Michael O’Leary is a reptile of a man.
There are few things as likely to make you question your worth as a human being as much as a Ryanair flight. They are not so much a passenger airline as a human haulage company.
According to him, the co-pilot is simply there to “make sure the first fella doesn’t fall asleep and knock over one of the computer controls”.
Now while it may be true that most commercial planes take off, fly and land themselves these days, I think most people want a person behind the (joy) stick in case the computer blows a fuse. And another person behind the other stick, in case the first one has a heart attack.
This made me think about bartending.
I’m sure the technology exists to plug a cocktail recipe database into some sort of vending machine that could pump out perfectly good cocktails.
I get the mental image of lots of pipes leading from the premium bottles on the back bar and into some quasi-human-looking robot arm that moves with the efficiency of a Japanese production line robot.
These days, with voice recognition and rudimentary artificial intelligence, it could probably knock something together based on the spoken request “Um, I’d like something sweetish, but not too sweet, with coconut, but no lime. And make it blue”.
Accountants would love this. Yes, there’d be a hefty initial outlay, but once you had the thing, there’d be no wages to pay. No training or development required. No chance of it shagging the boss’ daughter or giving free drinks to its mates.
Just the occasional software update, via iTunes.
Customers, on the other had, would utter a collective groan and head to Tesco for a bottle of cheap vodka which they would drink at home in front of the X Factor.
It would be the death of every bar that adopted it, because we are humans and we need the human touch.
Gaz Regan has written many pages about the various roles the bartender plays in one shift. He understands this far better than me, so I won’t take this rant in that direction.
My problem is that more and more decisions that affect the world we live in are made by soulless people who just want to make more money. And these decisions are often ones that we cannot affect or protest.
Michael O’Leary and his ilk are the enemies of life’s simple pleasures, like being treated with respect by an organisation you are paying money for a service.
Or a well-made drink, served by a personable bartender who is happy to be doing his job.
Ergo, Michael O’Leary is the enemy of the bar industry. Think about that next time you book a cheap flight to Ibiza, and choose how to spend your money wisely.