Sunday, 1 December 2019

Everyone is welcome, nobody is judged

I was recently having a pint in Wetherspoon’s Calvert’s Court in Stockport* and spotted a group including one member with learning disabilities, something that is a fairly common sight in branches of the chain. The point has often been made that Spoons offer an environment were all types of customer are welcome, and nobody is judged, and obviously that is an attraction. In addition, being frank, the spacious nature of most Spoons means that other customers are less likely to be made to feel uncomfortable.

The lack of distractions such as music and TV football, and the predictable, standardised customer experience are further factors in making the visit less challenging. It also prompted this Twitter exchange begun by Cooking Lager:

Wetherspoon’s are often criticised for offering a somewhat impersonal pub environment, but that is precisely what many people who fall into this category may feel more comfortable with. The same is often true of the much-derided fast food chains.

* Incidentally, while the Calvert’s Court is a particularly uninspiring, box-like Spoons, the pint of Otter Claus I had would probably have been my best of the month had I not been to Shifnal. And only £1.99 too. There have been (and are) worse Spoons in the Good Beer Guide.


  1. The Stafford Mudgie2 December 2019 at 10:23


    Yes, “Wetherspoon’s are often criticised for offering a somewhat impersonal pub environment, but that is precisely what many people who fall into this category may feel more comfortable with” and I know a
    severely autistic former work colleague who uses both Wetherspoons
    in town but might not get into any proper pubs.
    But “All types of customer are welcome” isn’t quite true as many people who suffer from autism and need “the spacious nature of most Spoons” because they’re uncomfortable too close to other people benefit greatly from having a dog as a companion yet Tim’s “Assistance dogs only” rule excludes them. Tim therefore doesn’t respect the “Not all disabilities are visible” mantra now displayed on his toilet doors.
    Tim couldn’t legally exclude recognised assistance dogs but a dog’s a dog and it’s all really about dogs not generating income while children, who in my experience cause more of a disturbance, will be bought food and drinks.

    “The lack of distractions such as music and TV football ........ are further factors in making the visit less challenging” most certainly wasn’t my experience of my very brief visit to Tim’s Wolverhampton venue this time last month.

    I would hazard a guess that your pint of Otter Claus was after noon.

  2. I could elaborate on that tweet. Everything is a system and you either like a system or you don't. You would only spin out a system into a chain if you thought it a successful system. The quirky independent landlord with colourful outspoken opinions is a system. Though one you may only navigate successfully with prior experience. You may get used to it and prefer that and consider a chain impersonal in the mistaken belief that because your local have bothered to learn your name they like you when in fact its just part of that system to flog you bitter.

    Chains work well if you are escorting a group of learning difficulties as it's an established system, you know it, you can teach it to the more able and they can enjoy a sense of independence and lots of things that your quirky landlord considers a bother or a diabolical liberty isn't a bother to the spoons till operative. The prices stretch to someone with a fiver in their pocket for the days spends.

  3. Also to be praised for being the first chain to offer menus in braille.

  4. I agree that the uniformity of what's offered across the Wetherspoon's estate makes their pubs attractive to those customers who prefer to know what they'll be getting in terms of drink, food and service. No other pubco operates that way; this might be the reason why their pubs are usually referred to as 'Wetherspoon's' rather than by the individual pub's name.

    1. Heavy branding helps, but yes, no one ever said "let's go to Sizzling Pub Co". Mind, the uniformity is under the skin as most Spoons do develop their own uniqueness based on location, demographics, etc.

    2. The Stafford Mudgie4 December 2019 at 22:21

      But Tim has given up on "heavy branding".
      You'll see no Wetherspoon branding on the outside of his few new venues, such as the Barrel Vault at St Pancras, and you'll need a good pair of spectacles to read "Wetherspoon" on the menus inside.

  5. As one example lovers of "real" pubs abhor, is the queue you find in spoons.

    Where else can you inform one of the more able in a charity group, that they can see the price on the menu, they can read fosters £2.50, is less than the coins in their pocket and if they queue they will get their pint of fosters when it is there turn. Then keep your eye on it from a nearby table if you need to intervene but expect to say "Well done, you did it yourself" and see how much that means to him.

    The queues that you all hate, works as a simple to use system. The slide in the next space at the bar and try to get attention is a far more complex system.

    1. If you're preparing someone for independent living, surely the queue won't help at all in the real world?

    2. The Stafford Mudgie4 December 2019 at 22:24

      But if we have rationing again ?

    3. I suppose it depends whether Corbyn is elected. Strictly one cat per household per week.

  6. Is one cat enough for a Christmas dinner?


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