For the past 10 years, every day the Flying Saucer has picked one draft beer and put that beer on sale for $2.50. That particular beer is known as the day’s Fire Sale. Well, yesterday we got a shock – for the first time in 10 years, the price has gone up, to $2.75.
Some of the regulars weren’t happy… a few were talking about boycotting the place and accusing the Saucer of “gouging” us. Hmmm… I’m not happy about having to spend more money either, but it’s hard for me to call a $2.75 beer “gouging” when there’s a hotel right around the corner that has the nerve to charge $5 for a 16-ounce bottle of Bud Light at its rooftop parties.
I went in and talked to one of the bartenders today, and she told me management has plans to give people more value for their extra quarter per beer by varying the Fire Sales a little more. Lately they’ve been running Killian’s Red, Lienenkugel Red, and Abita Amber, which are more or less all the same beer, a couple of times a week each. “They’re going to make more of an effort to run through all the draft beers, except the high-priced ones,” she told me. And they were off to a start – the Fire Sale today was Sierra Nevada Porter, and I can’t remember the last time that one was the featured beer. I’m not a big fan of dark beers but I tried one and it was surprisingly good.
The main problem I see with the increase is that this won’t necessarily hurt the customers’ pocketbooks, but the waitresses’. There are plenty of people who come in, order a Fire Sale, and leave three bucks, meaning the waitress got a 50-cent tip in the past, which is at least a 20% tip. Now they’ll still leave three bucks but the waitresses will only get a quarter, less than 10%.
It also makes it harder to figure out how many Fire Sales you can buy with the money in your wallet. Multiples of $2.50 were easy to figure out, but, quick – you have $8, how many Fire Sales can you buy at $2.75 each? People who hate math are at a disadvantage at the new price.
After a day to think it over, though, I just can’t bring myself around to the “how DARE they do this to us” stance that some of the other regulars have taken. Yeah, they buy those kegs at a discount price and their cost per pint of beer is far less than the $2.75 they charge, but they also have other costs than paying for the beer – rent, beer and liquor taxes, costs associated with training new staff, etc. They’ve treated me very well over the 2-year period since I’ve been an every-day regular there. I’m inclined to cut ’em a break.
There’s also some good news – the Monday Pint Nite price has NOT gone up. Almost all the drafts are still $2.50 on Mondays.
Taking a night off from going out, so I can catch up on the websites I’m working on. Made a lot of progress tonight, so I’ll be able to enjoy the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival tomorrow and Sunday with a clear conscience.