I would not normally go to three pubs in a month, but today I managed three pubs in the same day!Â First was the one over the road from work for a leaving do – there were a lot of them today as a result of our restructuring.Â Then in the evening it was across to Horsham for a meal with some Labour Party members there, after which there was time to catch the end of Covered‘s set at the Queen’s Head.
I over heard something in the first pub that made me ponder a bit though.
When I got there I was up at the bar and found that service was slow because there was only one person behind the bar.Â Maybe we should have told them that we had a lot of people leaving today.Â Anyway, a couple of middle-aged ladies came in and one said to the other “which side do you think the queue is?Â Where is the end of the queue?”
Obviously they are not seasoned pub-goers because it struck me that there never is a queue in a pub: it is just a free-for-all.Â How did that come about?Â Â As a nation we have a well-deserved reputation for being inveterate queuers with an unwritten queue etiquette at least as complicated as the rules of cricket and yet inside pubs the concept of a queue does not exist outside of the toilets.
It is not so much a matter of who was there first as who shouts the loudest, has the sharpest elbows, catches the barman’s eye, waves their tenner the best or is most attractive/scary.Â Behaviour that would cause a riot of tutting in the post office is standard behaviour at the bar.Â Anywhere else in the country you would never stand waiting to be served while one newcomer after another gets their order in before you.Â I wonder how that became the norm in pubs?