The Worst Types of People I Met While Working in a Crap Pub

Three men walked into a bar... and they were all pricks.

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12 December 2014, 6:30am

Photo by Ben Bentley

It's good to keep an open mind about the kind of shit that people in badly paid jobs go through so you don't have to. Have you ever spared a thought for the people who work in the cheap pubs of Britain? Cheap pubs with nothing but horse-racing and BBC News 24 playing on mute on a flat screen? With sick on the carpet and blood on the urinal walls? Well: do.

Because cheap pubs need cheap workers. And for these workers, the internal music player in their heads is the thudding sound of their life repeatedly hitting a brick wall. Having been a pub worker myself, I can tell you that it's isn't the drip trays that do you in, or the late nights, or the dropping a stack of pint glasses on the floor so everyone shouts "WAYYYYY!" – it's the slobbering bastards who prop up the bar.

Unfortunately though, these people are the self-proclaimed foundations to your income, so you're sort of handcuffed to the radiator of their love. They are both the carrot and the stick. So you have to be nice to them even if they ask for Guinness last after reeling off a round of lagers.

Photo via WikiCommons.

The Victim
Of all the methods of getting my attention at the bar – the clickers, the leaners, the blokes who jitter in place behind a wave of other customers, bobbing their head over the crowds and putting one pathetic finger on the bar to hold their space, as though I'm going to ping a J20 over to them through what is essentially a student kettle – it's the victims who are the worst. And they seem to come in waves; hordes of tuts, of checking their watch whenever they make fleeting eye contact, of making that little strangled "O—!" sound when they think they are going to get served ahead of anyone else. They've got a £20 note slowly growing damp in their fist and they're not afraid to flutter it about like a handkerchief of surrender. They are in the crowd without being aware of the crowd. They are infantile and they are pathetic.

If you're in an evil bastard sort of mood, victims can make your shift quite fun. Think about it: you are the sole controller of their immediate happiness. You bear the goods and they're screaming for it in their own helpless way. A touch of hate stirs up a counter effect to the guilt. Take your time with these ones – they may seem restless, but they will wait. That is their answer to life: wait, complain, wait some more and then have a pint. A true Brit.

The Brat
Cheap pub or not: a Saturday night will always bring out those with more disposable income than brain cells. As much as big-spending partygoers can be the life of the night, the Brat is a subcategory of those who in this brief moment of expense will think they're a local celebrity. They are Arg from TOWIE and that pug-looking fucker off of Made in Chelsea all rolled into one. They weren't borne from a womb; they were made when a wizard dropped a plastic champagne flute on a Topman suit at a shit wedding reception. They have £25 of cheap beak in their pocket and they are not afraid to let you know about it. They will click their fingers at you so hard it must cause them joint pain.

But when they are buying three bottles of marked-up Moet and a grimy tray full of Jamesons shots, they may as fucking well be famous. That's the hardest thing: watching the kind of twats who probably think custom number plates are the height of sophistication waft around the bar like they own the place, while people stand there and resolutely don't punch them. That's the way to deal with Brats: quickly, and efficiently. A tight smile that says, "If your card gets declined I'm sending the CCTV footage of your crestfallen face to all my mates."

Incomprehensible Girl and Her Wife-Beating Escort
Probably the least fun. The girl will hate you before she even reaches the bar. He will too. Don't smile at them. The guy will think you're flirting and so will she. Their worlds are governed with paranoia. These two-headed dragons will cook you alive at the first opportunity. She will be beyond pissed, and to deny either of them service will be like telling a rabid dog to sit down. "I wan' threee samboo-cahs... no, no... four samboo-cahs... six shots of Fosters... err."

The dickhead by her side will stand there eyeballing you like you don't understand the universal language of Arseholese. "Didn't you hear her, mate?" he's saying. "ZAM-BOO-CAH." She will be staggering like a tranquillised deer on stilts, caught in unfortunate circumstances that have doomed her to be miserable. He'll just stand there like some ex-KGB officer with his chest pumped and eyes fixated on you. No smiles, just the desperation to black out and forget their night together. Insecurity and misogyny have a troubled past together. His sturdiness and smile-less face could by all means indicate just one of those bad nights. But there's an air to these kinds of couples; one that gives you the answer to why she is so wasted. An air that says, "If someone is using the fruit machine when he decides he wants a go on it, we're going to have to call the police."

The Greaser
Pick-up artists get a bad rap these days, and that's because they're among the worst people alive. Shit pubs have their own versions: less peacocking, more "I actually keep every copy of Nuts I buy." Very human stains all up their trousers. But don't be fooled into thinking these men are in any way innocent or loveable – these vulturous bloodsuckers are constantly on the hunt. You can spot them because they will do magic hand tricks over the glasses of Bacardi-Cokes they are buying for girls. They are true evil shrouded in a cloud of Joop! Jump.

(Photo by Nick Meares)

The Nutcase
Problematic and unsolvable. These cretins want your blood. Whether metaphorically or physically, they are merciless at what they do. A rare strain of prick as they will just appear at any time of the day and come at you with persistence – without the need of alcohol. Clear and audible insults will be made in the manner of this: "You're so slow at your job. Are you a fucking robot or something?" They like to repeat rhetorical questions too, like they're asking something deeper within themselves. They leave. Next customer – yet something is hovering in the corner of your eye. It will be him. "Isn't he just a fucking robot? Look at him. He needs new batteries." Their influence among others is heavy and they will try to turn the pub against you if they can. Manipulative but clumsy. The Nutter's bursts of anger will indicate a lack of control. Also, they always seem to pay with large, hot handfuls of 20p pieces. If need be, work with their stupidity and get them kicked out. Change that battery, you cunt.

The sad truth is that people are stuck in these positions, working their arses off for a wage that covers the essentials to stay alive. There are so many contradictory terms in Britain at the moment, like: living wage; higher paid jobs in London; customer is always right. You aren't living until you're earning £7.65. There are higher paid jobs in London but your rent will soon diminish any hope of that being a positive. The customer is right. Britain is a cruel, unforgivable place at times. Instead of getting excited about a minute pay rise we should be putting focus on trying to make people somewhat happy about that large factor of they life they spend labouring away.

@steebradbury

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