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    Tuesday, 24 June 2008

    What Is The Difference Between A Pub And A Shop?

    Well obviously you can't buy a new suit in a pub or a pint of beer in the tailors, but essentially a pub surely is a shop.

    I don't know about you, but I don't buy something in every shop I go in. I've been known to browse casually and then walk out with no purchases as there's just nothing I want to buy.

    Why then do I feel awkward about walking in a pub and walking out again without buying a drink? I've browsed the pumpclips, and seen nothing I fancy (or even like in some circumstances), so left to seek out a hostelry with better options. There really shouldn't be a compulsion to stay and spend, but it is the norm so to do.

    I wonder if you are a common pub-browser, or, perhaps more interestingly, if you work in a pub and see someone walk in, look at the beers, and walk out again, what do you make of them?

    14 comments:

    Ron Combo said...

    Good point. In Italy (normally) you can go into a bar, read the paper, watch the TV, have a snooze and there's no problem. But then, the UK with all its portion control and just-in-time budgeting ain't Italy, is it.

    Tandleman said...

    I often walk out if I don't like the beer selection. It seems sensible to me.

    YCC - Dubbel said...

    I share your awkwardness at 'pub browsing'. I see a traditional local (as opposed to a faceless McSpoons or AllBarOne) as more of a cross between a shop and someone's home. It therefore comes across as a bit rude to walk in, turn your nose up at what is being offered and walk back out again - especially if the place is fairly empty and the barperson is waiting in anticipation of your order. It does make you feel like a bit of a prat in front of the locals, who are more than content with their lot. Although I won't be embarrassed into spending my hard earned cash on beer I know I won't enjoy.

    a swift one... said...

    I suffer from this syndrome terribly and always end up buying something - even keg bitter!!! - rather than just walking out. Michaela goes mad if she catches me, but then she's Italian and I'm an anal-retentive English middle-class jerk!

    Paul Garrard said...

    I did it recently in Ashbourne but I don't find it particularly easy to do. Easier if it was only keg on offer, but not that easy.

    David said...

    I recently walked in to a pub/restaurant in Denver. Saw no beer list on the menu, so asked the hostess what beer they had, she didn't know so she asked a waitress. The waitress didn't know either, and said I should go back and ask the bartender. At that point I said thanks and walked out. Didn't feel bad about it at all.

    Gazza Prescott said...

    I do it quite often; the way I see it is that if there's nothing you want then you should leave for somewhere where there is (or might be) something you'll drink. Buying something out of some naive pity or feeling of compulsion is just sad and spineless IMO.

    The SD said...

    Spot on again. You can't help but fee;l akward. Maybe it's because you know they'll talk behind your back - along the lines of "real ale t---!"

    Tyson said...

    I think you've crossed the line if you actually stay and have keg beer. That's a perfectly good excuse to leave without buying anything, preferably first telling them exactly why you're leaving.

    maeib said...

    Some good comments. I'm better at walking out than I once was. I don't have any problem in a Spoons, but do find it harder at other pubs. I think this is because you have to be in a Spoons at least two minutes before anyone behind the bar notices you.

    haddonsman said...

    Only a two-minute wait in a Spoons! New record!!

    I've no problem walking away from a pub if I don't fancy what they're flogging my money, my choice. Went on a walk last weekend, called in both pubs in one village, one had good range of cask that we enjoyed, next one had 6X and Directors, didn't fancy that so we walked out and went back to the other pub.

    And I'm used to the under-breath-muttered 'fooking ticker' from the old soaks at the bar as I beat a retreat. To which I offer the witty rejoinder...

    .."I'm not a ticker. So fook off, you fooking fook".

    YCC - Pan-C said...

    You raise an interesting issue here Maieb; I will often walk into a real ale pub, peruse the selection and chip off again if there's no scoops or beers that I rate - in my opinion any ale house worth its salt should have at least one beer on offer that's going to tempt the serious drinker.

    Certainly I've never felt any embarrassment at leaving without a purchase, but I will often qualify my departure with a comment to the effect of "nothing here to tempt me today I'm afraid..."

    On the other hand, I do put in a few hours a week behind the bar in an ale pub, and we will quite often have people walk in, look at the pumpclips and walk out again. The difference here tends to be they generally mutter something to the effect of "In't ya' got no fookin' Fosters or Carlin'?"

    I'm not going to say what I think when this happens...!

    craig garvie said...

    I can easily walk out of a pub with no Cask ale (after al a pub with no real ale deserves no respect) but i find it really difficult to walk out of a pub with half a dozen taps with nothin i want. I nearly always choose the best of whats failed to inspire me.

    Boak said...

    Tyson & Pan-C make a good point - if you're going to walk out (and you can't do it subtley!) it's probably worth mentioning why.

    I'm quite happy drinking good ales I've had before, so wouldn't leave just because they didn't have anything new on. But if they didn't have any ale at all, and I had a choice (i.e. I wasn't meeting anyone there) I'd probably leave.

    However, it's pretty rare to come across a place without any ales these days, so this hasn't happened for a very long time.