I miss casual pub crimes. Shitty stuff that people used to casually do that would have me seething through a pint for about 10 minutes or so. Someone cuts in line at the bar, the bloke walking out to the beer garden in front of you doesn’t push the door so it stays open for you, a random idiot walks between the pool table and the player, your stool gets stolen while you were having a piss even though your bag was clearly hanging on the bar hook directly in front of it. Really dumb, meaningless gear that I used to hate, but now I cherish and miss like a family friend. But where all that sat in the void of misplaced rage in my head now sits another new, much more egregious slight that I loathe far more than I ever could a knocked-over drink: People who, under lockdown pub conditions, no-show their booking.
Surry Hills bar Low 302 teed off on Facebook last weekend over a booking no-show from an “Aimee” who failed to materialise with her group of four at the pre-arranged time.
In the before time, during ordinary league play, no-showing a booking was a mild inconvenience. The pub loses a chunk of expected income, particularly if it’s a large group, but recoups some of it because some people who may have been forced to stand otherwise suddenly have a place to sit down. They get comfortable, they lean in, maybe they stay longer than they normally would.
But in lockdown conditions, when pubs are allowed precious few heads through the door, no-showing a booking is a treasonous act. You’re selfishly absorbing a massive percentage of the venue’s allowed capacity – in this case, four people represents a whopping 40% of the maximum ten – and magically erasing what little income the venue was going to pull in for that day. Worse still, you’re taking up someone else’s pub spot.
Pub spots are at a premium right now. They’re not for a casual outing. If you’re putting your name down for a seat at a boozer, you’re making a commitment. Not just to the pub, but to yourself as well. Nabbing an all-too rare tee time at the Royal Four Pines means you’re not here to play putt putt or tap out after nine. You’re loading up the one wood and blasting off for a full lap of the course.
If you score a booking, keep it. And if you truly can’t make it, call and cancel well ahead of time.
Failure to do either of those things should, in a just world, result in a permanent pub ban once restrictions lift. A unified hospitality blacklist should be launched purely for people who do so. It should be binding and enforceable at every licensed venue in the country.
Anything less than that is a complete travesty of pub justice as far as I’m concerned.
Simply failing to show up is an act of dire bastardry. It’s completely disrespectful. You’ll have let me down, you’ll have let other seasoned pissheads down, you’ll have let yourself down, and most importantly of all, you’ll have let the pub down.
Do not let the pub down.Image: Getty Images / David Gray