Between sixth form and university I worked in a pub in Derby called The Hollybrook.* On my induction I was left for ten minutes to familiarise myself with some training posters which the good folks from the mother company, Embers Inns, had been sure to provide. One troubled me greatly. “We want you to make every drink serving extraordinary.” You want me to do what? Every drink?
I’ll be honest, I already had unrelated anxieties over Embers’ apparent desire to compel me to do anything. (I was struggling with the concept of work at the time - still do.) But this? This was something else. After all, if every “drink serving” was extraordinary, then that would make them all…ordinary. Much better, I thought, to maintain a solid average on the old drink serving performance front and then, from time to time, say if the punter in question was particularly nice or particularly attractive, pull out one of those trademark Laurence Peacock extraordinary drink delivery interactions. This also had the advantage of maintaining the integrity of the English language. I explained this brilliant idea to my new boss, whom I assumed would be as keen on the joke as me (hey - it’s not just funny. It’s logic. Logic!)
She was not. All told, this was a valuable lesson in keeping one’s mouth shut, not just when you know you are right (and the Man wrong) but especially so. The Man does not want to be proved a fool. And He (or she, in my case) will punish you - with all night glass collection and excessive emptying of the ash trays.
*The Hollybrook is still there but now it is called “EMBERS DINING at the Hollybrook.” It was never a great pub. The staff were difficult and generally surly. But at least it was a pub, not just a dining room with a bar.