Customer service is not really something we do well in Britain, its not something we do at all, if I’m honest. Often you can purchase items from a store without a single word being shared with the cashier. The girl in my local store is permanently on her phone and the only contact we share is the angry glare she will shoot at me for having attempted to interrupt her.
I imagine that this is something that would infuriate a lot of Americans, it infuriates a lot of Brits too but not me. I think its funny and very British. I hear that outside of London things are different (I try to avoid leaving London, if I can at all help it), but here, that’s how we do things: I buy my shit, you sell me it, there’s no need to suck each other’s dicks on the way.
Sometimes, on the rare occasions that some chirpy little dicksplash behind a till, grins at me and says “Good morning Sir! How are you today?” I like to fuck with his, or her, head and respond with something like,
“Well, my dog died and my wife left me and I’ve been diagnosed with bollock cancer, and I lost my job and am on my way to my best friend’s funeral. How are you?”
The other day I was smoking a joint with a friend on the canal tow path when a tourist laden barge chugged past us. Two beaming children were waving at everybody from their window seats. My friend and I didn’t even have to look at each other to know what to do, and with what must have looked like choreographed synchronisity, we flipped them off.
Sometimes though, we do have our moments, times when customer and cashier connect and share a little something. I experienced two such moments today. The air vent in my living room window was broken. I had no idea what I should ask for or what size I needed, so I unscrewed it and took it to the hardware store with me. “Do you sell these?” I asked the old guy behind the counter, plonking it down.
“Dirty, broken ones?” he replied, “I’m afraid not Sir.”
After purchasing my shiny new window vent, I popped into the pub on the way home and ordered a Virgin Mary. The barmaid wanted to know if I wanted Worcester sauce with it. I did, and as she held this gigantic bottle of sauce over my glass and shook it, to tease a drop or two into my drink, the top popped off and Worcester sauce flooded my glass and gushed all over the bar, pouring over the edge and onto the sawdust coated floor. She looked at me, smiled and asked “That enough?”