Obviously it’s entirely up to individual businesses to whom they choose to give discounts. But this does raise the issue of some CAMRA members starting to believe that they have a reasonable expectation of getting a discount, and even using the availability of discounts as a factor in selection for the Good Beer Guide and local pub awards. This kind of attitude is exemplified by the letter from May’s What’s Brewing shown at the right.
If you get a discount, fine, but don’t use it as a factor by which to judge pubs. I’ve mentioned before the occasion where I was offered a discount purely on the basis of my appearance and beer choice, without asking or showing a card. But I don’t think I’d ever make a point of asking for one. To be honest, it’s a rare week in which I drink more than about 15 pints in pubs ¶, except when on holiday, and getting 50p off each one isn’t going to make a huge difference to my finances. Plus at least two of those pints are typically in a Sam Smith’s pub where the undiscounted price is well below most others even after the discount.
Pete Brown has written in the past about CAMRA’s noxious culture of entitlement, and perhaps this is a point of which many members should take heed. It’s certainly not general, but on the other hand neither is it rare. Don’t forget that you are, and represent, ordinary drinkers, not some kind of privileged class. Ideally, I’d like to see CAMRA phase out the Wetherspoon vouchers and cease to provide any other free publicity for member discounts.
Incidentally, I struggle to use many of my Wetherspoon tokens. In Stockport, and most other places I visit, there are far better options amongst family brewer pubs and free houses. I sometimes take advantage of Spoons’ meal deals, but you can’t use the vouchers against those. I’d be entirely happy to surrender my vouchers in return for CAMRA or Spoons themselves giving a £5 donation to an appropriate charity.
The post title comes from the lyrics of “Part of the Union” by Strawbs.
I'm not too hard, but the sight of my card
Makes my some kind of superman
The jury’s still out as to whether or not that song is genuine or tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps it was meant to be taken both ways.
¶ And that’s a lot more than the official guidelines!