Big Brother comes to the pub

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

By Blaise Tapp
Wednesday, 7th August 2019, 9:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th August 2019, 10:31 am

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.

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.

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I am told by those who have plied 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.

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?

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 think the planet needs is Big Brother fighting our battles for us in the very traditional environs of the English pub.