Hereís a hypothetical scenario for you. Youíre wandering along the high street when you realise you need some money. Thereís a typical high street bank with a free cash point, so you stick in your card and ask for a tenner. The machine spits out only £9.50. But the statement says youíve withdrawn £10. What would you do? Walk away and lose 50p, or ask the bank to give you what youíve rightfully asked for?
The point of this small flight of fantasy is not to have a dig at high street banks (yes, they deserve it, but I expect there will be plenty of ammunition appearing elsewhere on the Complaints Factory site) but instead to draw a somewhat laboured analogy to an equally shady practice that can be seen at a pub, club or restaurant near you every day: the short measure.
How often have you been to a busy bar where youíve been served a Ďpintí of draught beer or lager, and before it has settled properly in the glass the bar person has moved on to serve someone else? Theyíve gone, and youíre left with a drink that is three-quarters alcohol and one quarter worthless foam.
As with the hypothetical bank, youíve paid the full price but havenít received the full value. "So what?" you ask. Itís only small portion of a pint. Hardly worth making a fuss about, is it? In fact, not making a fuss about short drinks measures costs British Consumers an incredible £481 million per year.
Research conducted in 2008 suggested that one in every four pints of beer or lager is 5% or more short of a full measure. That licensed establishments continue to get away with this practice on a daily basis is nothing short of criminal; how many other businesses that you use would you allow to provide you regularly with 95% or less of something for which youíve paid to receive the full amount?
But of course, itís not the British way to make a fuss; we donít want to upset the very people who are Ė whether intentionally or unintentionally - ripping us off.
Itís time to rally the flag and make a stand for the great British pint. At a time when UK pubs are under fire, with an average of 36 closing every week, this is not a sensible time for them to be losing customers by building a reputation for selling short measures.
The best pubs and pub companies already operate a policy which states that they will be glad to top-up your drink if you feel that youíve received a short measure, but this rule should apply to all UK pubs, clubs and bars. Nowadays, drinks arenít cheap and as the paying customer you have every right to ask for a full measure.
You arenít being a nuisance; youíre asserting your rights as a consumer. Any establishment that doesnít share this view just isnít worth your custom. And of course, itís not just licenced premises that play the short measures game. Donít get me started on the number of cappuccinos Iíve bought that turned out to be 90% frothÖ!