The Bar Man: From my post-bag

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Dear Barman – Recently I went to one of these posh pubs with a separate dining area. During the course of our meal, the waitress offered to bring us some more drinks. I ordered a pint, but when it arrived it was not full. Should I ask for it to be topped up? J

Dear J – If I am at a bar and I am served short measure I always ask politely for my pint to be topped up. In a dining room this is more difficult as it may mean catching the eye of the waitress again and subjecting her to another trip to the bar. Often waitresses are not trained to pull pints and it is not really their fault that your drink is not perfect.

However apart from your small loss of money, it is not good for a pub to get a reputation for serving short measure, so it may be worth having a discreet word to explain the situation. B

Dear Barman – That went well. My pint was topped up and the landlord apologised, and although he did say that the waitress was being sacked in the morning, I think he was joking. However it happened again. This time we had booked a table in a pub near Carlisle and when we arrived there was confusion over where we were sitting and a lot of shuffling about. The waitress apologised and offered us a drink on the house to compensate. When we wanted a refill she brought a pint from the bar which was desperately short measure. This raises another dilemma. If the beer is on the house should I complain? J

Dear J – It does seem a bit mean to complain about a free drink being short measure. Are you from Yorkshire? B

Dear Barman – No I am not, so I have decided to make the most of my good fortune and drink it without a murmur. However when the bill arrives it is clear that they have forgotten to deduct the cost of the drink. What should I do? J

Dear J – It seems that you have three choices. You are probably in a good mood after watching a great 3-0 victory at Carlisle in the afternoon. The beer is good and the food excellent. Why not just forget it. On the other hand, if you feel that strongly you could knock the cost of the missing beer off your generous tip. (You were going to leave a generous tip weren’t you?). The third option is to mention it when you pay the bill. Having drunk the pint you have no evidence to back up your claim that the pint was short (unless you are one of those people who take pictures of your food and drink) or that one of the staff offered you a drink on the house. On the other hand you may be protecting the reputation of the pub if you do mention it.

I guess what will happen if you do mention it is that they will be very apologetic and deduct the cost of the beer from your bill. You, however, will feel so bad about raising the issue that you will leave an extra-large tip for the staff, just to prove that it was not a money issue, and making it possible to look forward to a return visit if Bury fail to gain promotion and Carlisle survive relegation. Unlikely I grant you.

Note. Any similarity with real events in this fictitious exchange of correspondence is purely coincidental. Then again coincidences sometimes happen.