Look, I am willing to adapt to a different culture, I really am. I understand that in Korean drinking establishments — especially the kinds of places where soju is available and sold for a pittance — it is traditional to expect customers to order some food, and it’s considered unusual for someone to order drinks and no food.
I get that. If little hole-in-the-wall places didn’t make people buy food, they’d go out of business in no time, plus given the local genetics (in terms of capacity for alcohol metabolization), it makes sense to insist people consume something that will help moderate how much they end up drinking. Okay, anju. Fine, anju.
But when you’re running a bar selling imported beer on tap for something like thirty or forty bucks a pitcher, it’s a scam.
And it’s even worse when it’s nine at night and a couple of people come in wanting to sample the beer, just see what it’s like, and they’ve clearly just eaten dinner and tell you so, and you say, with the smarmiest look possible, “Well, I don’t sell draft beer without anju,” as if you’re talking to some hakwon teacher or something, and to top it all off, the anju on your menu is a ridiculously overpriced joke — even moreso than the regular overpricing of mediocre-to-bad food that anju often is, and even more unappretizing…
Well, then, frankly you’re an asshead and there’s a good reason why your little bar is empty on a Friday night in the middle of a hot summer in a neighborhood that, if not bustling, is far from quiet. You probably think, “Oh, if I don’t insist on people buying anju, I’ll go broke!” Ah, but the irony is that with a little less insisting on anju, probably more people would come… and you would, most likely, sell more food and beer in the long run.
For example, I would have made the trip across Seoul to return, if your German draft beer was any good. I would have advertised your place on my blog, I would have posted appealing pictures, I would have raved about the beer. I would have sent more business your way.
So, Mr. Anju-insister, not only did you screw yourself out of my business that night — and chances are, I’d have dropped $40+ bucks on beer just to try some of those exotic imports you sell — and on subsequent nights, but you also screwed yourself out of all the business that might have come your way as a result of me being impressed. I won’t pretend I’d have gotten you millions of won of business, but maybe a million in total might have rolled in, eventually, because of return visits from me, recommendations to friends (like the local online homebrewer community of which I’m a member, people eager to try good foreign beer), and random people reading my review. All that free advertising, pal… gone.
I was not impressed. I was unimpressed. I was, in fact, the opposite of impressed. So, here’s the review you get, Mr. Anju.
And the photo of your nice, glistening mugs of tasty beer?
How about a picture to help those seeking your less-than-prominent, and probably difficult-to-locate establishment?
Hell, I’d probably have even posted a map of your bar, to help people find their way so they could trade their money for your overpriced, if rare, beer:
Yep, that’s how it goes. No free advertising for you, Mr. Anju-insister. Wow, you lost out on, what, the equivalent of maybe $9 of profit from some crappy fruit assortment, is that what you think? Ha!
And instead, I’ll just say that I’ve been loving the apple cider at the Wolfhound Pub.