Time gentlemen please
I bet that’s a phrase you don’t hear often anymore. It’s probably quite sexist to assume that it’s only the men left standing in the pub at closing time.
I can safely say that I’ve never heard the phrase being said (except on TV) possibly because I never last that long or perhaps because it’s not said anymore!
Pubs no doubt have modernised hugely in recent years. They are no longer the haven of work weary labourers (or at least not the ones I go to) quickly downing a few pints before heading home for dinner by the fire. These days, they are more likely to be used as meeting places. According to one report I read today, the amount of money we spend in coffee shops and pubs having meetings has risen exponentially in recent years.
Whilst some aspects of pub life has changed, other things stay refreshingly (or worryingly) the same. Perhaps it’s not the venue so much as what people do in pubs – namely drink. Drinking can lead to bad decisions. It can lead to lowering of inhibitions and it can lead to mistakes. For once I’m not talking of either of my children (who were both very much wanted and planned) but the business that we sometimes do in pubs. I have had more than one client call me early on a Saturday morning, panic stricken at something they may or may not have agreed to in the pub the night before, and urgently seeking my advice as to whether it was binding. It turns out that my clients are not alone in this, with one high profile entrepreneur hitting the headlines recently. Mike Ashley of Sports Direct fame has allegedly done a “deal” in a pub, which he now says was a joke, and that he lacked the ability or capacity to make a binding arrangement due to the amount he’d had to drink. Clearly the person he was drinking with didn’t think it was a joke, as he’s taken Mr Ashley to court to seek damages. Anyone that’s done litigation will know you don’t do that for a laugh.
If you think you might be likely to agree to something when drunk, that you might not be happy about when you sober up (in a business capacity of course!), my advice would be that you should keep my business card to hand, and give it to the other party at the end of the conversation and ask them to run the details past me, just to be on the safe side. Alternatively, give me a call and we can chat it through, assuming I’m not already on the bar stool next to you.
Of course if the damage is already done, and you think you may have committed yourself to something that wasn’t your best move, then call me when you sober up and we’ll talk through tactics, options and the strength of the local coffee.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. For your good business decisions and your not so good ones!