Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A fast food Henry Kissinger

Just in case for some unbeknownst reason I forgot that I loathed this job, the last few days had reiterated and refreshed my distain and resentment.
I’d sooner not have to divulge my displeasure and unhappiness for fear of coming across as someone who whinges far too much. I’d rather regale the activities of the past weekend. After all it was Lisa’s birthday on Friday.

As per every year I dreaded the run up and once again I was totally stuck for something to buy for her. Every year it’s the same, and often results in me getting to the level of stress that should only be inflicted on football managers or soldiers. Let be noted that this year was no different. I did however have an ace card up my sleeve; that being the use of a car and a day of annual leave from this crap hole job. I chose to visit the gut wrenchingly awful Speke-o-Boulevard-e-o (speke Boulvard) to acquire her presents.

At least this way I didn’t have to deal with the constant pigeon attacks that I suffer from whilst walking through the fair city of Liverpool. When I say attacks, I don’t simply mean they crap on me- no that would be considered good luck in some cultures, nope; I have them fly at me at full speed, usually aiming for my head with deadly precision. Lisa of course finds it hilarious, but having to dodge the filthy, disease infested bodies makes one look a tad foolish. Lisa has on many different occasions assured me they fly no were nowhere near my head, but I know that if it wasn’t for my Matrix style manoeuvres then some paramedic would be trying to remove a tattered blood splattered bird from my cranium. How would Lisa explain it to my family?

Lisa: “You know he always said that pigeons were trying to fly into his head?”
Family member: “yes…”
Lisa: “Well, this time, rather than look like a twat and ducking, he didn’t move and a bird it flew right between his eyes killing him instantly. I could only look on as his corpse twitched and the dirty feathers slowly floated to the blood soaked pavement”
Family member: “NoooooooO!”

Well I’m not going out like that. I choose to move out of the way even it make me look soft- Health and Safety. To avoid the whole pigeon attackage I chose to go to a ‘Retail park’ for my sins.

Why do they have the two electronic retailers; Currys and Comet at opposite ends of the Park? Surely it would make more sense having them near each other? I must have walked back and forth from them about six times to compere the prices. I’m sur ethey do it on purpose knowing the standard fat bastard who shops at these shops wouldn’t be bothered to walk to the other shop and of course carparking is a nightmare. I guess they didn’t count on me- a tight fisted sod, to be shopping. To be fair, both shops were particularly uninspiring and my MP3 queries treated with a unpleasant cocktail of indifference and procrastination. It kinda’ made me wish I was working back in retail,

Whilst making up my mind between the two products in question I decided that a McDonalds’ meal would somehow alleviate the boredom/stress I was going through.
Oh how could I be so wrong?

Firstly, I wasn’t hungry. Yes gluttony had got the better of me, but I had a day off and I had hit the shops at 10am I think I was entitled to it don’t you?

As I walked in and pushed my way through the army of pushchairs and prams I decided to go a for a quarter pounder with cheese meal and retrieved the correct coinage for said transaction and waited in the queue patiently. It was at this point that I noticed the two female shlums serving behind the counter. On was a very pretty blonde and looked, despite it being particularly un enlightened of me to say so, like a dumb blonde. Either way she looked too pretty to be working there and therefore she mustn’t be the sharpest knife in the drawer. Her colleague struck a different image completely. A real brute. At least 6 foot tall, wearing her own cardigan on top of her McDonald’s uniform (why was it cold in the kitchen?) and her baseball cap at a slight tilt. I thought to myself that she was even lower down on the food chain than the dumb blonde. I remember the guilt shooting through my brain as the brute asked me for my order. How could I be so judgemental? I figured being as polite as I can to her may in fact lighten her otherwise dreary day up.

“Can I have a cheese burger meal with a coke please?”I figured that I’ve given up tea for the best part of 4 weeks a coke would give the necessary pick me up I needed.

“That’s £2.75” (note the lack of the word please)

I looked at her and with her cross-eyes and hairy top lip and then to the bright neaon menu behind her and the back at her. Something was wrong.

“Has it gone down in price- I thought it was £3.10?”
“That’s and extra value meal”
“that’s what I ordered- a cheeseburger meal”
“that’s a quarter pounder with cheese meal- you ordered a cheesburger meal- that’s different.”

Hmmm- it appears that she was a bit sharper than I had given her credit for.

“Sorry about that” I said –wishing to be polite “I meant a quarter pounder with cheese meal.”

She rolled her eyes and brought Mike, the scrawny short sleeved manager to overwrite the transaction error. I’m sure I heard her say “the customer has changed his mind” but wishing to avoid a scene I just smiled.

