Shit happens...

Ive often wondered why people think running a pub is easy.I mean, would I set myself up as a garage and start repairing cars? No.I wouldn't dream of it because I don't have the skills to do it.
People really have no idea whats involved in running a food business .
Take the other night for example,after a particularly busy service by around 10.30 Chef made an appearance in the bar to partake of a well earned refreshing beverage.There was a local couple at the bar who'd eaten,quite intelligent people with professional jobs.They chatted with Chef for a while,then the husband innocently and with obvious envy enquired:
' you have you first pint around midday?'
It was clear the intention wasn't to cause offence,he was deadly serious,it was in fact a genuine enquiry..Chef looked slightly puzzled then laughed off the comment.
After they'd left we looked at each other. and shook our heads in amazement.
'He thinks I'm an effing alcofrolic'
'No he just has no idea what the job entails'
Similarly, another regular recently commented that despite not getting much time off at least we didn't 'start work till 12 midday'.
So all the menu miraculously preps itself and the pair of us swan in at opening time to plate the whole effing lot up.
And the other one that gets my goat are the jokers who fancy running a pub when they retire.
Like its some kind of hobby and a RETIREMENT PLAN.

Yes,there's a lot more than you would imagine involved in running a pub.
And if you fancy trying your hand at  this business be warned,there is nothing you can't be prepared to do.
Actually, there's way more than even I bargained for.
Last weekend was a typical example.
Late on Friday night just as things were quietening off I was called over by a smartly dressed couple.
'Excuse me,I'm afraid someone has messed in your toilet'
(Note the use of the word 'your' whenever theres a problem this word is deployed rather than 'the' it neatly transfers ownership and responsibility for any mess.)
'Messed' in itself is a fairly innocuous word but don't be fooled, its usually a euphemism for any manner of shit be it floor,seat or wall.With the exception being in the actual bowl itself.
I groaned.
There is no way you can ignore something like this especially when a customer has kindly drawn it to your attention.

Due to there being no other suitable delegate present for the job I knew Id have to commandeer the clean up operation myself.
I hurriedly assembled a crack unit for the mission consisting of meself and a particularly naive seventeen year old who'd only just learnt how to operate the Hoover.Not ideal and perhaps not the brightest decision I've ever made,but you know needs must and its always better to have a bit of back up in situations like this.

'Get the products' I ordered my wingman.
Grabbing a couple of sets of disposables from the kitchen I snapped the gloves onto my wrists with equal amounts of vigour and false bravado.
The Publicans Best Friend


The couple on the table next to the loo were fully aware of the mission and savouring every bit of Schadenfreude they could muster.

Following entry and with all guns blazing, my wingman was looking more like a Japanese fighter pilot,hands gripping the controls ,products for grim death,a stray tear silently trickling down her left cheek,with the odd involuntary stifled scream inadvertently escaping.
Once you've completed a job like this,you've no appetite for the rest of the day.Its just a shame I've usually consumed the whole days calorific intake by lunchtime otherwise I'd be onto a winner..

I wont go into exact details but suffice to say the public seem to have a whole different set of personal etiquette standards once they leave the comfort of their own homes.And clearly a segment of the population are in possession of the weirdest type of multi directional splatter backsides.
Its quite simple really: 
Sit down and remain seated for the whole performance.

Come Saturday lunchtime we were pretty manic as usual, when The Blonde appeared,face distorted in pain and repeatedly uttering 'Nooo Nooooo'
'Whats happened now??' I say.
'I went to the loo and the cubicle door was open and there was an old lady,legs splayed wide and a younger one trying to sort her out...and Biff....her fanjo was on full view...''

Jesus,Mary and Joseph.. (anyone who knows me will realise this is a blasphemy i reserve for only very special occasions).

