What better symbol of the miserable state of British life than the biggest pub chain there screwing over customers by charging "surge pricing" for drinks? Welcome to unhappy hour.
Customers have become accustomed to surge pricing across various industries, including retail and travel. But some Britons said applying it to pubs went too far. Pete Favelle, an I.T. consultant in Abergavenny, Wales, said that surcharges made sense for products that had limited availability, like flights or hotels, but that charging extra for pints at certain hours was "just a grab for cash." He said he hoped the policy would fall flat because of the difficulty in implementing it. "Their poor front-of-house staff have to explain to enraged customers that, actually, their next pint now costs an extra quid because it's got a bit busy," he said, using a colloquial word for "pound."Zhe Liu, an assistant professor of operations management at Imperial College Business School in London, said companies relied on surge pricing to increase revenue or to lower demand, or both. He said it was realistic that Stonegate was raising prices to cover increased costs, since it had to employ additional staffing during peak hours.He said that, while the strategy may increase revenue, it could also alienate customers and that "the long-term effect on customer demand should also be considered."
The contemporary experiment in seeing how much the lower and middle classes will take before they stop complying is turning into a rout over there. Next they'll bring back the traditional right of English lords to prima hausti, the first swig of any pint.