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A greasy spoon life, p.1
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       A Greasy Spoon Life, p.1

           Michael Carter
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A Greasy Spoon Life

  By Michael Carter (c) 2002, 2013



  I bought a wooden spoon today for my kitchen. It was two pounds bloody fifty! I got it from a really crap, cramped, decrepit little place on the High Street where they didn’t even have a loyalty card. Bloody peasants! They should catch up with the modern age of shopping, the point schemes, the free delivery services, those tricky sharp corners on aisle number four next to the peas. Look at somewhere like the Cost-Nowt Hypermarkets. When I moved into my own place last week, I needed everything new; all my furniture, kitchen stuff, bedding, lighting, it’s amazing how much stuff you need in one house simply to get by and not bump into the walls all the time. I spent nearly £800 quid in that place, but because I’d filled in a funny loyalty form earlier, I got 15% off it all. And then, for no further charge, they delivered it all, and there were two nice blokes in strange hats came into my house and sorted everything out, put things where they were supposed to go. Fantastic!

  But at that crap place where I got the spoon, it was pathetic. If the staff in that shop had ever gone to Customer Service University then they really should have spent less time in the bar.

  “I’d like to buy a spoon., I said to the woman, when I walked in. She was vaguely female and was squeezed into a dreary uniform that made her look like a disgruntled celebrity TV chef, and a permanently surprised elephant, had somehow started kicking boots and produced an offspring. She chewed gum like it was going out of fashion.

  “We’ve got loads of spoons, we do.” She snorted, and pointed to a huge morass of clutter on one wall of the shop.

  “I’m, er, making casserole?” I said, hoping it would help narrow down my intended purchase.

  “Good to meet you. I’m Irma.” she said.

  I smiled in a non-committal way, like a goat that had swallowed something unpleasant, and asked her if she had any large, wooden spoons.

  “Oh, yes,” she barked, sounding like a phlegmatic dog coughing up its larynx, “we’ve got dozens of wooden spoons, every single one made out of real natural wood. We’ve got spoons for every occasion, especially in the spoon section. How many do you want, love?”

  “Well, er, just- I just want the one really, thanks.”

  She jumped where she was standing, a little jump that took her feet off the floor, like Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers had held an emergency Halloween party on her spine.

  “Are you sure?” she said, sounding suspicious. Clearly, if I only wanted to buy one single spoon, there was something suspicious about me.

  “Didn’t you see the sign?” she said.

  “Erm, sorry, which sign? There were about twenty –odd signs outside this shop.”

  She shook her head, as if I was the most stupid customer ever. “Right then, listen. If you buy twenty-five items made out of wood, just real natural wood, in one purchase, then you get a free subscription.” She smiled at me. “A free membership.”

  “Oh right.” I said, pretending to be interested, when really a dead fly watching the paint dry in a Government And Politics examination room would have excited me more; “Membership to what?”

  Then for no apparent reason the mad woman behind the counter flapped her huge arms and made a sickly noise like an elderly crow being force-fed barbed wire. I was about to just leave, when I realised dimly that she was trying to impersonate a parrot of some sort; “Save the Rainforests! Save the Rainforests! Sqwauk! Twenty-five pieces of wood! Crawk Crawk!!”

  I put on my best patronising voice, the one that I’d grown and cultivated for years; the one that had spent its education in half a dozen Government-run courses for the Unemployed. I put on this voice, talked slowly, as if to a small child who had a freshly-cooked toad-in-the-hole where his brain should be, and said; “I’m just going to take one spoon, oh-kay? Just the one. Thanks a lot, now.”

  She smiled then, I think, unless she had some kind of irritated bowel problem, picked up a large wooden-spoon from behind the counter, charged me for it, and then waved it threateningly at me.

  “Would you like a bag!” she squawked.

  I grabbed the spoon and fled.

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