Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A Public Convenience?


Who hasn't slipped into a pub for a quick pee and then slipped out again without buying anything? I certainly have and have no compunction in doing so. I have spent countless thousands of pounds in pubs and feel it is a kind of right on that basis, though I only do it when I am caught severely short.

On Sunday as we all sat at our table binge drinking Lees Bitter, a couple of young girls came in. I say young, but I don't mean of illegal drinking age. After a little confusion which saw them being diverted from the Gents, they nipped into the Ladies, did whatever was needed and then came out and had a quick confab. It was clearly along the lines of "Should we buy a drink?" There was obviously no consensus reached (or maybe it was a compromise) as they approached the bar and bought one soft drink, which was quickly consumed. Now our pub is in the middle of nowhere and is quite relaxed about walkers coming in purely to use the facilities without being encumbered by any embarrassment about peeing and pissing off, but I wonder where that line should be drawn.

We have all seen signs saying "Toilets for Customer Use Only".   I kind of agree with that in principle, but see above.

What do others do and in what circumstances?

13 comments:

Steve Lamond said...

It depends how desperate I am, though more often than not I'll spot something tasty on the bar and have a quick half

Pubman79 said...

I usually buy a pint then wait until I'm finished and really bursting as I don't want some scoundrel tidying my pint away.

Cooking Lager said...

I use the bogs and walk out any time I like. In larger boozers nowt is said. In smaller boozers if the landlord makes a sarcastic comment I simply say "I did fancy a beer but I've been scared off what with this being a bit of a dump" They don't much like that.

Curmudgeon said...

More and more councils are now looking to pubs to offer "community toilets" in return for an annual fee, as they close down conventional public toilets.

I'm not sure I'd want to do this if I ran a pub in a busy town centre as there's a sort of implication that you lose control over who you admit.

Can't say I've done it very often, but I certainly wouldn't have any compunctions about using the bogs in Spoons without buying a drink. Given the size and the amount of customer traffic, it's also the place you're least likely to be spotted.

BeerCast Rich said...

The Spoons in central Edinburgh has the toilets down a stairwell from the main entrance, so you don't even need to go near the bar (handy tip if you're caught short on George St).

I'm not any kind of free-pee expert, but hotels usually have toilets in the lobby, so you can saunter past the desk and do your business unchallenged.

BeerCast Rich said...

Just re-read my comment, it makes me sound rather strange. Ho hum!

Cooking Lager said...

One thing to add, it may be common for adult males to use a pub as a bog but how many of the elderly, kids, lone women, women with prams would enter a pub if the urge to lay a cable comes upon them?

I suspect not a lot.

Cooking Lager said...

If I beer blogged I’d be inspired to tell the tale of having a rather large crap (2 flusher) in the bogs of a railwaymans social club. With no bogs on the train platform and turtles head nearly touching cloth I noticed what appeared to be some sort of working mans club. Upon walking in, I saw a sign for the bogs and ran in just in the nick of time. As I left an old codger had appeared by the entrance door and said that he didn’t recognise me. Well you wouldn’t I replied I just popped in for a dump and to be honest you might want to light a match or give it ten minutes in there pal. He took immediate approbation and informed me it was members only and I wasn’t allowed in. I replied that next time I’d have a dump on the steps and left. Back on the train platform I saw him by the club window pointing me out to some unhappy looking men whom I presume were deciding what to do about the great offence I had caused. I waved to them as I boarded my train

Bailey said...

The Front in Falmouth has a nice approach: a sign on the door saying that the toilets are really only for customers but that, if you're not a customer, you might consider popping some change in the charity jar by the door. Very civilised.

RedNev said...

I can understand why pubs don't want to clear up after the general public in addition to their own customers. There are costs involved in cleaner's wages, electricity for dryers, soap, hand towels and toilet rolls. The toilets would also have to be cleaned more frequently.

geordiemanc said...

I always take the view that pubs with "Toilets are for customers use only" are inherrently likely to be the kind of unwelcoming pub I don't want to drink in anyway.

I can understand it for a pub outside a football ground on match day but beyond that how many "non-customers" are likely to pop into a pub for a pee?

Everyone who does is a potential customer who may stay for a drink then or come at another time having established that it's not an unwelcoming dump - unless of course it is and their "visit" has confirmed it. So to me "toilets for customers only" reads as "people who pop in here don't want to stay so you might as well take the hint now and stay out".

Curmudgeon said...

"beyond that how many "non-customers" are likely to pop into a pub for a pee? "

I would have thought lots in areas with substantial pedestrian traffic and no decent council provision, which is more and more of them. I can imagine many licensees getting thoroughly fed up with non-customers trooping in to use their facilities.

And, while I can't provide you with a list, I've come across plenty of decent pubs with signs of that kind.

Anonymous said...

would you let joe public use youre home toilets ?