They were in the loo for ages.We were increasingly looking at each other ever more worriedly, imagining what kind of fall out would be left.
Much later the two emerged from the toilet and we all exhaled an audible sigh of relief.
The younger one came over to pay the bill.
'Im sorry...Im afraid we had a bit of a ...well a bit of a situation in there...and  im afraid, Ive well... Ive used your nice napkins... well... to clean up if you see what I mean..and rather than block up your toilet Ive put them in the you might want to go in and well empty the ...well the bin.... if you see what I mean ...'
Well you're not wrong there pet.
Curse the flaming day that I bought nice quilted expensive hand towels(Texicell) for wiping hands, a bit of a luxurious treat for me customers instead of the usual cheap tat you get in most pubs.And curse the flaming day someones beady eyes alighted on them and thought they'd do a far better job of wiping someones elderly arse than the bog paper especially provided for that exact task and of which there was on this occasion a plentiful supply available in the flaming toilet.
 'I told you it was a mistake to buy those' said Chef helpfully and with one eye ever on the GP..
On the bright side the bog wasn't blocked.
I smiled a fake smile and assured the woman that was fine.
The Blonde was visibly cringing at the thought of the shiny stainless steel bin crammed to overflowing with shit encrusted  hand towels,no doubt already beginning to hum in the warm damp conditions,a perfect environment for development of maximum pong in minimum time.
I looked at her beseechingly.
'Would you???Pleeease??...'
The Blonde raised her hand in a 'hold my wave' kinda way..
'Sorry Biff...but not in my job description.'
'But I cleaned up yesterday??? perleeeease???'
The Blonde folded her arms decisively, slowly raising one eyebrow in expectation.
I got the cue immediately.
'Bottle of Pinot?'
'I'll get the gloves'
Every time something like this happens I can't help but greet the person emerging from the zone with the question 'did you wash your hands?'
Without fail the reply always comes back  'NOOOOOO..'
I never learn.

As you all know shit happens and shits are much like buses, you wait for ages for one then three come by at the same time.In this event all in the space of one weekend...

By Sunday lunchtime I was kinda coasting,night off in sight when OCD boy burst into the kitchen.
'Biff someones having a stroke in the dining room'
'Ring an ambulance'
When I got to the casualty he was indeed unconscious eyes lolling back,daughter panicking.
For the second time in as many weeks I relayed instructions from the emergency operator.
Thankfully he came round and was talking normally,but beginning to gag.
The dining room was packed with Sunday lunchers all troughing on appetising roast dinners,there was no doubt a spot of unscheduled barfing was definitely going to kill that ambience.
A woman from an adjacent table came to help and we managed to move him through the fire exit door to the garden for some air.He was sat in a garden chair when he started to vom into the bin liner(heavy duty) which Id intuitively grabbed from under the sink in the kitchen.
As we waited for emergency services he decided he needed the loo.
The son in law took him,he was looking a little better but still grey at the gills and a bit disorientated.
Shortly afterwards the ambulance arrived and the drama was over.
Im not sure what made me ask OCD boy to check out the mens bog but we knew there was a problem as soon as we heard the groan and accompanying 'OH NO'
He had chucked his lumps just outside the toilet door.
But Reader,the Gods were with me,what better candidate for an efficient clean up job than an individual who enjoys,nay is verily obsessed with that exact task?
With the mens netty being outside(primitive I know) and the pile of steaming vomit being between the back door to the pub and entrance to the loo,thankfully there was a drain located nearby which we were able the swill the detritus toward.I was of course on hand to offer helpful suggestions 'watch you don't stand in that bit' and a plentiful supply of bleach.
Kills all known germ DEAD.

Midway through the clean up Chef peered with half interest through the kitchen window and pondered aloud one of the few remaining unsolved mysteries of the universe:
'Why is there always diced carrot?'

So. Unless you fancy spending the whole of your weekend cleaning up a sea of human effluent I suggest you stick to the day job...

NOTE:The Sunday lunch barfer was found to be suffering a virus and suffered no long term ill effects.


Alison Cross said…
oh deary, deary me! How awful. I hate going into a loo to discover that there is a bit of a mess. One feels duty bound to explain to the next person that it wasn't you. And of course, they think that it WAS you.

I think that you might have to invest in a 12-bottle box for staff to 'encourage' them to help with the clearing up!
UrsulaFletcher said…
Was just about to have my breaky but feel sick now :( Definitely worth paying the staff with a bottle of wine or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7....... Whatever it takes, I just couldn't :(
Ro said…
Having been a barmaid for a number of years, I know the endless amount of work it takes to run a pub. And oooohhhh, the nasty jobs. I think the highlight of my career was scooping chicken-wing vomit from a urinal. I've also had to clean pissed-on upholstery and pulled up the trousers of a punter who passed out while having a slash in the car park. Not how I envisage my retirement, that's for sure. Hell, I felt too old for it when I hit thirty.
Expat mum said…
Oh that's it, I'll have to change my retirement plans. I van't stand shit. I can clean up vom till I'm blue in the face (although would rather not) but any type of excrement has me throwing up and making matters worse.
Wally Bell said…
smaleseAhh, the joys of pub life. It never fails to amaze me how people can get shit on the walls, but they do.
Vivianne said…
Oh my, I do not miss that kind of thing AT ALL. And it is kind of sad how many redundant bus drivers lost the whole lot having been roped in to the 'easy life' ,as naive as an American, by a brewery :-(

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