Yesterday evening I had cause to pop into a railway station bar for a casual drink whilst awaiting the departure of a train, 50 minutes to kill, a warm summer evening, a busy city station, a quiet bar (only three other people in it), what could be better.
I had considered other alternatives, I hadn’t eaten all day apart from the free biscuits provided on the earlier train journey that took me back to the city of my home and so I had actually walked into McDonalds in Leeds City Station, stared in horror at the prices displayed above the counter and then walked out again, I’m sure those aren’t the same prices as in other McDonalds outlets but then again how would I know, it must be ten years since I last walked up to the counter of one of their outlets.
I have never been in a Subway, ever, I didn’t even realise that it was sandwiches that they sold until recently, I didn’t wander into the one in Leeds City Station but I did stand outside and stare in, I could have been tempted by a nice cheese and branston sarnie with a strong black coffee but apparently this isn’t the sort of thing that Subway sell and in any case I ain’t paying in excess of £3 of my own money for a frikkin sandwich, I walked away from Subway too.
Burger King was the same, I was getting the message by now that when franchises take up outlets in City Stations they automatically increase their premiums by hundreds of percentage points, I’m pretty sure you can get a McDonalds or Burger King for less than £3.50 in any other outlet of theirs – I walked on.
And so to The White Rose bar, a quiet oasis of calm, lets have a beer and sit down for 50 minutes before catching the cattle truck for three stops up the Harrogate line that takes me home, with a bit of luck I’ll get a seat on that train this time, it being half past eight by now…
Stood at the bar I was drawn to their offer of a bottle of Crabbies Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, its a drink that I have been drawn to at home this summer since the Boycott Carlsberg campaign prevents me from drinking gnats piss masquerading as lager, and its a nice change from heavy beers – ginger beer, I imagine I’m one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five while drinking a ginger beer of a summers evening, lashings and lashings of the stuff and despite bearing the word “alcoholic” I’ve never noticed the effect to be honest.
The barman poured by Crabbies into a glass with ice and a slice of lemon, “£3.90” he said.
I gasped slightly and asked him to repeat the phrase and when he did I looked around the bar to make sure I’d only ordered the one drink rather than buy a round for everyone in the place, he was serious, £3.90 for a ginger beer.
Lets say it again, £3.90 for a ginger beer.
For one drink.
I’m certainly out of touch with city centre prices, £3.90 for a drink, one drink *shakes head still in disbelief*
When I started out on my pub-going career at the age of 16 years a five pound note would last me the whole weekend at 18p a pint, £3.90 would have bought the whole of The Woodman a pint, £3.90 was nearly the monthly mortgage on my dads house, £3.90 would have had me a bloody good night out, a skinful of beer, a fish and chip supper, a new suit, a pair of platform boots, a bag of monkey nuts and me bus fare home.