Monday 26 January 2009

Why do we do this?

This, perhaps rhetorical question, was asked by Tandleman in a post about the NWBF. After being a significant organiser at the event he was understandably tired, I suspect with a capital "F". The concept of giving up a significant amount of time and effort to something that provides no tangible return in the way of, say, money, is well known to volunteers in charitable organisations. I had two thoughts associated with the question. The first was hoping it really was a rhetorical question, after all beer festivals need people like Tandleman and all the other hard working volunteers to make them happen.

The other thought however was perhaps a little bit more sinister. "You think you're knackered? Just try running a pub!". It's tempting to go into a Monty Python style tirade about how we often get up half an hour before we went to bed, but most readers would probably think I'm exaggerating. However, it's what we've chosen to do, so I shouldn't complain. In any case, that is not the point of this post.

The point of this post is reward. There is, in employment, reward in the form of money. Social engineering experts would call this non-discretionary exchange. It's in the contract of employment, you turn up for work, you do what is required, you go home and an amount of money is put in your bank account, normally without question.

Then there is discretionary reward. These are the less easy to define rewards that you get from both paid and unpaid work. Significantly, for unpaid work, these are the only rewards. A simple reward might be that you enjoy doing it, what ever it is. Perhaps you believe in what you are doing or perhaps you want to gain recognition at being good at what you are doing, a reason for running a beer festival or authoring a blog, perhaps. Whatever the reward might be it can be difficult to identify them all and for sure they will change depending on how much effort is put in and how successful the outcome.

At the risk of going into complaining mode again, I will state that pubs don't make much money and they are also a great deal of hard work. If we accept this as fact then we come round to thinking about why publicans do this. I have come to the conclusion that it is for the same reason people organise beer festivals, it's because they want people to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Publicans do it because they want to make people happy.

The trouble is, it is impossible to please everybody. This has resulted in my favourite motto, QVI VVLT PLACERE CVNCTIS NEMINI PLACET. Which basically says if you try to please everybody you will end up pleasing nobody. It is indeed difficult when you have a customer for whom it is impossible to please.

Some time ago we realised that irrespective of what we did or how hard we tried we wouldn't please everybody. We then decided to concentrate on pleasing the people we knew we could please and that we were happy to please. It has made such a difference to how we feel. We don't seem to have created an increase in the number of people who don't like what we do. We do seem to be pleasing some people a whole lot more. This reward is worth so much more than money.

It is striking that , coincidentally, at a beer festival shortly before we took over our pub, I was telling the publican of a favourite pub of mine about our planned adventure. His face changed to one of horror. He had in fact only been in his place for perhaps a year or so and tried very hard to put me off the whole idea. It was killing him and he feared it would kill me.


Whorst said...

Damn it Dave, the entry should have been on why people start beer blogs. You and Bell are at least in the business. Avery, and your pal in Oregon too. But most of these people should find something else to do. Then there leaves me. I'm only it to take the piss out of the vast majority of these people. Do I think some are good people? Yes, I do. But what I don't understand is why they think anyone cares about what their opinions are about beer. Especially when they just started drinking beer 6 months ago. Then there's the CAMRA issue. Christ, that's for another time. Anyway....Get that pub sorted out and start brewing! Shock the shit out of the locals with something nice and hoppy.

Unknown said...

Wurst, I have some ideas for a post about blogging, but I'm waiting until I think the time is right.

Got to buy some beer today. Off on as little trip.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

It's because I lost at scrabble tonight and didn't get to take home the coveted penguin broach. Grudge match is next Monday.

It's because the two gents on their way to Klamath Falls found us on a beer traveler web site and came in before we were open (they spotted me in the brewery with an unlocked door) and had, as they said, some of the best beer they've had in a long time. Even sold a pint glass.

It's because the Trails Committee that met here tonight likes that fact that they can just hang and nobody's going to bug them.

It's because there's 2 UK BBL of some kind of special bitter around 70% complete in FV1. I have to remember to crash it early tomorrow morning.

It's because I can order beverages from all over the world and give my palette a ticket.

It's because we're remembering more people's names.

It's because blue-haired grammas can feel comfortable having a wee tipple in the henhouse.

It's because we get to use the word numpty in context.

... I can go on, but it would cost you a pint at your local ...

Unknown said...

That's the best bit, using the word numpty in context.