Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Chat With An Elderly Gentleman

It is time for a drink. A well earned drink, I might like to add.

You see, I have been in Reading for the past three days working on my dissertation. I managed to write 7000 words, which I think is a pretty solid effort.

I got the train back home on Wednesday evening and I met a couple of friends in the pub. A nice pint of Thatchers Gold was well deserved and thus I ordered a pint. I savoured every drop and I then went to the bar to order my next pint.

It was at the bar that I spotted something.

It was a card. However, this was not just any card. It was a card with a couple of stamps on and I quickly realised that it was one of those 'buy-5-get-one-free' incentive cards that coffee shops and the like give out to customers.

I picked up the card and observed it closer. It wasn't that fascinating but it was something to occupy my time whilst I stood at the bar waiting to be served by the adequate bar staff.

"Thought this was your lucky day, didn't you?" said an elderly man as he proceeded to take the card. As it turned out it was his card that he was collecting his stamps on in the hope of gaining that free coffee at some point in the near future.

"Oh no, I'm interested as to what it is" I replied in as convincing a manner as possible. However, it appeared like the man had brought my excuse that I had no idea what a couple of stamps on a card could be.

"It's a voucher card that I get stamped every time that I get a coffee and after five, I get a free one". I was fascinated to have learnt that he was only three coffee purchases until his long-awaited free Wetherspoons coffee.

I decided that I needed to win this man's trust. I don't like people thinking that I steal small bits of card with a couple of stamps on. That isn't a good reputation to gain.

"So it's quite a sensible idea then, isn't it?"

"Oh yes, I guess it just encourages you to buy more. However, it's so cheap that it doesn't really matter"

I pondered his point. This was true, Wetherspoons is lauded as being the cheapest pub chain. It was here that I thought of a potentially great conversation we could bond over and maybe look back on when we are best of friends in ten years time.

"Do you ever go to the Berrylands pub? It is much more expensive than here. I reckon they should have this loyalty card idea!"

"Well, you see I live in Wimbledon but I know Berrylands well. Is it the pub by the station?"

"Yes, yes it is!"

"My grandparents used to live in Berrylands so I used to go there a lot. I only really remember going to the outdoor lido. I don't think it exists anymore although there is still one in Ruislip"

The bar lady took my order and swiftly produced my drink. I paid up and said goodbye to my new friend.

I guess that I learnt a lot from this conversation. Elderly gentleman like to travel from Wimbledon to Surbiton for coffee and cheesecake and there is an outdoor lido in Ruislip. It never ceases to amaze me how much you can learn down the pub.

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