Pub Pair

My final foray into the world of service was by far the worst. The landlady was a useless, lazy spineless idiot with a similarly useless, lazy spineless lump of a husband (who did not have a job at all, even in the pub). The landlady did no work whatsoever, preferring to hide upstairs despite not scheduling enough staff on because she would “cover it.” We would quite often end up with a bar queue three people deep, the kitchen bell going constantly with food and not a clean glass in sight, while she would be upstairs having her hair dyed. The husband was a really odd guy who never wore shoes even at the rare times he managed to lift a finger behind the bar. He constantly went around in increasingly battered and filthy novelty Homer Simpson slippers and I never saw him wear anything else.

She did absolutely none of the usual back of house things that managers usually do — deliveries, cashing up etc. She had us doing all of it. The only thing she actually controlled was the stock ordering and auditing and would never allow anyone else to be involved in at all. It became clear why she was so militant about that shortly before I quit. She really loved being able to say “on the house” to people and was giving freebies out left, right and centre. Every drop of alcohol that her and the husband drank came from behind the bar and every meal they had came out of the kitchen — breakfast, lunch and dinner. Which, for two people and a young child over a prolonged period of time, racks up to quite a hefty amount of lost stock that hasn’t been paid for.

The brewery who owned the place started to get suspicious. The more pressure put on her by the brewery meant the more pressure she put on us. She used to sit us all down (with her husband, who was not a manager or even a member of staff) and accuse us all of stealing because they were a few bottles of spirits down, or a few pints etc. Every one of these occurrences would end with her saying the missing stock was going to have to be paid for out of the tips. It eventually came out that they were around £12,000 down in stock in total, occurring over about a year, which was why they were so manic when it came to the stock orders and audits. They were trying to cover their own tracks. Trust me when I say, there wasn’t a single staff member there who was stealing a thing. It was all them. A few months after I left the brewery finally saw sense and sacked them. That pair well and truly ran that place into the ground.

Comments (12)

JeffJanuary 6th, 2011 at 9:56 am

I was confused by your references to “the landlady”. In the US, “landlady” means the woman who owns the building that the business leases space in, but you seem to be referring to the general manager of the pub. So I’m guessing this was in some other country.

JennaJanuary 6th, 2011 at 10:47 am

In the UK the landlady is usually just the woman in charge who usually lives above the pub but doesn’t necessary own it.

tronnerJanuary 6th, 2011 at 11:29 am

I think there is a lot of this type of behavior in the restaurant business. Someone wants to be the “cool guy” and hand out things to their friends, be the neighborhood draw, all the while pulling in bucket loads of money without lifting a finger. Too bad the reality is something far different.

@Jeff. I caught that it was a different country by the OP’s use of the “pound” prefix instead of $$$, but that’s just me :)

JChiefJanuary 6th, 2011 at 11:48 am


Color me confused as well. My theory is that these shitbirds owned the property and rented it out to the Brewery. But then the OP wouldn’t be saying they “should” be working the back office… f*ck it, I’m now totally confused.

thatenglishchickJanuary 6th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Pubs in the UK are lease-hold (a brewery owns it, and the landlord/landlady run it for them and get paid an annual wage plus bonuses to do so. They usually live above the pub too), or freehold (it is owned personally by the landlord/landlady, so it’s a lot more hard work, with more personal loss if something goes wrong, but you can make better money).

Lease-hold pubs are more common, with chains such as Mitchells & Butlers (who own Wetherspoon, Edwards, and O-Neills, amongst others), who run more modern pubs/bars (so there’s no upstairs living accomodation), or Hobgoblin, which is more likely to own traditional and older pubs, where the landlord/landlady live above it.

I hope that explains everything!

MeshellJanuary 6th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

@ThatEnglishChick – You’re awesome for doing the work these guys could have done if they google’d it. ;) I wasn’t sure about the tenant laws, but I wasn’t too confused either.

thatenglishchickJanuary 6th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

@Meshell, I live in England and I know a lot about running pubs, having worked in them for 3 years ;) but yes I agree, a simple Google check would most likely have revealed all.

thatenglishchickJanuary 6th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Oh, and I should have added, one of my best friend lives in a freehold pub with her parents! It’s called “The Swan Inn” and it’s in a Dorset village called Stalbridge. It’s a very, very typical quirky, old country pub. It used to be a coaching inn, so they have several ghosts (!) and a secret priest hole in their upstairs living room (used for hiding Catholic priests from Protestants) that leads into the house next door.

TedJanuary 6th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

A “secret priest hole”? gross

clever nameJanuary 6th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

That EnglishChick, that sounds like the best pub ever! How fun to hang out somewhere with so much history…

LisaJanuary 7th, 2011 at 10:28 am

“Secret priest holes” sound like an illicit confessional booth feature, employed as penance for little boys who’ve sinned.

NigelJanuary 7th, 2011 at 4:58 pm



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