For the sake of my follower, I’d better get on with this business at the ‘Wet’; I finished up the last ramble, mumbling on about something which was going to happen, that I wasn’t expecting.
About half hour before opening time, a face appeared at the door, and I called out that I wasn’t open for another half hour, and the face called back, that he was there to start work.
Somewhat bemused, I opened the door, and let the face in, the face was attached to a young bloke, who evidently knew his way around the ‘Wet’, not that that was particularly hard, he introduced himself (I can’t remember his name), and told me that he was one of several casuals, that worked at the ‘Wet’, during the busy periods.
Naturally I asked, “What busy periods?” ; I was taking into account that Paddy had been doing around 4 kils, (kilderkin -an 18 gallon (imperial) keg) a week, of which probably a third to a half, was going down the drain as spillage, this young bloke told me that he did a couple of nights, and there was a few more blokes, who split up the rest of the nights, between them.
Well Rafferty was an Irishman, and Paddy had certainly been working to Rafferty’s Rules. Seems like Paddy ‘worked’ in a supervisory capacity, and let casuals do the work of drawing the beer; seven nights a week! True.
If he was pulling 4, a week he was barely covering his own base wage, and here he’d been, employing casuals every night to do his work. How he’d managed to get away with it, was beyond me.
Anyway, I could have told this young fella to shove off, but I thought I’d give him a go, as I’d probably need some casuals, in the future. I told him that there were a lot of changes starting from today, and if he wanted to work, he’d have to work to my rules.
He said ‘Okay’, ‘What rules?’ ; and I told him, first up no more spillage, I wasn’t about to pour half a keg of beer down the gurgler each week, because of careless beer pulling; that the most I’d tolerate, was 1 pot per keg, (10 oz out of 18 gallons).
He asked if I was joking, and I told him no way; that’s the way I set my bar up, and that’s the maximum I allowed myself in spillage, and if I could do it, I expected the same from my barmen/barmaids. (We weren’t PC back then).
Rule 2, It’s okay to have a drink, behind the bar, while working, but only with a customer, no slipping into the coolroom for a drink on the sly, all drinks had to be paid for, none of this, “on the house” nonsense; any of that would be done by me, and I would make sure that I paid for it, and that I was seen to pay.
Being the manager, I was the house! I had my reason’s for being like this, and I might elaborate later if anybody’s interested.
He seemed a bit stunned, but agreed to my terms; the casuals liked the ‘Wet’ for the extra pay, they were paid cash each week, with no tax taken out, as the amount they received was well below the minimum for taxation purposes. I don’t know the rate they were paid, I just signed their time sheets and submitted them to the township office, who made up their pay, and I handed then their pay packets. Easy money for them.
It was a bit of a shock then when he saw how I’d set the bar up, with just two taps, I told him that I’d operate with only one of the taps, unless it got busy ,and if we were only going to do 4 kegs a week, the second tap would never be needed. I then gave him a lesson in how to pour a beer properly, without spillage, and by this time the poor bloke realized I was deadly serious.
These tirades are getting longer and longer, that I’m even starting to drive myself up the wall , so I’ll try cut it down a bit.
Anyway opening time came soon enough, and my new boy was a willing lad, and worked well, so I let him do most of the work behind the bar, whilst I started circulating with the customers.
The first evening went well, and went quickly, the atmosphere was good, and the beer went down well, and the customers knew the difference, from what they were used to. I thought things were going to work out well.
When we were cleaning up, after closing I told my new chum, that he was okay, and asked him to tee up a meeting with the other casuals, so I could run through what I wanted with them, that’s if they still wanted to work, under my benign dictatorship.
After closing up, I wandered over to the ‘Club’ for a nightcap, and have a drink with a couple of my new customer/chums.
I went home, looking forward to the next morning, and my meeting with the Chef!
I felt that that would be fun.