My fries were given alongside and empty cup and she explained that my burger would be a few minutes, but if I wanted to take a seat she would bring it over to me. I asked about the empty cup and she just pointed towards the “Self Service sign” and a drinks machine underneath it. Fair enough I thought and filled my cup (the Lord is my Shepard)

Because I didn’t trust her , I chose to sit near the counter facing her directly and tried to eat my fries as slow as possible. Sitting down felt good on my poor feet.
I suddenly heard a loud aggressive voice shout “ Are you calling ME a liar!”
I looked up to see two mechanics arguing with the brute.
Both were wearing overalls and hadn’t washed their hands.
The brute replied in a hushed shout.
“No I didn’t…”
“Yes you F***ing did” he screamed back at her.

Ah the cheese burger confusion no doubt I thought. Thankfully Mike was on hand with his thick glasses and short sleeved shirt to intervene and appease the customer- a fast food Henry Kissinger of sorts.

They then sat on my table and I over heard the passive on of the two say “ I thought you were going to kick off then” and the aggressor reply “I was…”

Maybe it was the caffeine perhaps or the guilt from my judgemental descriptions but I felt sorry for the brute. I looked over to see if I could catch her glance to remind her of my burger, but she was in conversation with Mike looking very flustered and a bit upset. What a crappy job I thought. The poor knuckle dragging girl. I tried again to catch her eye and when she did she smiled. Phew my burger won’t be long I assumed myself.

Another 5ish minutes past and I had sucked and chewed the ice cubes from my coke and was getting a tad disheartened. I decided enough was enough; sympathy and fast food have no place together. I pushed in past several other customers and caught her attention and I received the most vacant look I’d ever seen, akin to Jack Nicholson’s character in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest after he’s had his lobotomy.
“Can I help?”
(through gritted teeth) “I’m waiting for my cheeseburger?”
Blank look..
(still through gritted teeth) “ I mean my quarter pounder with cheese?”
The penny dropped and she flung one at me, apologising for the delay.
I grabbed it and got the hell out of there ready after a nice relaxing lunch to continue shopping. Woop de do.

I the got very snappy and short this the staff at Comet and regardless of the fact that I may have got a better deal there, I was too embarrassed to go back and so slumped my weary body across the huge car park back towards Currys.

When I got home I tried to get on with the ever increasing art work that I’ve promised to do and worked hard with little to show for it, I gave up at 9pm as we were in the birthday countdown.

28 years old- my old lady-literally now an old lady.

The birthday festivities went well and she was made up with the gift I had chosen. All talk though was of the main event on Saturday- iceless skating and the obligatory school/teacher conversation.

* * *

Perhaps we all should have known better. Especially good ole cynical me.
The concept of going ice skating on plastic sounds as naff as it turned out to be, but in all fairness fun was had by all.

The alarm bells rang once we arrived at the ‘rink’. Alas, it was nothing more than a wasteland. Rusted and sadly defunct vehicles littered the make shift car park and we where not entirely sure where this fabled man-made ice was meant to be.
After entering the building and handing over our hard earned cash we walked through the go-carting section, listening to the sound of the mini engines racing around the figure of eight track and openly discussing how good it would be to do.
I noticed a poster on the wall done on Microsoft Word, and I am making the assumption that it was produced on a printer of poor quality. The noticed stated that bullying is not permitted. No doubt poor little buggers who find themselves unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of this victimisation breathe a huge sigh of relief upon spotting this warning. Perhaps it was written by one of these alleged bullies to lull its pray into a false state of security. I decide to keep my eyes peeled.

Our first glimpse of the skating arena soon quashed any enthusiasm that we may have been hiding from each other. It looked crap. Having already paid we decided that there would be no harm in trying out. I was soon handing over my beloved converse trainers to a track suited clad youth, who thought it was good customer service to exchange my shoes/ice-skates with a fag still in his slack jawed gob.

I was unable to steady myself upon the perimeter due to there being an abundance of pigeon crap on the rails and thus decided to go for broke and give this so-called-skating a go.
It was hardly dancing on ice.
The only time it actually felt like proper ice skating was when it started to rain, and the roof being in poor repair, leaked on the hard white plastic surface making it extremely slippy as you would imagine. It also meant rather large globules of rusty dirty water splashing down on my rusty and dirty hair; causing girl like yelps of shock and alarm to come from my mouth.

We all failed to make a convincing attempt, and the arrival of one of the two hoods working there in his special-not for the public-black skates did little to ensue a metric tonne of trust that it would be a worthwhile sport to pursue. In fact it soon became clear that his only motive of getting out there was to try and show off to the group of 14 year old girls laden with too much make and bad clothes. Whilst I struggled to maintain my balance I looked out of the corner of my eye and sniggered to myself at his fumbled attempt to look cool to girls 6 years younger than he was. Showing off that you can master plastic ice skating is a bit like showing off that you can play a computer game really well and does little to install the fire of passion with the fairer sex.

It would be not too unlikely to imagine that someone could die in the dank warehouse which we found ourselves in. After all I don’t think health and safety was one of their priorities. The rusted factory floor clock that precariously dangled above our heads or the single speaker suspended from the ceiling that pumped out Brittany Spears and the like throughout also looked remarkably unsafe.

