Sunday, 30 October 2011

Do you know who I am?

Yesterday a rather haughty customer in Natwest made the bank clerk cry. Ok, so the girl working in the bank was making some pretty fundamental mathematical errors, but there was really no need for the tone the woman adopted.

I mean, I agree that a job in a bank wasn’t the best choice for a girl whose mental arithmetic was ropey at best, but the poor lass, it was all too much.

As someone who held a part-time job in the glamorous Wolverhampton City Centre branch of McDonalds for 3 years, I am well versed in the manners of the general public, and have a high level of sympathy. 

People are so rude. Let me tell you now: a baseball cap does not an idiot make.  I had stars.

So, in light of the crying Natwest lass, and of the Saturday’s I spent serving surly teenagers big-macs, I thought I’d share my favourite story about the revenge of the ‘staff.’

Take heed. Don’t be mean to the Saturday staff, they might be quicker witted than you're  expecting. 

A parable: On why not to be rude to ‘staff.’

A crowded flight was cancelled. A single agent was rebooking a long line of inconvenienced travellers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk and slapped his ticket down on the counter, saying. “I have to be on this flight, and it has to be first class.”

The agent replied, “I’m sorry sir. I’ll be happy to try and help you, but I’ve got to help these people first, and then I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out.”

The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, “Do you know who I am?”

Without hesitating, the gate agent grabbed the public address system and began, “May I have your attention please? We have a passenger here at the gate WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him with this problem, please come to the gate.”

With the rest of the passengers laughing, the man glared at the agent, gritted his teeth and swore “[expletive!] you!”

Without flinching, she smiled and said, “I’m sorry sir, but you’ll have to stand in line for that too.”

For more of my McDonalds exploits read this previous blog post

Sunday, 23 October 2011

On image management

I think I might have to start lying about what I’ve been up to at the weekend.

Sunday night is upon us, and as I reflect over the past 2 days, I’m a touch concerned at what confronts me.

Saturday night saw a roast chicken, red wine, X-Factor and an early night.

Friday night I didn’t even bother with the wine.

How can I face the Monday morning office interrogation?

“What did you do this weekend Rachel?” “Why, thanks for asking, esteemed colleague. This weekend I shouted at the TV, shampooed the carpet and did two loads of laundry.”


Time to get the story straight.

Perhaps I had a couple of romantic meals, a night out filled with riotous merriment and debauchery and, hey guess what – I rounded off the weekend with a spontaneous Sunday night dinner party with the neighbours.

Confessing that in reality I lay on the sofa in joggers and a blanket will not do. There’s no harm in engaging in a touch of image management.

Besides, I’m not yet quite ready to admit to myself that these days, if I go out for an evening raving, I need two days of rest to recover.

So for now I’ll keep up the charade. No-one needs to know I’m middle-aged just yet.

But maybe we’re all the same. What did you do this weekend? Front-row seats at the theatre? A meal out with happy, carefree friends at a Michelin-starred restaurant? Or maybe a night of cocktails and dancing?

Did you? Did you hell. Admit it - you’ve been sitting in, watching Gary and the gang, just like me.

Well thank goodness for that.

Now if you could just keep it down for one more evening, I’ve got a hot date with Downton to keep.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The tables are turned

Regular readers and fans of the ‘ridiculous-things-my-other-half-utters’ posts may be interested to learn that the other half appears to be getting his own-back.

Yesterday, I stumbled across a piece of paper, on which my own words were written.

Turns out he’s been keeping a note of things I’ve been saying.

I am not happy with this sudden and unexpected turn of events, but thought I would share the single entry he’d written on a torn out page of my note pad.

Rachel: “Luckily for you, you are funnier than you are annoying.”

Me: (meaning him, not me) "Ha, great."

Rachel: “Considering how incredibly annoying you are, this really is quite the compliment.”

Gosh, I really do say the nicest things.

To see what I have to put up with, you can read my previous post right here.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Is someone shooting at us?

My gym is full of naked women.  

Well, not the gym exactly, but certainly the women’s changing rooms.

Large naked women. Who wander around - starkers - for what seems like hours. I can arrive, change, swim, steam in the steam room, and they’re still in the changing room, rubbing moisturiser into their naked form. Leg up on the bench, rub a dub dub.

So this weekend I decided to give the gym a miss a miss miss, and went for a bike ride instead.

I have not been on a bike ride for many years, but turns out there is truth in the saying – you really don’t forget how to do it. I even roped in a willing bike-ride companion.

She had not been on a bike ride for a while either.

“Can we take our handbags with us?” was one of many questions that revealed our amateur biking status. We decreed the answer to be yes. We even packed a pump and a bike lock.

Obviously we hit the bike path: neither of dared brave actual roads and traffic.

And then 10 minutes into the bike ride, disaster struck. I thought we had been shot at. Luckily we had not been shot at, but my fellow rider’s inner tube had exploded. Boom.

In the process of exploding it had lovingly tangled itself around the wheel/spokes/ brakes and taken her back wheel totally out of action.

The boyfriend’s question on my return home was “why didn’t you just take the inner tube out?” Thanks love. We hadn’t thought of that.

So, 2 miles of huffing and puffing later, with us taking turns to drag/push/attempt to carry the bike, we arrived at a bike shop. Our legs were bruised from the bloody pedals crashing into them and our clothes were drenched with sweat, but we had survived.

We had not (as my companion had so wanted to) admitted defeat and called someone with a car to come and get us.

