and I'd still be sitting at the bar now. But I'm not.

20 comments:

Jon Dudley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon Dudley said...

Hear hear...but how to respond without sounding too Daily Mail? You have encapsulated all that's wrong with the pub business these days. When will people realise that running a good boozer is a way of life...like being a vicar or something, and equally spiritual.

That's better! 90% shorter than the message I just left...far too Daily Mail!

Peter Ashley said...

You are so right Jon. It should be like being the vicar. A proper one of course, with a Panama, bicycle with a squeaky cotter pin and a 1662 Prayer Book in the basket. (Cue Ron).

The Vintage Knitter said...

You've hit the nail on the head there Mr. A - that's what's wrong with the vast majority of pubs nowadays: they're being managed by utter numbskulls who don't know how a proper establishment should be run.

I daresay that its likely they wouldn't know what a decent pint of real ale tastes like - even if you tipped it over their heads; which is probably what you're itching to do to your landlord!

However, if you're ever in the Cirencester area and in need of a pint, I can heartily recommend the Red Lion at Ampney St. Peter.

http://www.gloucestershirecamra.org.uk/pubs/raig/AMPNEYST.HTM#0008

alastair fox said...

I know because I always count the contents of packets and divide outcome by price .. but average price of mini cheddars (outside of supermarkets) is a whopping 2.8p per biscuit. Scandalous ..

Diplomate said...

Oh bugger - I've only just regained requisit energy levels to keep my own blog from freezing over - now i'm going to have to start sympathising with Lord Ashley as well !!!! Where to start ? This is going to take a while so i'll come back later - got to go for a few Fool's Nooks c/w Mr Porky Itchings and an Ismir smoke. Toodle pip.

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou vintage knitter. Ampney now on the list.

Wartime Housewife said...

Right behind you there. The local pub should be the place where you can sit down, breathe out and know you're in the hands of 'the right sort'. Boycots all round.

ChrisP said...

Wartime Housewife, the boycott began years ago. Pubs are closing everywhere and soon the only ones left will be the tourist traps, which are not pubs at all but pretty restaurants for people who come in by car.

Ron Combo said...

I always remember going (early doors) into The Black Boy in Leicester centuries ago and the world's rudest landlord (after Norman of course) was sat behind the bar reading the Leicester Mercury. After about five minutes of gentle coughing and umming I ventured "Pint of Bass please Jim". Without looking at me, he ripped off his glasses, slammed them on the top of the bar and shouted "Can't anyone have five effing minutes to read the effing paper nowadays!" and, through gritted teeth, poured the ale. He kept a decent pint 'though, eh Pete?

CarolineLD said...

The pub in my childhood village had an even more dubious approach to snacks - back when I was too young to go inside, I bought a Twix from the off-licence hatch (another disappearing feature). It was strangely soft - explained by a look at the best-before date, which had passed many months earlier.

ChrisP said...

No, the world's rudest landlord was the Tickell creature in Whittlesford. He threw my bro-in-law out at knife point once. And the grafitti in the gents had one topic only - how appalling the landlord was. "What a jumped-up middle-class little tick" was a particularly memorable specimen.

Sue said...

Oh, I remember the Tickell Arms. It was a non-smoking establishment long before the ban was a twinkle in some bureaucrat's eye. "Squire" Tickell used to try and humiliate guests who were wrongly parked by reading number plates out through a megaphone - "...and some foreign vehicle but I didn't bother taking its number..."
He had Wagner blaring out and there was always shot in the pheasant casserole.
Didn't stop us going there, though!

Sue said...
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E J Moore said...

I've never thought about the possibilities of manipulating a landlord in this way, but if he doesn't act on your request he is losing a potential good customer, so he's a fool. Have you ever seen this publication?: 'Running a Village Pub under MoD rules on Foulness Island'. Interesting account of a business on the edge.

ChrisP said...

Tickell was anti-smoking because he was anti-everything. The list was printed in market pen on the doors:
NO LONG HAIRED LEFTIE STUDENTS
NO HIKERS WITH MUDDY BOOTS
and so on ad infinitum.
The list didn't actually include black people but he was never known to serve one. He was had up before the beaks for racial discrimination several times but always got off because they were all regulars (it was alleged, m'lud).

Anonymous said...

Man's a fool and not worthy of your custom. But let him know that you've taken your business elsewhere. Sounds like he won't be around long.

Peter Ashley said...

Good God, Squire Tickell. I frequented this place when working in nearby Duxford, and one lunchtime he poured the ice bucket down my mate's trousers because his shirt had come out. "You're undressed" was all he said. And, very memorably, he spotted someone giving a piece of sausage (cooked in his kitchen) to one of his King Charles spaniels. He shouted out from the bar "Don't feed that shit to my dogs you cretin". The bar staff at this time included Seigfried and Daphne, whose names he continually bellowed.

Anne said...

These comments make for fantastic reading. What characters.

More please.

Peter Ashley said...

Don't get us started Anne, we could be here all night.