As we left as swarm of children arrived bright eyes with optimism, possible realising that ‘bullying was not allowed”.

Once we had trudged home and enjoyed a cuppa and a slice of cake we played Buzz on the playstation2 for some time and decided it was time to hit the pub for a little bit of pub grub and a drink. Lisa had pre-ordained that we wouldn’t be going out for a meal per say, rather a burger or something. I was easy, anyway and would have quite easily eaten anything. Alas I don’t think everyone else was in the same frame of mind as I.

We walked into Marantos and we were told that we would have to wait an hour 15- and as people were “starving” we decided to try elsewhere. What ensued then was six adults stood in the rain trying to decide where, out of the plethora of different eating establishments on Lark Lane, we should frequent. A decision wasn’t made, and JK & JK and Sweet Jon-ay & eve-e-o decided that they must eat and went home. Lisa and I decided to have a few beers and wait on our own.

We waited longer than we were told. Not that it was a problem., the cake I ate back at the flat had filled me up and even after my delicious goat’s cheese starter was consumed I declared myself completely full.

We had to wait an eon for the main courses- two Italian burgers to arrive. Lisa wanted to ask the waiter how long it would be, but I reasoned with her that you can’t complain until at least half an hour after the starter had been finished and the plates removed. We waited for the half hour mark to cometh.

30 minutes and 5 seconds after our plates were collected I asked a young waiter about the delay. He looked genuinely concerned and checked with the kitchen. He arrived back saying they would be there in five minutes and apologised for the delay.

For once the cynicism came from the birthday girl, who remarked that they had no doubt forgotten and they would be doing it now. I told her to have some faith.
True to his word, the waiter arrived with our food. Yay!
Like I’d previously mentioned I was full anyway and was confronted by an awkward and inconsistent burger.

Firstly, Lisa had ordered the same dish as I, only she had ordered the double burger. Both were Italian burgers and therefore came complete with a dollop of bolognaise sauce, only rather unjustly, Lisa had a far larger portion of sauce. I didn’t complain, but showed my discontent to Lisa, who foolishly tried to justify it saying that a double burger should get more sauce. Quite reasonably I argued that the sauce should be a constant – the double burger just meant just that –a second burger.
I decided, at Lisa’s request, to shut up and eat.

There was also a bun lid situation going on that I wasn’t totally satisfied with. Not being the type of chap who orders a burger at a restaurant (usually I think people whom do are quite vulgar) I had come to expect meat in a bread bun. Instead they had made it impossible to eat with your hands. The bun lid just lay dormant on the side of the plate with a token bit of salad on it. I tried at first to attach the bun lid and using a knife and fork to eat it- it was clear this would not work successfully. I decided to eat the lid on it’s own- dunking it in my meagre sauce portion like a tasteless popdom.

The burger didn’t taste very good either.

I looked at it prodding it with my knife. I spotted something quite alarming whilst doing so.

Surely not?

I looked closer and wiped the bolognaise sauce away so I could get a better view. The inside of the burger was pink. Not ‘I like it rare’ type pink- but more mince meat in the supermarket pink. I asked to see the inside of Lisa’s burger. At first she refused but after explaining what I had found she showed me. Hers was fine. Why me?

I spoke to the head waiter. I didn’t ask for him, but he was walking past at that moment. I showed and explained the reason for my discontent. He took a quick look at it, and in his broken Italian/English said some people like it like that. Who-cannibals I thought. He said he’d take it back of course and enquired as to how I would like it cooked. I told him without any sense of sarcasm “properly”.

Lisa thrust her plate towards me as king me to eat some of her chips- I accepted although I wasn’t hungry in the slightest.

The waiter came back and leaned in close to my ear and apologised “ sometimes in the food trade mistakes happen, I am sorry”

I imagined the conversation in the kitchen:
”hey you stoopidio idiotio- you didn’t cook this burger properly.”
“Hey if that vulgar bastard orders a burger in a restaurant he gets everything he deserves. Hey look- he’s eaten most of his chips, and he’s eaten the bun lid- tell him to shove it if he had a problem he should have said earlier.”

I was pretty nonchalant about it all and assured him it wasn’t a problem, but I was tempted to mention the unfairness of his bolognaise distribution policy.
“We’ve got a new one being readied for you, and of course you won’t have to pay for it”

He scuttled away leaving me thinking over what he’d said. Lisa reckoned that they must have sn how undercooked it was, hence the proper apology and the free food. I disagreed, and to be honest with you was pretty brassed off that he had the ordasity to say that I didn’t have to pay for the fresh burger. The followed a ‘Fraiser’ style misunderstanding between Lisa and I regarding the term ‘not paying for the burger’ suffice to say she was right.
Eventually a fresh dish was placed before me.
Aggg. They’d over done the bolognaise this time and refilled all the chips.
I was totally stuffed but as a matter of principal I decided to eat it. Naturally this time I left the bun lid well alone.

1 comment:

McParty said...

There are rumours of a McParty in the west for ones Birthday weekend!