Minding your P’s and Q’s


Back in the 1600’s local taverns would serve beer and other alcohol to the loyal bar patrons on a nightly basis.  At the end of each night when it was time to call it a day and go home,  would be the period for the patrons to pay for everything they drank throughout the night.  The bartender would ask how many pints and quarts where drank and the clearly intoxicated patron would tell him an amount that was far fewer than what he actually drank.  Over time with multiple people doing the same thing over and over the bar owner began to lose a lot of money.  The barkeeper began the process of minding his Pints (P’s) and Quarts (Q’s).  As a drink was ordered the barkeeper would track the number of Pints and Quarts ordered by each patron by putting a mark on a slate board clearly displayed over the bar.  At the end of each night when the patrons would pay their tab they barkeep would tally up  everything they consumed from the slate. The bar owner noticed a substantial difference in the money that was actually made.  No longer were they losing money.  At last they were making it.  No longer were there any disputes on how much alcohol was consumed from the patrons. It was clearly marked and accounted for, so everyone could see.  Hence the term, “Minding your P’s and Q’s”

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19 thoughts on “Minding your P’s and Q’s

  1. rebornjumpman says:

    Interesting trivia about the “P’s” and “Q’s” and an overall good post. I work in upper management at a small company and this is very true. I find myself having to force myself not to take shortcuts, waste time, or chat idly (though meaningful, relationship-building conversation is a good thing). Your employees are going to take their work cues from you. If your working hard they know that they’re expected too as well. Waste time and you’ve lost credibility when review time comes. Thanks for posting!

  2. ha! I always wondered where that expression came from! A good post Cranston!

  3. mrsbartons says:

    I nominated your blog for a Sunshine Award. I have been really enjoying reading your posts. You can read more about the award on my last post at: http://mrsbartons.wordpress.com/ Thank You!

  4. Very few people know the story behind the P’s and Q’s, so I’m doubly impressed with you today! 🙂 Good message about minding our business, personally and professionally, and making sure we pay attention to the small details. Loved this 🙂

  5. Reblogged this on Three Hundred Words and commented:
    Great post from a fellow leader and blogger. Enjoy!

  6. Rajiv says:

    Brilliant post. That’s all I can say. And, this shall be reblogged

  7. Great post. It’s funny how so many sayings have their roots in drinking.

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