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I recently went to meet my girlfriend at one of the Harvester restaurants, a pub called the Kings Arms at Gosford, near Kidlington. It was one of those afternoons during the recent heat wave and I was pretty thirsty by the time I got there so I thought Id have a pint of lager shandy whilst I waited.
I went to the bar to order my drink and the bill came to 1.90. I thought this was actually pretty reasonable because most pubs charge about the same as pint of lager, which these days is closer to 2.50 and I was expecting to pay between 2 and 2.50 for the shandy.
Looking forward to this refreshing cold drink on this hot sunny day I went outside and chose to sit in a shady spot in the beer garden with a good view of the car park so Id be able to see my better half when she arrived. This particular Harvester restaurant is in a nice location and to be honest I was very much enjoying sitting there with a cold one watching the world go by, so much so that I had finished my drink before my partner had even arrived.
After a brief conversation with her to find out where she was, I realised I still had at least another ten to fifteen minutes to wait. As I was still rather thirsty I decided to go to the bar and get another drink.
I am currently self-employed and whilst I am not penniless, I do have to be careful how much I spend. With this in mind and taking into account that what I really needed was a thirst quenching drink rather than an alcoholic one, I decided to buy a lime and soda water this time round.
This is my drink of choice when I visit a pub and I dont want to drink beer. Firstly, because I cant drink the usual soft drinks such as Lemonade and Coca Cola in any quantity and secondly, lime and soda is usually a lot cheaper. It is after all only fizzy water and lime cordial!
I ordered my drink and was about to take a sip. The bartender meanwhile had been to the till to enter my drink. When he came back over he said to me" That will be two pounds please." I can tell you that I nearly choked on that drink there and then!
Not being the type who enjoys a good confrontation, I dont usually like to query bills at a restaurant etc. I find those sorts of situations quite embarrassing and unless someone is really trying to take advantage of me I dont usually complain. In fact, quite often I probably wouldnt even notice.
I do feel however that on this occasion I should have said something. I suspect though that the answer I got would have been along the lines of "Thats how much it is Im afraid." Anyway, I paid up and I shut up, but Ive been seething about this ever since.
How can a pint of cordial and carbonated water cost more than a pint of lager and lemonade? These pub chains shouldnt be allowed to get away with this kind of daylight robbery! I won't be visiting any other Harvester restaurants any time soon.