Monday, 18 January 2010

The revolution

Today I was away on business.

That makes me sound quite grown up and important, doesn't it? In fact, I was on the 9am from Kings Cross, destined for Harrogate, where I spent four hours walking around shops, then got back on the 16:05, and came home. Which I was paid for.

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it!

Naturally a jam-packed day like today requires a girl to take a load off at lunchtime and sit in a French cafe for a croque-monsieur and a few pomme frites. It was over said lunch that I realised I was vexed.

The observant amongst you will, by now, have realised that I do get a little vexed from time to time, and not always rationally. Given the range of things that was making me twitch today, I thought that today was a typically Tooting-esque complex fume. See if you agree ...

1) As I looked around the restaurant, I noticed that not one person ... NOT ONE ... was holding their knife correctly. There were a range of techniques being used. The "dagger", the "fountain pen", the "feather duster". But none of them using the more traditional "table knife" hold.


2) The waiter who showed me to a table using an ambiguous wave of his arm then stoically refused to make eye contact with me for some time. He then wandered over looking at me as if I might be an immigration officer and asked if I wanted anything else. "Yes. A menu would be a start". He then forgot me again for a time, before taking me order which, when it came, was wrong. To be fair to the poor young thing, there were as many as twenty other customers, and only the four waiters to deal with them ...


3) A family arrived. Five adults with a toddler in one of those three-wheeler buggies (just the toddler. The adults were walking), which they laboured to get through the doors (whilst being ignored by the above four waiters). They moved tables, they rearranged chairs, they swapped places, they moved back, they got up, they sat down. And all that time, the buggy was immediately inside the door, where they ditched it. (Yes ... still with the toddler in it).


All very different things to be irked by. Or so I thought ...

In fact, I've realised that there is one thing above all others, that irritates me, and that actually all of the above fall under the same banner. That thing is laziness.

Bad service, bad manners, it's all the same. It's all just not being bothered and THAT is what bugs me. I find it so tedious that there are so many people who coast though life doing the absolute minimum.

Today, I'll admit, I was rather over zealous, but it is a bit of a theme. I come across people through my work who do the least possible to get through the day, and essentially wait for the answer to come to them. I know people who turn up at work and stay until they can leave and do something more interesting (then gripe that they are passed over for promotion).

I see shop assistants ambling around and gazing into space, or standing in huddles chatting, whilst customers struggle to pay for things. I see waiters and waitresses gossiping behind the bar, whilst food goes cold and customers go hungry, then stand with their hand out when it's time to pay the tip.


The thing is, that I don't DO anything about it. It irks me and I just walk away irked. I decided today that I'm going to start tackling it head on. Are you with me?!

Next time you're in a shop and see a gum snapping gormless looking teenager being paid to do nothing, go over to her and say, "excuse me, but do you have this in a twelve?". I don't care if you don't WANT it in a twelve. It'll get her moving!

If you're in a restaurant and you think the waiters are being more than a little slack, drop your knife on the floor (I only hope you were holding it correctly first ...) and ask for a new one. Or ask for a glass of tap water, then another and another, until they are really shifting!

If you see a street cleaner walking past rubbish, tell him he's missed a bit! If the estate agent doesn't bring anyone 'round to view your house, get a friend to act as a stooge and demand to view your house! If the guy on the barriers at the station is reading the paper, give the barrier a shove so the alarm goes off! If the bank only has two of it's eight desks open, whilst six people in matching uniforms stand behind the glass and work out when they're going to take their lunch breaks, then carefully take out £5 from one account, transfer it to another, then take £5 out of that account and transfer it back, and so on, until more tills are open.

It's childish, but I think it's necessary! We need to get these lazy little buggers moving!

Come on people! Let's tackle the bone idle head on!


  1. I'm so with you!! I always tell off rude staff in shops much to mr ER's discust. I hate it when they cary on their little chat about saturday night whilst they are serving you at the till it's rude so i tell them so. More people should demand better for sure.

  2. Today must be cranky-pants day. Let's all whinge together!

  3. Welcome to the Victor Meldrew/Hyacinth Bucket classes. But if you're going to do it properly, it would help to make sure you've got your apostrophes right in it's/its, etc. Then you can really adopt the moral high ground.

  4. Up the revolution!

    (I meant to post this yesterday but my phone wouldn't let me do it and now I feel the moment is lost somewhere but believe me the feeling isn't).

  5. ER - I love that you're ahead of the game! And I have a lovely mental image of Mr ER pretending to be with someone else.

    Omchelsea - It is. Well it was. Ranty ranty rant rant!

    Autoycus - Such was the passion of my raving that I let one slip through the net. Thank you for pointing that out. If you send me your address I'll send you a red pen and some tip-ex so that you can continue to your heart's content.

    BL - Better late than never, dear. The revolution waits for no man! (But it'll hang around a bit for the right lady).


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