Good riddance to greedy blood-sucking landlords

Good riddance to greedy blood-sucking landlords

by The Codgers' Club Friday, February 15 2013

by David Jones

I have been considering the likely fate of another species destined to join the endangered list, along with the sciurus vulgaris (red squirrel) and the alauda arvensis (skylark).

I am referring, of course, to the landlordicus publicus greedicus, more commonly known as the greedy pub landlord.

This is a sub-species of landlordicus publicus (genial mine host), which has mutated and taken to blood-sucking because of shrinking habitat and declining numbers of suitable prey.

But let’s get serious. Publicans everywhere are facing a battle for survival, especially those stuck in the past and unable to offer their customers little more than a pint and a bar to lean on.

The cull of pubs in Medway makes depressing reading. In common with most other places, numerous hostelries in the Towns have gone belly up.

While many landlords try to give their customers value for money in difficult times, an increasing number have embarked on a path of blatant rip-off, especially where food is concerned.

To survive these days, a pub has to offer a welcoming ambience, good beer, a wide selection of quality wine, plus a varied lunch and evening menu – and all at affordable prices. And it’s no use just relying on “the regulars.” Bert from down the road who spends all evening drinking half of bitter won’t do much for a pub’s finances.

Some innovative marketing is crucial to pull in customers from further afield, though nothing too dramatic for fear of alienating the locals, some of whom will have more money to spend than Bert.

For my own part, I have never been much of a pub boozer. Three pints have always been my absolute limit and, these days, two is nearer the mark. My bladder isn’t what used to be. And I was shocked on a rare recent visit to a pub to be charged £3.20 for a pint. Perhaps I should get out more.

If the truth be known, I prefer wine. But I do enjoy, when finances permit, splashing out on an evening pub meal with a group of friends.

Some of my recent pub visits – I can get out more now that I am retired – underlined my contention that some publicans deserve to go bust.

Twice in five weeks we have visited village pubs in Kent and ordered a meal, once at lunchtime and once in the evening.

On the first occasion I was charged £12.95 for fish and chips, plus a helping of mushy peas which looked as though it had been put on the plate with a teaspoon.

In all, a meal so minuscule I felt like saying: “We didn’t order anything from the children’s menu.”

On the second occasion, we were charged around £15 a head for a poorly cooked main course, with my dish of baked cod loin being so small it could easily have been baked minnow. This time I filled in the What Did You Think? card given to us by the landlord in less than complimentary terms.

The landlords who own or manage such pubs, whether in town or country, are in business on borrowed time. They may provide more than beer and a counter to lean on, but they are insulting their customers’ intelligence – and rifling their wallets.

People are not stupid. They know when they are being ripped off. And they will vote with their feet.

Fortunately, there are still many pubs which offer good value meals at affordable prices.

They deserve to survive.

Those which treat their customers with contempt, just to make a fast buck, deserve to die.

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Categories: Moans and groans

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The Codgers' Club

They are the old boys who like nothing more than to moan and groan about life's everyday problems. The Codgers' Club members - Peter Cook, David Jones and Alan Watkins - grumble through life, always viewing the glass as half-empty. Here they share their latest wit and wisdom.

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