Of course the man at the bike shop repaired the wheel no problem, and did not seem to appreciate the epic struggle of wills that had brought us to that point.

He even had the cheek to comment that we clearly ‘hadn’t been girl guides.’ Well,  matey, I certainly was a girl guide, and no-where in the ‘Brownie Guide Promise’ does it say anything about the ability to repair a ruptured inner tube.

It was around this moment that my fellow rider remembered that whilst she had packed the bike lock, the key was sitting safely back at her house.


As we asked the bike shop men if we could ‘borrow a lock’ we pretty much wanted the ground to open up.

And then we tried to lock our bikes up on the railings in front of the bikeshop. But they wouldn’t fit. No, really, they wouldn’t. I am not technically illiterate. I can programme an alarm clock, build ikea furniture and own ‘no-more-nails.’ So I am telling you now that the lock would not physically go around 2 bikes and that rail. But there we were, standing outside the shop, a large glass front revealing our struggle to the men inside. Oh god, we're sweating again.

I could cope with the embarrassment no more and insisted we shuffle down the street out of sight of their pitying glances.

Bikes locked up successfully and the sweats subsiding, surely it was time for lunch?

Maybe I could get used to this cycling lark.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Blueberry blip

I don’t have a BlackBerry. I can glean from heartbroken users on the news and the sad looking teenager at the bus stop that the phone has a glitch. Judging by the news coverage this is second only to an apocalypse.

I thought we’d all gone off BlackBerrys? The last time I looked they were responsible for the riots and were having a similar brand crisis to Burberry in the 90’s, when Wolverhampton market started flogging baseball caps in their iconic plaid print.

But turns out man cannot live offline alone. I don’t even know what BBM is, but I seem to be mourning its passing.

Blackberry users -  you should be rejoicing, not demanding compensation. Your boss can no longer contact you on your lunch/ loo/ fag break. You can once again communicate in more than 140 characters. You might actually have to speak to your friends.

Actually, I can’t believe I’m giving this the time of day.  

I’m going the same place as BlackBerry.


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Next stop

I used to love train travel. There was something romantic and adventurous about cutting through the British countryside, the world rushing by, with nothing to do but stare out of the window, daydream or crack on with my book.

Now there’s wifi, enhanced network and goodness knows what else, which means that we all have to  endure the woman next to me loudly giving her husband step by step instructions on how to cook the dinner. 

And every-time I take the train there are less and less carriages and I am forced to stand in closer and closer proximity to dozens of strangers.

People do not always give the same attention to personal hygiene as I would like. Don't make me stand in their armpit. Please.

But the thing that has really gotten my goat is this: Have you noticed that whatever form of public transport you travel on nowadays, the same robotically-voiced woman appears, every 30 seconds, reminding you of the type of public transport you boarded, your destination and every stop on the way? Are we all idiots who need to be reminded constantly where we are and what we’re doing?

No, it’s too much.

I’m getting off the train. Before I actually do need someone to remind me where I am and where I’m going, and the robo-voiced woman makes a mockery of us all.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Heatwave? What heatwave?

The boyfriend recently relocated from Brighton to Edinburgh. You might have seen Brighton in the news this past weekend. No? Think pictures of a packed beach, bikini clad southerners and plenty of white flesh. Yes – that was Brighton.

The hottest weather in October, ever.

Not here in Edinburgh. We were enjoying a spot of very seasonal (and very heavy) rain. He was not best pleased.

It’s for the best really. Brits don’t really know how to cope with the summer. We can’t even dress for sunshine. I don’t blame us of course; it isn’t as though we have much opportunity to practice.

So those of us north of the border may have missed out on a vitamin D dose, but at least we also missed the spectacle of ‘British men burning with their tops off.’ 

It really is a national horror. Why don’t our men turn that glorious olive shade of the men on the med? Why do they all go lobster pink? Why do none of them wear sun-cream?

When the sun finally puts his hat on, well people go a bit mad don’t they? You see them in Sainsbury's, in their flip-flops and shorts, buying the last disposable bbq, forgetting they live in Manchester - not Melbourne.

They walk down the high-street baring flesh. Flesh that last saw sunlight in the ‘heatwave of 2003.’ Then they pass a woman who clearly didn’t read the weather forecast and is wearing her winter coat. It’s totally bizarre.

And the weather- forecasters. Their delight at being able to announce the good news. Finally summer has arrived, and they are going to be the ones to tell us. Yes, it’s only going to be 2 days long - and yes - we know that your sarong is packed in the loft because summer is theoretically over, but quick – find your flip flops . Oh and that bbq you couldn’t use in August because it rained non-stop? Well it’s time –so get the burgers in.

And then the weatherman briefly turns his attention to Scotland, muttering in apologetic tones that there is a high chance of rain. 

But whatever the weather, we Brits can fine reason to complain.

Well yes of course it’s gorgeous having the sun out – but really; it’s too hot isn’t it? Bloody hell I’m sweating- are you sweating?  Best pop inside for a lie down.  I actually got sun-burnt in October, can you imagine? And we’ve got the central heating all set up, so we didn’t want to turn it off. Yes, the parks were packed with people, and the beaches – you should see the bodies. You can’t enjoy it when it’s like that can you?

No, my boyfriend should be glad we were spared the heat-wave. The uncertainty of it would have been too much.  I really have no idea where the flip-flops are. We waved farewell to daylight in August, and that’s just fine. Who needs vitamin D anyway?