Friday, 6 May 2011

Great Eastern Pub, Brighton

The poor unwelcome here
Yesterday I popped into the Great Eastern pub on Trafalgar Street in Brighton to meet George and Diane.  We were having a nice drink and a chat in the sun when the afternoon turned sour.

I sat down, had a pint with my erstwhile busking buddy and we began chatting. A little earlier he had had a disagreement with the man serving behind the counter who I think was the landlord. Basically, he had been waiting quite a while and the guy serving had been ignoring him.

A couple kept um-ing and ah-ing about what they were going to order and finally settled on a cocktail for which the pub didn't have the oranges for it, or something like that. So, they were still um-ing and ah-ing. George grew a little impatient and asked whether, while they were deciding, he could order a drink.

The landlord looked at him very dismissively and replied in what George understood to be a rather rude fashion. Eventually, he was served but he felt like the landlord was being rather off with him.

George and Diane were sat outside on the benches where customers sit. They know a lot of the poor, homeless and drink and drug addicts of London Road. Four or five came along and said hello and chatted, asking how George and Diane were. A couple of girls with white rosary beads came along, talked to George and Diane and called them 'Mum' and 'Dad'.  George and Diane really care about a lot of the poor of Brighton, having known at least some of their experiences in life. They have the trust and love of the poor of London Road.

Anyway, so after I'd given George his St George's day card, albeit somewhat belatedly, we returned to chatting when the landlord and a man who turns out to be the proprietor of the pub sat down. The disagreement over what had happened with regard to being served reappeared. George said something about the fact that respect is a two way street. It was clear that there was quite some animosity towards George from the landlord. They had a little disagreement outside while sat on the benches and left it there. Then, while the landlord and proprietor were sat nearby, in earshot granted, I asked George what was going on. He went on to explain what had happened, to me.

While George was telling me what had taken place, the landlord suddenly got in a huff. I told him, George and I were having a private conversation and that if he didn't like it he could go inside or something. I must say the landlord was most conceited in the way he talked to George. He became visibly angry, his face wobbling with anger and eventually blurted out that neither George, nor I were welcome in his pub, that we should drink up and leave. So, I said to the guy words to the effect that this all seems a little disproportionate to what had happened. Nobody had raised their voice or their arm. It sounded to me like customer service (the customer is always right and all that) was something reserved only to some, but not to others. George said words to the effect that if he wanted us to leave they should give us our money back for the drinks we had just that second bought (my round, you understand). The landlord said no, but the owner of the pub convinced him to do so. Both were incredibly arrogant in their behaviour towards George and me too. I thought George, in contrast, was relatively mild-mannered and restrained.

For some reason, the landlord asked me what I do for a living. I don't start the exam invigilating until Monday, so I told him I was unemployed. He looked at me and said, "That doesn't surprise me!" What a cheek! And he's saying that to one of his customers! Anyway, so I said to him, "We'll go, but remember that old adage about a bad customer experience, about how that customer tells at least 7 people and those 7 people tell another 7 people and that's how some businesses fail - bad reputation." Then, to my outrage (Peter Tatchell, eat your heart out), he said sneeringly, "You're not customers." So, I said back to him, "Oh, why is that?" and he replied, "er...because you're barred." So, I said to him words to the effect that that was not what I thought he meant. I told him words to the effect that I think what he really meant is that he thinks he is more human than we are but that really he is inhuman.

Now, that may have been grossly uncharitable of me to say that, but I just couldn't understand why both the landlord and the owner of the joint had it in for George, who, were he a different 'class' of customer, who perhaps wasn't on friendly terms with some of Brighton's poor, then he might just have been differently treated. Secondly, as far as customer service goes, it was just absolutely appalling. The customer is always right, at least that is what I was told when I worked for Halfords in my teens, even when they're wrong. I was shocked and appalled at George's treatment. Personally, I think he just hated George because he hates the poor and probably hates the Lord Jesus too, Who, of course, loves him dearly (so important to remember that!).

Anyway, that's all folks. I've written this post for one reason and one reason only. To show the Great Eastern pub that a bad customer experience is told to at least 7 people, who then in turn tell 7 other people and that this effect is even more magnified, when you tell all the readers of your blog which gets around 800-1000 hits a day. Don't go to the Great Eastern pub, local readers, they persecute the poor and banish them from their premises only for speaking their minds and for standing up for their consumer rights. What is more, I'll bet there's not that much on Google search about the Great Eastern pub, so this should go quite near the top of the search engine results in no time whatsoever. I haven't labelled a post for ages. I think I'll do it this time. It helps with Google search results, apparently. I think I might Twitter this and Facebook it too. God bless you, readers! This is my first, but possibly not the last, pub review. To their credit, the beer was nice...Horrid staff, though.

Mwa-hah-hah! Nobody expects a mystery shopper! Gosh! What do you know!? Its on the first page of Google already! Mwa-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah!


Last Knight said...

Thank you for your thorough review, Bones. As a resident of Brighton and beer drinker I can confirm that your comments have spared me the trouble of having to investigate the merits of this establishment for myself. I shall simply give it a miss.

Anonymous said...


If you wish to do so, please do leave a comment on the review at either summarising what happened or linking to this page. (Comments there are moderated, so wouldn't appear immediately)

Ano nym

Ben Trovato said...

I can exclusively reveal that the Great Eastern has been taken over by the Westminster Diocese Education Service, and in the interests of fairness only rich locals are now welcome. Its previous policy of admitting people from all over Brighton was clearly discriminatory...

Steve T said...

I have visited that pub on a number of occasions and I have always been served speedily and courteously. The three staff members I've dealt with were all extremely friendly and helpful - one in particular had an encyclopaedic knowledge of American whiskeys and helped me choose. I refer to this pub to my friends at home in Spain as 'the best pub in England'

Steve Turpin

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