How not to complain

Yesterday I went to Curry’s to swap my printer… I’d paid £12 for the risk that the first one might come a cropper and sure enough, it did. I have to confess I was a little irritable. However my malaise was as nothing compared to the man in front of me in the queue. He was absolutely bawling at the store manager, who was remaining calm, keeping his voice down, adopting a very non-threatening posture as they teach you in all those challenging behaviour courses. Meantime Mr Angry was having a field day, playing to the gallery and clearly not to be appeased, no matter what the manager might say to him in reply. His telly wasn’t working boy, was someone going to suffer for it.

ImageHis wife stood by, pale-faced and silent, and I wondered if she’d ever had that treatment directed at her.

My own irritation melted like ‘snaw aff a dyke’, especially as the assistant now dealing with me was being utterly helpful. I raised my eyebrows at him and he muttered ‘happens every day.’

Often these days, in post offices and railway stations for instance, you see signs reminding people that their staff are not to be abused. Quite right too. Maybe they should have called the police. Just standing in the same queue was upsetting, goodness knows what the state of the manager’s health is, having to deal with such an assault. Stomach ulcers? Migraines? Panic attacks?

I’d have liked to knee Mr Angry in a sore place; but of course that wouldn’t have sorted things out. A better, and more seasonal, solution would be to cast him as the new Scrooge, and visit him with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. You get the idea; he’s whirled back to his grandparent’s day when the milk horse is sick, there are no deliveries, and his grandfather has to walk five miles through the snow to get milk to feed six hungry children… He’s taken to visit the homeless unit in his own town, in the present day, where the youngsters are trying to make something cheery to eat that can be heated up in a microwave oven and costs less than 75p… he’s taken to late November 2023 to hear his own child, now grown up, vowing to be a better parent than his own father… and then he’s given a chance to think again whether his malfunctioning telly was really worth all that fuss. I think I’ve just invented my new novella! But meantime – let’s hear it for courtesy and a sense of perspective.

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