Pubs should remain sacred places free from cameras: OPINION

All Blaise wants is a pint of beer in the pub in peace
All Blaise wants is a pint of beer in the pub in peace
Share this article

There are only a handful of certainties in life: Benjamin Franklin famously cited death and taxes, but wasting hours queuing at the bar must surely feature in that list.

There cannot be anybody out there who, at some point in their lives, has not lost the will to live while waiting to get the Boddingtons and Babychams. If someone you know says they haven't experienced the sheer frustration of being ignored by a gormless barman or barmaid then they are either a liar or, even worse, the type of person who thinks getting the beers in is for the hoi polloi.

It doesn't matter who you are or how you look, waiting to wet your whistle in a crowded hostelry is a tricky business.

Those who look like me - plain to put it kindly - really do struggle more than most because we really don’t naturally catch the eye of others. We are left to resort to tactics such as waving a 20 pound note - unless you live in 2010, you will struggle to buy a round for anything less. I am told by those who have plyed their trade on the opposite side of the bar that the proffering of the folding stuff is a surefire way of guaranteeing that you will have to wait a little while longer.

Apparently this unoriginal attempt to catch a pint puller’s eye is deemed to be arrogant and the person doing the waving might as well be saying ‘look at me, I have got money and you have to serve me. Immediately.’

When you think about it, you wouldn’t brandish the contents of your wallet while waiting to be served at an Aldi or Waitrose, so why is it acceptable to do it in the Dog and Duck?

However, the agony of being constantly mugged off by a grumpy undergraduate who resents the fact that they have to work nights in order to pay off their student loan could soon be a thing of the past.

Believe it or not there is one pub in London which is using facial recognition technology to help bar staff determine who is next. By all accounts, it is a success so far and the makers of the technology say that not only does it keep the punters happy but it increases the productivity of bar staff, who don’t have to waste their time dithering over who to serve next.

There is now talk that this will be rolled out nationwide but will it really catch on? Will pub firms and landlords really want to shell out even more money during a time when scores of pubs are going out of business on a monthly basis?

Then there is the issue of privacy. Even though those behind the innovation insist that the cameras are fully signposted and drinkers are informed that they are standing in an area where they will be caught on film, it doesn’t sit right with somebody who regards the inside of a boozer as an inner sanctum, a place where you really can mind your own business.

Technology has taken a grip on the world, I get that and I accept that there is every chance that, one day before long, a robot might well do me out of a job.

What I don’t the planet needs is Big Brother fighting our battles for us in the very traditional environs of the English pub.