Monday, 28 September 2009

THE GREAT BEER RIP-OFF

I have officially been a victim of daylight robbery. You see, I made the big mistake of popping into the Venus Taverna in Margate (that's right, you are officially named and shamed). Basically, I ordered a pint of Fosters and a bottle of Becks. The barmaid stared at me blankly and said: “That'll be £6 please.”

“£6?,” I replied. “Are you sure? That can't be right – the Fosters was £3.”

“Yeah, that's right. The bottle of becks is £3. The pint of Fosters is £3. That's £6 in total.”

At which point, of course, I could hardly contain my disbelief. Are they having a sodding laugh? Trust me, I don't intend to get all Tony Hancock here (“A pint?! That's very nearly an armful!” etc.), but I do honestly think that £3 for a bottle of Becks is a bit steep, especially if you weigh up all of the facts under a fine tooth comb.

Allow me to explain: a pint of Fosters (5.0% alcohol) – if we're going solely by the UK metrication standards, of course – is 568 ml. A bottle of Becks (5.1% alcohol) – being smaller, you understand – is merely 330ml. Taken quantitatively, a bottle of Becks is 238ml less than a pint of Fosters, and since there is only 0.1% volume of alcohol which separates the two beers, it stands to reason that the bottle of Becks should by proxy be cheaper than a pint of Fosters.

I mean, come on, it's hardly rocket science, is it? To charge £3 for a bottle of Becks whilst charging an identical price for a pint of Fosters just doesn't make any financial (or metrical) sense whatsoever. If we consider my above estimations, the sensible retail price to charge for a bottle of Becks is approximately £1.74, largely because that takes into account the difference between how much fluid you consume from a bottle, and how much you can consume from a pint.

When I grilled the barmaid on how she (or her manager) could justify such a high price for a bottle of Becks in comparison to a pint of Fosters, she explained that Eli Thompson, owner of Margate's Westcoast Bar, charges the exact same prices in his venue (although admittedly I don't have any evidence for this other than the barmaid's word), so she dismissed my complaint on the grounds that every other pub charges the same price; so, in other words, "Cough up, you cheapskate!".

The sad fact is, people still buy it. Who, I wonder? Alcoholics, perhaps? But even then, they'd probably be hitting harder stuff than beer admittedly. But my point is that I have witnessed (and not for the first time either) how certain establishments in Margate basically try and rip you off, for no justifiable reason whatsoever. I mean, sure, everybody's got to make a profit, but be bloody sensible about it, because charging £3 for a bottle of Becks amounts to little more than daylight robbery, in my opinion.

In fact, one quick jaunt over to the Doggett Coat & Badge and the Wig & Pen revealed that a bottle of Becks is, indeed, cheaper than a pint of Fosters, so I don't see why the Venus Taverna can't follow suit and simply lower their prices. Perhaps they're trying to attract a better class of clientele. In which case, if this supposed 'better class' are stupid enough to pay £3 for a bottle of Becks then they're welcome to the bloody place. Does anybody else agree that this is completely extortionate? If so, I think it's about time we started a consumer backlash. Then again, every other punter I tried to tell about this scandal were too drunk to care, so I don't expect to be seeing it on Watchdog any time soon. Let me know your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Sadly you have encountered the sheep of death. The sheep of death is a behaviour scared businesses engage in when times are a little rocky. (They just copy each other). However it is not the busienss that manages to be identical to all the others that is the one that makes it through but the business that dares to be remarkable. The remarkable business is the one that is attracting attention while those that are trying to belnd in fail to get noticed and that is death in business terms.

    PS I see that blogger still is broken and can't read an OpenID 1.1 correctly.

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