Friday, 1 September 2017
Picture the scene. A pub. It's 8:30 on a Sunday night. A group of boisterous, balloon-wielding women fall through the door. An ambulatory birthday party, if you. They want drink. And food. And they want it now.
Unfortunately, food service finished at 8pm. Upon being told this, the leader of the women (there is always a 'leader' in this situation, usually the most forward and loud) is very unhappy, saying her group have walked a mile from the town centre and the food serving hours were not mentioned when she called yesterday. This despite said hours being displayed on the website, Facebook, and the bloody big sign outside.
The women leave in bad grace, and hang about outside, probably awaiting some kind of compensatory offer that, unfortunately for them, never comes.
Entitlement is everywhere now. The British as a people used to be notorious for not complaining about things, no matter what appalling events happened to them. For better or worse, the reason the "Keep Calm And Carry On" poster is iconic is because in the second decade of the 21st century it is ironic.
With the increase in the service sector, competition in all sectors has increased. Encouraged by this, in the event of some kind of mishap,the once-docile customer now expects and, more to the point, feels entitled to both a grovelling apology and a freebie to keep their "dignity" intact. And woe betide any business that doesn't provide this. This stuff is the bread and butter of review sites such as TripAdvisor, where the threat of an online slaughtering that anyone can see is seen as enough to extract suitable compensation out of a pub or restaurant.
I cannot see this tendency lessening in future. Customers know pubs are struggling at the moment, and most are desperate to maintain their customers level, never mind increase it. So it will continue, and more and more will be expected.
Unfortunately, as this always costs actual money it will help contribute to a pub's demise. And what service will they get then?