There are Wetherspoons pubs up and down the country, often clustered together like barnacles. So there's a good chance you live near at least one, and may have noticed the distinct lack of England flags in the run up to the World Cup. What's up with that? I'd've thought there would be so many flags it looks like Nigel Farage had invaded, especially given the chain's owner's outspoken support for Brexit.
But no, pubs are being told to not do that. Apparently head office isn't outright banning its staff from putting up extra England flags, as had been reported by some outlets. Instead it's simply discouraging them for reasons of "consistency". If only there was some way for the company to quickly and efficiently announce this information in a way everyone could see. Perhaps with some sort of social media platform. Oh right.
Anyway, Wetherspoons has told its pubs that they should only be putting up the standard company-issued World Cup bunting that gives equal spotlight to all 32 countries taking part in the World Cup - including England. Spokesman Eddie Gershon said this is all down to consistency between the pubs:
"What we have said is the same as Christmas trees and decorations. We have sent this bunting to all our pubs, but staff can't go willy nilly adding anything they want to it.
What we aren't looking for is for individual pubs putting extra flags up. So that one pub in Leeds might have a big England flag but another might not. The bunting is what we want people to put out. If they want them to put up a flag they can but we aren’t encouraging it.
On one hand we aren’t encouraging staff to go freelance and put up your own flags. We run our business professionally and what we don’t want is inconsistency. One pub with a big flag and another without, whereas the bunting is in all pubs."
This also means staff shouldn't really be putting up German or French flags, though I bet the patrons would have words to say about that before head office could give the offenders a telling off.
Wetherspoons also clarified that it's not making any decisions involving England shirts either, because I'm sure suddenly implementing a dress code will be amazingly good for business. The company said that customers can wear any football shirts they like, though each pub's manager apparently has the freedom to decide otherwise. Though those managers will probably already know that Wetherspoons is not the Ritz Carlton, and if you really wanted to class up the place banning football shirts probably isn't very high on the list of improvements. [Sheffield Star]