There's no doubt that economic headwinds are hitting the high street hard but they're also making life more difficult for pub and restaurant owners.
It can be made even more of a challenge when a group of three diners eat, drink and make merry before clearing off home without paying their bill.
I was part of an embarrassed trio who did just that at the Dirty Duck in Holywood only last week, not intentionally you understand, but because we had been having such a good time and each assumed another of our number had settled up.
Going back the next day (actually, sending my sister) to pay it became even clearer why this watering hole is so popular as our error was treated with good humour rather than the admonishment and imprisonment we'd been expecting.
Thank you Dirty Duck, your crab claws and understanding will keep us coming back, but we promise to pay more promptly next time.