I’ve given up on J.D.Wetherspoon’s Sir Robert Peel pub in Bury. For years I’ve gone on Sunday afternoon for a meal and a few pints. Now I’ve moved to another pub nearby, less choice of beers, more expensive food, but with some idea what customer service means, which Wetherspoon’s seem to have lost altogether.

They need more and better-trained staff. It’s common to stand at the bar for several minutes waiting for a staff member to appear, only for them then to serve their mates first. How do I know they’re their mates? Because they call them by name, and serve them all before asking “Who’s next?” Even if you walk up to an empty bar you have to wait for the bar staff to finish their chit-chat. Once, when I asked one of them if I’d suddenly become invisible, I obviously had, as she walked the length of the bar to serve somebody who hadn’t even reached it yet.

Now winter’s here the pub is bitterly cold, as it is every winter. Almost everybody sits in topcoats, and there appears to be no source of heating.

The cold also applies to the food. You can sit near the kitchen and see meals emerge only to spend five or ten minutes getting colder before someone arrives to deliver them to a table. Incidentally, the tables are cleared with the frequency of petrol price reductions, and with the same reluctance.

Still on food, Wetherspoons make much of their Steak Night, but if you order a steak dish on Sunday, you’ll get an ordinary knife, completely unsuitable and unusable. If you ask for a steak knife they can’t find any, even if you’re the only person eating food of any sort. Do they hire the cutlery for Tuesday nights only?

Amazingly, this pub serves a whisky in a half-pint glass. It’s true. When I asked for it to be changed I was told they didn’t have whisky glasses, always served it that way, and nobody else complained. Really? Everybody I’ve told is frankly incredulous. Eventually, having been shown every type of glass behind the bar, I got my whisky in a wine glass, unsatisfactory, but the best they could do. This aberration also applies to the Wetherspoon’s on Piccadilly in Manchester! As with steaks, I can’t understand why Wetherspoon’s boast about their whisky selection and prices, when they haven’t a clue how to serve them.

I do miss the guest ales, I admit, but not enough to sit all afternoon without heating or eating or being able to finish off with a whisky in a proper glass. Until I hear things have improved I won’t be back.

Yours regretfully