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Overheard in Pubs/Bottle Shops - Should I be angry?

Should I be angry? 

Are assumptions and ignorance really something I should be enraged by? 

Or should we shrug it off? 

Recently, I considered compiling a post of “overheard in the pub” comments since I had a keen fortnight with an endless number of gems to post about. The stream of amusing yet enraging pub nonsense seemed to be coming out of fellow customer’s mouths at a generous rate. 

Overheard in the Grove, Huddersfield

“I’ll just have a Guinness.” I’m not sure they do Guinness.” “Hiya mate, can I have three Guinness’ please?” 

“Is there no regular bitter?” “We have Magic Rock’s Ringmaster. That’s a light bitter at 3.9%.” “Alright pal, two of those with a lemonade top.” 

“What have you got that’s like Foster’s?” 

“Ooh, I might get that Thornbridge.” “Woah woah, don’t be too hasty, there’s a lot of choice in here. Let’s look at the whole selection. Yep, thought as much – three landlords, please.” 

“The problem with this place is there’s no John Smith’s.” 

“4.8%? No thanks. That’s the sort of beer you end the night on.” 

“I don’t like a lot of these beers. Have you ever heard of Doom Bar?” 

“What lagers have you got?” “Crystal and Budvar. Budvar is the stronger one. Which one would you like?” “The cheapest one.” 

“We’re doing the Real Ale trail. Two brandies with coke and a pint of lager, please.” 

We’ve all heard similar comments in other establishments across the country, I am sure. These days the reaction is just a raised eyebrow, a moment of judging the person and finally an amused shake of the head or sigh. You can’t save everybody

This post, however, was inspired by my first trip to Browton’sbottle shop in Ashton-Under-Lyne at the weekend. The shop itself is a terrific little place and Simon (the owner) is a great guy. Whilst I perused the bottles and debated how much I could carry without causing permanent spinal injury, I overheard a gentlemen at the counter reference the selection of Beavertown and Fourpure cans in one section of the shop. 

“When are you getting more of those American cans in? I want to try the Neck Oil.” 


What do I do? 

I was torn between sounding an uppity, pompous tool and correcting the man on the nationality of one of the country’s current best breweries or snorting loudly and shaking my head with an irritatingly smug grin on my face. Apparently, I am not a nice man. 

Perhaps I should have interrupted and with an air of generosity and understanding explained that the cans weren’t American but it was an honest mistake. 

I didn’t do anything. 

I’m still annoyed at myself now. 

“When are you getting more of those American cans in? I want to try the Neck Oil.” 

I had to repeat it to see if I’m over-reacting. This to me is more of an irritancy than the knave who wanted lemonade in his Ringmaster. 

Do we react? Do we educate? Do we act like know-it-all parvenus whose expertise must be enforced on unwitting strangers? Am I the only person outraged by this?

“American cans.”


Cooking Lager said…
What are you, the beer police?
Mark Johnson said…
Is that a real job? Is there a training centre? I want to join!
Anonymous said…
Ha Ha, I remember that, happens quite often, maybe because Beavertown Gamma & Fourpure Brown say *American* on them, or because they're next to the Brooklyn Lager cans...
As a shopkeeper I tend to refrain from correcting customers misunderstandings unless it's likely to lead to them ending up with something that isn't quite what they expected ie choosing a Quantum Berliner Schwarz assuming it to be a crisp German style lager. It's different with people you know but strangers can be left embarrassed. If they're interested enough in the beer they'll read the label eventually.
Customers correcting other customers happens now & then but always ends up a bit uncomfortable, so you probably made the right decision.
The big question is what am I doing selling CANS in a BOTTLE shop......
Mark Johnson said…
As soon as I published this I thought about that... They've just always been referred to as "bottle shops" for as long as I can remember. "Beer shop" will have to do but there's something odd about that name. You'll have to rebrand the whole thing and tell us what to call them. Specialist Beer shop is too damn long

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