A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

JOBSWORTH




Well I've just spent the last few days away from home while heading for the sunnier climes of Cheshire and it was while en-route that I stopped at an overnight motorway service station for a bite to eat. I opted for a standard full English breakfast with eggs, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, sausage and beans all slapped together. It was a large platter of traditional English fayre all served up with lashings of hot coffee and all for the princely sum of £6.99.

“You can forget the tomatoes,” I told the server “I’m not in the mood for them.”

And having been served I made my way past the refrigerated displays of freshly stale sandwiches over to the cashier who quickly surveyed my all night breakfast and promptly keyed in the price of £7.99.

“The breakfast is a special; it’s only £6.99” I prompted her.

“Yes but you have extra fried bread,” she replied.

“Well I didn’t ask for it. The server must have replaced it for the tomatoes I rejected.”

“You cannot have substitutions on the breakfast special,” she rapped as she looked sternly into my eyes.

“I didn’t ask for any substitutions,” I retorted.

“But you have fried bread on your plate and that’s an extra pound.”

“But I never requested fried bread. I just said I didn’t want tomatoes. And besides, I can get a whole loaf for 75p.”

“So what do you expect us to do with the fried bread now then?

“I’ve no Idea,” I replied while thinking she could maybe shove it up her arse.

It was then that the customer standing behind me interjected. “I’ll have it,” he said.

I forked over the fried bread onto his plate.

“So that will be £7.99 then,” said the checkout lady.

“No, it’s £6.99” I insisted.

“Not with extra fried bread.”

“But I haven’t got ANY fried bread... He’s got it.” I quickly responded while pointing out the other hapless customer.

“Yeah but I was only helping you out,” said the man standing behind me.

“Well you’re going to have to pay for it,” said Mrs Hitler sitting at the till.

“What? For something I didn’t order? Well you’re going to have to get the manager then“, I responded.

So along came the manager and after a couple of minutes of hushed talking to his underling he eventually turned his attention to me. Prodding and poking at the bacon that had had time to learn to swim in all the bean sauce, he looked at me and enquired “So who did order the fried bread then?”

I stood my ground. “Not me, I just didn’t want tomatoes.”

“Well I’ve got it, but didn’t order it“, added the second customer. “Here, you can have it back.”

Cue the buxom serving wench. Another hushed discussion and a few red faces. And by the time it was all sorted out the meal was now stone cold and probably going mouldy.

“Excuse me for being so pedantic”, I interjected “I hope you don’t expect me to eat any of this now.” I added as I pointed out this latest of events to the whole comedy of errors.

To which the manager just threw his hands up in the air, requesting I re-order as he walked off with his day being totally ruined. And guess what? This time I took the bloody tomatoes, the price was right and the meal was relatively good.

When did ordering a simple hot breakfast become so bloody difficult?






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