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Adventures in Pedantry

I ordered something called a Hero Burger. The nice lady asked if I would you like to supersize?
‘Isn’t it already heroic?’ I inquired.
‘It is, but you get more of everything on the next one up.’
‘What’s that one called?’
‘We don’t have a name for that one yet sir.’
‘Shouldn’t that one be called the Hero Burger?’
The nice lady gave me the special look she reserves for vermin. ‘I guess so!’
With shades of my father I added ‘Might I suggest The Super-Fluous?’
Where on earth did that mustard fart of indignation come from? On ninety-nine days out of a hundred I would have let something so inconsequential go by the by, but today my Hero (now demoted to Side-kick) Burger was presumably going to arrive laced with various bodily fluids and interfered with beyond words. Such is the price of perfection.
Back at Castle Cororan (still surprising peckish) I found a package waiting for me. I opened it. It contained three bottles of peroxide. I am a bald man. As such I was perplexed. The invoice revealed that I share my address (different postcode) with a hairdresser across town. Ah, irony abounds. When I contacted them to arrange a pick up their manager was so impressed with my honesty that he left a gift on the doorstep – two bottles of luxury exfoliant. How delightful. I used one and the skin proceeded to melt from my face. Picture the bald man running around in just his pants, howling like a child who has touched a nettle. By Jove I demanded satisfaction.
But what’s the protocol for complaining about free stuff? There isn’t one is there? I’ve found a gaping hole in British (and possibly world) etiquette. I must write to someone. This is marvellous / unacceptable (delete as appropriate).
Scarred for life, but ebullient with my newfound revelation I set off for a corporate shindig. There an old colleague reminded me of an incident that completes the triumvirate of pedantry.
We both worked with a young man for whom English was not his first language (For the sake of anonymity we’ll call him Tim). Tim would’ve spoken perfectly good English had he paid attention in the lessons that had been paid for by the company (i.e. he’s fair game).
As well a possessing poor grammar Tim was also a prolific skiver – both in the amount of days took as sick-leave and in the amount of time he spent asleep in the toilets. Every two weeks or so his line manager and I would get an email explaining why he was absent. Because his English was terrible he would make attempts to describe the symptoms rather than succinctly state the ailment – the most memorable of which was: ‘I not be work now – big stomach – much pooh – also puke.’
A few days after his various misdemeanours had been tackled in a performance review he took me aside and asked for my help. ‘You tell me how to say this?’ he asked, and then proceeded to graphically described diarrhoea. Even in the midst of a bollocking you could see the cogs turning; setting up the next bout of absence. I told him he was giving too much information and provided a shorter syntax for the condition. He thanked me.
Sure enough – a few weeks later the glorious email arrived: ‘I cannot come to work today as I have Ass Mayhem.’
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Epic Fail 3 – Refund of the Jedi

…It’s getting to the point where even I think I’m making this up.

Quick tabloid-style re-cap: Double-glazing fitters go rogue in rural England and enbark on an orgy of lesbianism, breaking & entry and ineptitude whilst spectacularly failing to install any windows. Part 3…

In a strange masochistic sort of way I was rather looking forward to a third helping of hilarity. The fitter who arrived made a good start by slipping over on the wet grass and banging his head, but then proceeded to fix the broken pane without further incident. ‘All done,’ he announced cheerfully.

‘Oh,’ I replied somewhat despondently, ‘thanks’.

For a few days my housemate and I moped around the house feeling cheated of a suitably rousing conclusion, but as every great trilogy teaches us – It is always darkest before the dawn.

The following week I received a call from a woman requesting payment for the work. When I enquired as to what discount they were going to give me I was informed in a polite but firm tone that their service had been exemplary, and that no discount would be forthcoming. With no small amount of relish I rattled off the list of atrocities perpetrated in the course of providing exemplary service ‘…and then he left me a note on some toilet paper with kisses at the bottom, then he broken into my house, then he wouldn’t return my calls…’ She tried in vain to get a word in edgeways, but I was enjoying myself too much. Eventually we agreed to disagree and scheduled a time for me to come into the showroom and discuss the matter further with her boss.

‘Hi baby!’

The lady behind the reception desk was a little taken back by my overfamiliarity. ‘I beg your pardon!’

‘Oh I’m sorry. You’ve just been given a small insight into what it’s like to deal with your company.’

‘Oh, you’re the window guy?’

‘No, you’re the window guys. I’m the guy getting his house broken into by you guys guy.’

There was a brief silence while we both checked to see if my reply had made grammatical sense. It had. We moved on. Deadlock was quickly reached once again.

‘Look,’ I continued, ‘if you’d made a conscious decision to differentiate yourself from other double-glazers by offering a more amorous, burgular-esque quality of service I might have been prepared to pay a little more. Then again I most probably would have gone elsewhere. I’d say a third-off sounds reasonable.’

A couple of other potential customers had arrived, and the woman was keen to usher me out of the showroom and into the workshop. I was handed over to her boss and we continued our conversation in the next room. Neither party it seemed was prepared to give any ground.

It was looking as though all hope was lost when into the workshop rode Jason – knight in shining armour, writer of love letters, installer of bits of cardboard and all-round good (if mildly moronic) egg. ‘JASON!’ I greeted loudly. ‘You don’t call, you don’t write. You little tease.’ Jason stood dumbfounded; the aggressively heterosexual reward centres in his brain firing on all cylinders but coming back with nada. I could almost see the adrenaline pulsing as his flight or fight impulse chose the former. He turned on his heels and walked straight into a display cabinet.

Conservatively I would say that over the next ten seconds roughly thirty panes of glass exploded. The cabinet fell backwards and knocked over three sizable free-standing windows. They in turn hit other panes, dropping like a deliberately placed set of giant dominos. I watched events unfold with a childlike awe, convinced that right there and then no one on the planet was having a better lunch break than me.

Jason responded in the only way he knew how. ‘F@ck.’

‘This guy’s hilarious,’ I commented, ‘does he do requests? So, about this discount?’

Jason’s boss couldn’t look me in the eye. ‘Fair enough sir.’

THE END

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