Mad Friday: How Running a Tight Boozer is Like Online Business 101

There’s trouble brewing….


Christmas falling at the beginning of the week normally means firms tend to break up the Friday beforehand.

In the UK this is commonly known as “Mad Friday” as most places close early if not at midday. This signals a mad rush to the boozer and all manner of messiness ensues. To let the working masses loose amongst the Christmas shoppers with their yearly bonus is nothing short of folly. The toss-up between buying little Johnny a Wii or blowing the lot on getting thoroughly smashed and making a fool of yourself with the wrong secretary is usually a double-headed coin in favor of boozing.

I’ve worked in my fair share of pubs and bars and Mad Friday is one of those days in the pub calendar you look forward to and dread in equal measure. A good mad Friday ensures the landlord’s little Johnny is getting two Wiis for Christmas. But, you just know there’s going to be bother. The excitement of finishing for Christmas, fueled by an all-day drinking session and a bit of workplace animosity is nothing short of a recipe for disaster. Watch for anybody snorting cheap rum off a beermat and literally bouncing off the walls screaming about going blind.

The first wave of kick-offs tend to occur anytime from about 4pm onwards when those who have finished early in the afternoon join up with those who have been at it since lunch. They’re rare but you can sense tension building.

A good landlord or bar person will nip even the slightest hint of bother in the bud. One who hasn’t got their eye on the ball will wind up with the riot squad bouncing through the doors to crack a few skulls. Most towns in the UK have a specially trained elite squad of buff coppers who like a rumble. The one I remember most vividly had a lead guy who had the doors held open for him as he simultaneously surveyed the room – as all hell was breaking loose – and put on his leather gloves. From where I was hiding he seemed to be having a bit of an O.J. moment, but his team weighed in regardless. I found out later that the lead guy’s job was identify the hard nut and take him down. The gloves were to stop him from get any cuts and bruises.

Now before I send the UK’s tourist stock plummeting, Mad Friday is one of those days where the customer is right until they’re drunk. I love the fact that the beer business plies you with booze until you can’t take anymore, and then kicks you to the kerb for doing something stupid that you wouldn’t have done had you not been plied with booze by the beer business. But, the more drunk somebody gets the more right they can think they are.

This wild west approach and spiraling customer-assuredness is fairly redolent in the online space at times. The Internet has loads of instances of people telling you what’s what about a product or industry in various shrill tones. There’s simply no hiding from it. It’s just the same as that know-it-all tanked-up on too much ale. Maybe they aren’t angling for a punch-up, but their style as they become more imbibed shrieks confrontation.

Now a good business is a bit like a good landlord in that they will monitor the situation and step in to have a word when it’s necessary to prevent anything from getting out of hand. If somebody’s got the wrong end of the stick then it’s not too difficult to set them straight. It’s not as if they’re drunk. A bad business just lets things get way out of hand like a lazy landlord. Before you know it there can be all sorts of spurious untruths being spouted and people falling out in lumps. There’s no riot squad to restore order though.

Live webcam stream of my local Pub’s landlord

Of course, the vast majority of pubs will see no trouble whatsoever, and the same is true for most businesses online. I’m not trying to put the willies up anyone. It’s not just about damage limitation. Last night I was at a packed pizza joint. There was an open mic session and people were waiting up to fifteen minutes for tables. It was great how all the staff and the owner were milling about making sure everybody was ok. I was particularly impressed when the owner gave a couple kids waiting in a full family party some dough to play with just to keep them occupied – pizza dough that is.

Yes, nothing major, but he was using ordinary people skills. We miss those at the best of times, but never more so than when there is no face-to-face interaction – like when you’re online.

You can hone your people skills online by utilizing a blog or at least commenting on them and on forums. You can also network on various industry sites. Not only are you making sure your customers – potential or current – are well, but that you’re also on top of every single eventuality involving them and your industry peers.

So, avoid bother, keep informed and network – the guide to running a successful pub or online business presence.

Merry Christmas!

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