Article by Charlie Wright
As you’ll know by now, I’m a bit of an ageing pub DJ.
Sometimes I think that the only reason I get into biz opps is to pay for new CDs to annoy my friends and neighbours with.
The C.E.O of Amazon.co.uk must have a picture of me on his wall, framed in platinum.
And my next-door neighbours must have a dartboard with my face on it, along with the slogan:
“Charlie – he’s a Wright pain in the a*se.”
So when a few of my friends and I decided to throw a joint birthday party last Saturday, for 40 guests, I decided we should hold it in a bar, rather than at my flat.
As you’ll see, this turned out to be a bad idea.
But it taught me a good biz opp lesson. It’s sometimes better to pay a lot of money for something than to get it cheap, or even for free.
“Ugh?” you cry. “What nonsense is this? Why? How? Are you mad?”
Yes, but I’ll explain anyway…
“We’ve run out of beer”
The bar is in Covent Garden. It’s a small place, but you can book the room downstairs. It has its own bar, some comfy chairs, big speakers and an area to set up the DJ kit.
I DJ’ed at someone’s birthday party there early in the summer, and it went swimmingly.
What clinched it for me was that there was no fee for hiring this place. All they asked for was £50 on the night to pay for the extra staff downstairs.
The party was due to start at 7:30, so me, Sarah, Jane and Dan arrived at 7pm to help set things up.
And there we were, at the venue with half an hour before 40 invited guests would turn up and the barman says:
“There’s a problem.”
The barman who was supposed to be serving us downstairs hadn’t turned up. There was to be no bar downstairs.
This meant that when people wanted drinks, they would have to leave the party, go upstairs and queue at the bar. So most of the time, people would be chatting upstairs waiting for drinks, while I DJ’ed to an empty room.
A complete waste of funk, in my opinion.
Now, if I’d paid a good a good deposit for this bar, this wouldn’t have happened. They’d have rung us in advance to apologise. Or made damn sure that the staff member turned up.
He offered us the room for free. Hardly compensation considering that the £50 was to pay for a barman who wasn’t there.
What is it about me and people in the service industry? Have I got the face of a mug or something?
Then the situation got worse.
“Sorry, we’ve run out of beer”
As guests started turning up, I noticed that the beer taps were all covered up. When I asked about this, the barman said, nonchalantly:
“We’ve run out of beer.”
I thought it was a joke. But the pathetic look on his face – those tilting eyebrows and sorrowful shrug – told me he wasn’t.
This was a Saturday night. In central London. And the bar had no beer. Only bottles. And not many bottles, either.
…or much in the way of wine, once we’d got stuck in.
In short, they completely ruined our party by being useless, idiotic fools. And there was no sincere apology because our only contract was my verbal agreement on the phone. We got it for free, so we had no place to argue, demand compensation, or get properly angry about it.
Looking back, I’d much rather the three birthday people had clubbed together and hired a room for £300. We’d be treated like proper customers, and we could have treated the arrangement as a serious business deal.
In the end we had a good time. You can’t go wrong with good people and
some good music in one room, bar or no bar.
But next time, I’m going to hand over good money, and expect a good service in return.
Talking of getting a good service have you checked this out?
Latest scam alerts
For example, here’s a warning from a reader who’s been approached by a suspect racing tipster:
“I received a letter/report this morning from a Jonathan Wells who claims a 76% strike rate for the first half of 2006 on his ‘insider Information tips’ and “GUARANTEES” to make his members “at least £47,000 for just one calendar month.
Yeah right; but I was most interested to read that he claims to proof ALL his gambles, in advance, to the RACING POST.
So I rang their racing desk and, yep you’ve guessed it, they confirmed that this geezer is another scamster who has NEVER proofed anything to them.
So please suggest to your members to avoid this bloke/service like the plague.”
Thanks for the warning. Consider it done!