Licensee or love guru?

By Robert Sayles

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Licensee

My inbox is currently full of emails highlighting two highly tempting opportunities; both of which could quite literally change my life. 

Now I’m perhaps understandably a little sceptical of such marketing tactics. That said, a cursory read of the sales blurb did give me cause to reconsider.

First up, a bewildering variety of pills and potions.  

It seems that taking these medical concoctions will result in what is diplomatically termed ‘instant enlargement’; allowing me to ‘give more of myself’. (Images of me wandering around the bedroom sporting something akin to Linford Christie’s ‘lunchbox’ inevitably spring to mind).  

The problem is, it just all sounds a bit too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Now the prospect of possessing the sort of tackle normally associated with an adult male rhinoceros is undoubtedly appealing. However, whilst contemplating my prospects of becoming a ‘love guru’ another raft of emails arrived, outlining yet another ‘life changing opportunity’ – the chance to run a tied pub.


Pubco recruitment departments are in overdrive at the moment; all desperate to attract aspiring new licensees to take on one of the seemingly numerous ‘fantastic opportunities’ currently out there.

They’ve come up with some pretty seductive language to tempt aspiring licensees. ‘Partnership’, ‘support’ and ‘working together’ feature prominently; conjuring up images of pubco and tenant working together in perfect harmony.

So, on the face of it, two very enticing offers. After weighing up my options, I’m still very much undecided. I suppose the real question is whether or not any of the hype has credence?

Verifying claims for the seemingly magical properties of the medication is fraught with difficulty. Let’s be honest about it, the term ‘enlargement’ is couched in ambiguity. Exactly how much extra are we talking about here?

10%? 20%? 50%?

The problem is of course that nobody appears either willing or able to substantiate such claims. Hardly surprising I suppose. It would appear that whilst size does indeed matter, nobody wants to confess to inadequacies in that particular department.  

After all, how many guys do you know would readily admit to being dissatisfied with their ‘man tackle’?


By contrast, the pubco sales pitch seems to have a lot more going for it, in terms of quantifiable data at least.

Average earnings of £45,000, live-in benefit and to cap it all, SCORFA benefits worth £25,000 a year thrown in. 

And of course we all know loads of people who run pubs, so verifying such claims shouldn’t be too difficult, should it? However there’s a slight problem; I can’t seem to locate anyone who can.     

Seeking to resolve the issue, I popped along to see a friend of mine. He’s a tied tenant who runs one of my local pubs.

I cut straight to the chase. “Reg, can you quantify SCORFA in monetary terms?”

His reaction wasn’t quite what I’d expected. No sooner had the words left my mouth than my friend fell off his bar stool, spending the next 20 minutes rolling around on the floor in a helpless state of hysterical giggles.

Not to be put off I continued with my line of interrogation.  

“Would it be fair to say that your earnings are in the region of £45,000 a year?”

This only appeared to make matters worse. Clutching his sides with tears streaming down his cheeks, he motioned in desperation for me to stop.  Unperturbed I continued.

“Tell me about your live-in benefit.”

It was at this point that my friend indicated that he’d suffered a hernia, compelling me to call the local hospital and summon an ambulance. As the medical staff arrived and put him on the stretcher I made one final attempt to shed light on the pubco offer. “Reg, can you at least give me a breakdown of your countervailing benefits?”

He said nothing, merely took my hand and put something into it before closing it tightly. He then pulled me close. “That’s my countervailing benefit” he whispered, “and forget claims of live-in benefit; it’s bollocks. I pay rent on my domestic accommodation. Finally I earn f*** all, my so called partner takes it all.”

With that, he was put into the ambulance and driven to the hospital.  


I opened my hand to see what Reg had given me. It was a crumpled beer mat.

It was somewhat perplexing. After all, all I’d wanted was some reassurance that the excessive prices charged to tied tenants were offset by SCORFA and that becoming a licensee offered an opportunity to make a decent living.

Was it possible these much touted benefits amounted to little more than hype and hyperbole?

Now I’ll be brutally honest with you here. I’m at that point in my life when I’m ready for my life to move in a new direction. Such ambiguity poses something of a dilemma for me.

So, which of these life changing opportunities should I opt for?  I suppose it’s simply a case of deciding which is the least fanciful.

Now of course I could take the medication, hopefully allowing me to hold my head high in any zoo or safari park. Alternatively, become a licensee and take a chance that earnings of 45k, SCORFA and live-in benefits are a realistic prospect. It’s a tough call.

After days of deliberation and soul searching, I finally reached a decision. Having popped the pills I’m now about to start applying the lotion. Gut instinct tells me I’ve made the right choice.

I’m banking on the fact that my prospects of witnessing something tangible are far greater than the majority of tied publicans.

One thing’s for sure; if there is any ‘growth’ it will be mine. Nobody’s going to tap me on the shoulder demanding a major slice of it!

Needless to say, I’ll keep you all updated on progress……

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