Friday, 9 April 2010

Small stories: Service with a smile [and a double entendre]

Just a few minutes walk from our house we have a 'proper' old-fashioned butcher's shop, a shop where the butcher [whose name, 'John MacDonald' even has a solid, old-fashioned, feel to it] knows most of his customers by name. It's that kind of shop.

One of my partner's ambitions is to one day approach the counter and be greeted with the phrase "Good morning James, what can I get you today?", but I've warned him that that's not so likely:

"How's he ever going to learn your name in the first place?" I ask. "What are you going to do, walk in one day and say '6 pork sausages please and by the way, my name's James'?".

The thing is ... it's just the kind of thing he would do, so I don't really press the point ... I don't want to give him any ideas which could result in hime making some sort of public spectacle of us. No, I leave that to others .....

I walked into the square last week to get a few things to make a sandwich with and, as if it wasn't bad enough having to ask for "4 brown fadgies" in public:
... this happened ...

After being served my aforementioned 'fadgies' and six slices of ham and while waiting for the shop assistant to add up their cost on the back of a paper bag [yes, they still do that there too!] I looked away from the serving counter to open my bag. When I looked up again, my bread had vanished. I looked around confused, thinking maybe the assistant had taken them back for some reason when the elderly man to my right pointed to the bag in front of him and asked:

"Are these yours love?"

"Erm, yes." I replied, which resulted in him sliding them back toward along with a stream of apologies and explanations:

"I thought they were mine! I asked for some and then I moved place and I thought she'd put them down in the wrong spot. I'm sorry, I thought they were mine."

"It's fine." I said smiling.

"I thought they were mine" he repeated.

Just then, as if to relieve his embarrassment in a full shop, the lady who was serving him spoke up ... and it was my turn to wish I wasn't in a crowded shop:

"Did he pinch your buns?" she asked with mischief in her voice.

Me: "Yes". She turned to him:

"Did you pinch her buns?"

Him: "Yes, I thought they were mine. I pinched her buns".

Her: "Eeeee he pinched your buns".

Him: "I did, I thought they were mine".

By which time I personally was quite happy to put the 'bun-pinching' behind me and leave!

Then, on my way out, past the elderly man, he once again looked up proclaiming: "I thought they were mine, I'm sorry love" ... and once again I smiled, looked him in the eye and told him it was fine.

I then left the shop ... grinning. The last time I grinned upon leaving a large supermarket was more to do with being glad to get out rather than having felt a warm sense of community in there. Bun pinching or no bun pinching.

How about you? You're always welcome to share any similar small stories with me.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Ha ha, that made me chuckle out loud! The bakery lady could have asked for your name so next time you walk in she could ask, "Good morning Julie, how are your buns?"
    Sorry, juvenile I know.
    PS My verified word is botsy – does it know the subject of your post?!

  2. Or "How are your baps" which is what we call what I think you are calling a fadgie. If you see what I mean :)

  3. I absolutely love the sense of community you get in local shops - and the warm feeling that you get from feeling like a part of something. The folks in our local corner shop all know our names and they'll even tell me if Steve has been in before me so I don't buy more milk or bread than we need! :)

  4. Excellent! Fadgies, though? How does that figure. They call them "breadcakes" here. Can't understand that either. I'm with Sian - baps. Now, pinching those would have constituted sexual harrassment ;)

  5. LOL. That sounds like one of those funny emails that do the rounds! Bring back corner shops - they know how to serve their customers. FS. ~Glen~

  6. Oh that truly was a 'lol' blog post. I cannot believe that you tempted an elderly gentleman into pinching your buns - I dread to think how J was building such a relationship in the butchers whilst you were in the bakers! ;) x

  7. I think if you walked into any of our local shops and asked for 'brown fadgies', you'd either be sectioned or unconscious before anyone had time to even think about pinching your buns...



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