I’d arranged to give a lift to someone who was going to the Screen Forum run at the Light-House over in Wolverhampton. No problem with that, since he lived just off the Hagley Road and that’s the route I take when I’m pushing Bella (often under protest) in that general direction.
So, I said I’d meet him at the McDonalds on the corner of Hagley Road and Wolverhampton Road. I got there a bit early so I decided to park up. (Mistake no. 1). After a couple of minutes I decided to wait inside. (Mistake no. 2). I went inside – there was a doorman (huh!) who welcomed me. Now I know McDonalds is in league with both Mammon and the Grease Industry and I’d promised myself ages ago that I would never, ever again be tempted … but I was. (Mistake no. 3)
I gave my order to the least spotty person I could see only to be told that it would be a couple of minutes before it’s ready but that if I were to take a seat then she would bring it over to me. I thought, ‘ well you’ve got to hand it to the American’s they know what customer service is all about and they even manage to transmit that knowledge to the acne’d youth of Britain’. I found a seat and waited. (Mistake no. 4 … I’ll stop enumerating them from this point on as anyone tolerating 4 mistakes in such quick succession deserves whatever results.)
… and waited
… and waited!
Did it occur to me to go and find out what was happening to my vittles? Well actually it did but I thought that as soon as I got there they would have it ready and then I’d seem like an impatient customer and they’d hate me. (Why did I Care?!)
Eventually I could bear it no longer – my craving for a convenient short cut to a coronary got the better of my well-assimilated good manners – I strode purposefully upto the counter and demanded to know where my food had got to. The counter person turned and asked the manager the manager knew nothing about the matter.
Arrrggghhhhh! (I thought)
Words failed me so I pointed feebly at the unspotted one who had served me originally and had made the promise. She stopped whatever it was she had been doing and looked at me for a moment and then denied having ever served me.
ARRRGGGHHHH! (I thought louder)
Words sputtered forth from my gob-smacked gob, “I was here over 10 minutes ago and ordered from you and you said that you’d bring it over and … well where is it?”
The manager, recognising the seriousness of the situation – a customer on the verge of a violent outburst due to saturate deprivation, filled a bag with whatever it was and apologised. I was not happy and I gave the unspotted (memory of a goldfish) one, my meanest most hardest glare – I kid you not even Paddington Bear would have been proud of it.
I turned to leave and my would be passenger arrived, instantly I regaled him with the tale of my terrible ordeal. The doorman opened the door and let us out wishing us a good night… good night my foot! How, I thought, could I have a good night after having had to endure such a sleight. I felt violated – I could feel the stresses of this traumatic experience seeping into my psyche and doing lasting damage. Years from now somebody at a counter somewhere will try to supersize me and I’ll flip – they’ll have to cart me off to Rubery a jibbering (or should that be jabbaring?) wreck.
It’s with these thoughts about lunatics in my mind that I heard a female voice behind my saying, “Excuse me”
I turned around slowly and there she was – goldfish girl looming ever larger and, most ominously, out of range of the McManager. I’ve had it – I thought – she’s a psycho and she’s ran out in order to enact a terrible crime upon me. I began to take a defensive posture, bracing myself for the imminent insertion of a Big Mac into somewhere where it doesn’t belong, when I heard her continue, “I’m really sorry for the mix-up. I apologise”
“I am really sorry … Is that okay?”, she added
After several moments I managed to utter a, “Yeah, it’s okay”.
In an instant the traumatic experience became a spiritual one. Yes that’s right – I said a spiritual one. Suddenly, I knew that there are Greater Powers in the universe who watch over the lives of we mere mortals; Powers who visit justice and injustice upon us in equal measure, (if you’re lucky).
So my meek acceptance of the soul-destroying trauma which so very nearly wrecked my future sanity had been transformed into a kind of epiphany. Why? Because goldfish girl had obviously just got a bollocking off her McBoss.
It’s the petty victories in life that make all the other crap bearable.