I like Pabst Blue Ribbon and I cannot lie.
I've lived in Savannah for a pretty long time. Long enough to know that before hipsters were invented, there was Pabst Blue Ribbon - the unofficial beer of Savannah.
I enjoy PBRs whenever they are available. When I first moved back to the Hostess City in 2008, one of my favorite pastimes was pouring a PBR in a plastic container and walking. I walked everywhere getting reacquainted with this city. There's a lot to see on foot. Most of you know that.
Add a beer to the mix and it's the cheapest good time you can find this side of the Rio Grande.
I don't drink it often. Frankly, other than red wine, I don't drink much of anything these days. So it's been a while since I had enjoyed a PBR. I still like them, very much, but it's just been a while. So, imagine my reaction when I saw the barbecue joint blocks from my home was advertising $1 PBRs all month long to celebrate the opening of the bar at their location downtown?
My first reaction was, "I thought the bar had been open." My second was, "Oh wow, a shame the guys aren't scheduled to be in town this month. The food there is good, add a few $1 PBRs and we ain't getting nuttin' but a good time."
An hour or so later, I pick up my daughter from school at lunchtime and ask her what she'd like for lunch. You know kids, they all know what they don't want, but they won't dare make a suggestion. So I said, "You know what, we're going for barbecue." I had tried the place the week it opened a few months back, and I thought a return visit was in order. And of course, $1 PBRs were dancing around in my head. Hey, what the heck, it's Friday, right?
We sit down in a nearly full dining room. We knew pretty quickly what we wanted. We place our drink order and food order at the same time. You know what I was drinking.
"I'll have a PBR, please." The server looked at me like I was speaking Spanish, but that's OK. She walked away. A few minutes later, she comes back and says, "I'm sorry, we are out of Blue Ribbon."
Having just seen this plugged on Twitter a few hours before, I was frankly stunned. Dollar beers are your thing this month and you are out? Out?
So I ask, "Well, do you have any other beer specials?"
I kinda threw that question out into the wind because I didn't want to drink any beer. I wanted a PBR. You know, that feeling when a server says, "We don't have Coke, is Pepsi OK?" and you say "No"? Nothing wrong with that. It's not what you want.
She goes to check and comes back, "No sir, we don't have any beer specials."
"That's fine." I said, "I'll just have water."
Convinced yet that I just wanted a PBR?
At this point, I am wondering why it would be tweeted, as well as posted by someone at Bub-Ba-Q on Eat It and Like It's Facebook page that they had $1 PBRs when they didn't have ANY in the building. So, I took to Twitter.
About two minutes after that tweet went out, a manager comes barreling around the corner. The exchange went like this:
"Did you want that PBR?"
"Yes," I said.
"I'm sorry, the truck is running behind. I can give you a Bud Light for $1. We have Bud Light, Red Hare, (and a third beer I don't remember)."
"No, no. I'm good, thanks."
I wasn't angry. Wasn't even upset. Life goes on without PBR. But I'd be lying if I wasn't sitting there saying to myself, "Why did the server tell me they had nothing else but after I pop off a tweet, I'm now offered any number of beers for $1?"
Moving along, lunch arrives. I had the pork/rib plate. My daughter had the $6.99 lunch special with one side and a drink.
It was actually quite good. I enjoyed my visit to Bub-Ba-Q the last time and I did this time, as well. If you are a regular follower of Eat It and Like It, then you know I don't do reviews. The Eat Squad takes care of that. However, just to prove I didn't show up looking for a fight, I will tell you clearly: I enjoyed my lunch. (Love their sweet sauce). The mashed potatoes tasted homemade. The baked beans were wonderful. My daughter liked her mac and cheese and the dining room was 70 percent full.
But advertising something before it exists is not a good idea. There is a lesson in there, frankly, for all of us. Some people think, "Oh, it's just Twitter," or "It's just Facebook."
But people are paying attention and every now and then, you are going to get your hand slapped. A tourist might put you on blast via Urbanspoon or Yelp for that. I've seen it done for less.
I had friends suggest to me, "Oh, that's classic bait and switch." That's ridiculous. In an effort to promote $1 beers, the bosses at Bub-Ba-Q put it out there and didn't think someone would show up so quickly.
Well, I did. And I didn't want "just a beer" - I wanted a PBR. For $1.
No offense at all. (Well, except for the server telling me no other $1 beers pre-tweet, then the manager telling me otherwise post-tweet). I'll be back and I'll enjoy some barbecue.
And maybe, if I'm lucky? I'll get that PBR.
See you on TV,