Do you want fries with that?


I’m obviously better preserved than I thought. I’ve clearly kept my youthful good looks. At least you’d think so from the number of people who seem to assume I was born yesterday. It’s like the time I was levelling up a gateway. When livestock or tractors go into a field they can make a bit of a mess. It’s easy to understand why, everything passes through that one narrow passage.

So if the gateway runs the risk of getting churned up, we’ll often tip something in it to provide a hard surface. It really depends what you’ve got about. I’ve known people use sand, crusher-run, quarry waste, or any waste stone. I was just using some beach cobble. It came from an old building that had finally had to come down. As I was levelling it out a chap was watching me and commented that there were a couple of pieces of decent red sandstone in it. He explained that he was looking for some sandstone as he was planning to have a rockery at one end of his garden, and fancied sandstone for it.
He then asked if he could have some of mine. So I gestured to the two pieces visible and commented that if he wanted, he could have them. I was then led to understand that actually, he was hoping he could have what I had in the yard as well. Not only that but he didn’t expect to have to grub about in the dirt for it himself, he rather expected me to deliver it. And because he was doing me such a favour he didn’t expect to have to pay anything.

Now I might not be at the cutting edge of technology, but I can still use google and I know that the sort of sandstone he’s after costs about £400 a ton. (And that’s collected, delivery is extra.)
Strangely enough I felt disinclined to fall in with his wishes, and he left in a huff. And this was no youthful snowflake assuming the world owed him a living. This was a chap in his sixties.

But there again, I’ve got friends who work in fast-food outlets. (In point of fact it seems I’m unusual in that I admit to having friends in that trade. From comments they have made to me, it seems that socially they’re assumed to be irremediably stupid to work in such places.)

But listening to their tales of ‘customer interaction’ would turn your hair white. Talking to one, he was ‘building a sandwich’ for the customer. The idea is that the customer tells you the ingredients which are visible behind the glass counter, and you put them into the sandwich for them. One customer came in, talking on their phone. They continued to talk on their phone and merely gestured through the glass at the ingredients. The only conversation he had with them was when he asked which of the two ingredients they had waved vaguely at was the one they wanted. The conversation was one sided and consisted of a stream on invective from the customer.

Another friend works in a coffee shop. There are no dogs allowed but there’s a hook fastened to the wall outside so you can fasten the dog’s lead to it. It’s a quiet town, if somebody made off with the dog, passers-by would probably know the dog and the real owner so dognapping isn’t an issue. My friend had a queue of people to serve and he noticed that somebody at the door was waving to attract his attention. Worried there might be a problem he stopped serving a customer to ask what was the problem. The person merely shouted their order at him, pointing out that they couldn’t come in as they had a dog.
So he pointed out there was the hook for the dog lead he just got abuse. They wanted their drink then and there.

Again these cases are not stroppy kids, the offenders were ‘adults’ or at least persons over the age of forty.

The attitude is spreading to other trades and professions. I know one vicar who realised they were being addressed in much the same manner as the barista in a coffee shop. The person wanted a wedding, they wanted it on this particular day, and they wanted these particular trimmings.

When the vicar pointed out that it couldn’t be that day because the church was already booked the impression he was given was that a mere church service should not be allowed to get in the way of creating the perfect wedding for her daughter.
It has to be said that one of the real pleasures of my job is that I am not expected to be nice to anybody.


Courtesy will get you everywhere! Try saying it with flowers.


As a reviewer commented, “Benor recounts how he met his wife.
Benor and Kirisch travel 4000 miles to find said wife, then take a side trip to deal with a troublesome Tyrant.
We meet some familiar characters, some new ones, and even a few monsters.
We learn how an Urlan Knight and a Cartographer get involved in the fashion trade, how beauty and love can be found even in the wilderness, and how one particular paddle boat is powered.”

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16 thoughts on “Do you want fries with that?

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt October 6, 2019 at 3:38 pm Reply

    Entitlement! Who made them the Lords of Creation?

    I have a very simple reply to request for my time: I tell them what I charge, $1,200.00 for an hour. And I explain about having to set a whole day apart, taking a nap before and after, watching what I eat extra carefully, so I can give the client my best possible condition for an hour (not renewable). I have ME/CFS and waste (in other people’s opinion) most of my time.

    No one takes me up on it, but they always seem huffy about it being pointed out. “I only need a little bit of your time,” they say, to which I reply, “The preparation is good for UP TO an hour, but it’s the same price for one minute.”

    Kids and family and friends behaving properly get more – to the point of me giving them what I literally don’t have. I try. But the Entitled? Nope.

    • jwebster2 October 6, 2019 at 3:52 pm Reply

      You’re wise. Too cheap they won’t appreciate it anyway!

  2. jenanita01 October 6, 2019 at 6:21 pm Reply

    You definitely weren’t born yesterday, Jim… And you don’t suffer fools gladly, either…

    • jwebster2 October 6, 2019 at 8:14 pm Reply

      There’s a fine line to be drawn between being courteous and on the other hand hinting that you are not entirely impressed by their spurious generosity 🙂

  3. M T McGuire October 6, 2019 at 10:45 pm Reply

    I worked in public passenger transport for many years. Please tell your friends I feel for them. We have a very unpleasant habit of looking down on people here in Britain. We had some amazingly interesting and intelligent people driving our coaches to earn money so they could do things that were more interesting. There was the ex MD of a major print company making up his national insurance stamps, a world expert on parrots (close friend of Cilla Black’s husband who was also a world expert on parrots) a keen sportsman who liked the shifts because they left time to train … Lots of very interesting people in a humble job because there was a bit more to them than what they do to earn.

    We are who we are, not what we do, although a lot of folks seem to overlook that.



    • jwebster2 October 7, 2019 at 5:11 am Reply

      It strikes me that this is part of the problem, I sometimes wonder if those who are so rude are rude because they’re neither interesting nor intelligent and begrudge these traits in others 😦

      • M T McGuire October 7, 2019 at 6:32 am

        Could be, but most likely they just can’t grasp the idea that anyone could be happy just quietly doing a a job rather than having a career. But I think a lot of it is down to that terribly underrated attribute, imagination. If you have a good imagination is so much easier to have empathy. I think that, for the university educated, graduating into a recession helps too, because you tend not to walk into the kind of decent job they tell you you’ll walk into and you end up doing stuff like contract cleaning, washing up, being a waiter/waitress, crop picking etc instead. I, personally, believe that if you are in management you shouldn’t ask anyone to do anything you’re not prepared to have a go at yourself. And I think if you’ve done jobs like the people working for you do, you have a rather more firm grasp on what you can, realistically, ask others to do.

        Also, a lot of people are brought up to ‘not take any crap’ but they are never given any so it’s as if they have to pretend …

        Imagination is a very underrated skill.

      • jwebster2 October 7, 2019 at 7:15 am

        certainly in the shipyard here there was a drift from managers who’d come up from the shop floor to managers who’d come in with degrees and had no experience, and they hadn’t a clue

        A mate of mine was employed by one engineering company to take the engineering graduates who were hired and he was to turn them into engineers

        But yes the total lack of imagination cripples some people

      • M T McGuire October 7, 2019 at 7:54 am

        I can easily believe that about your mate. Interestingly though a lot of these jobs once you get into them are, sort of, vocational. When I worked in public passenger transport I felt I was actually doing something constructive and worthwhile. I would have a very difficult time marketing something that I didn’t feel contributed to world week being is you like – make-up for example.

      • M T McGuire October 7, 2019 at 7:55 am

        World well being 🙄

  4. Jane Sturgeon October 7, 2019 at 8:06 am Reply

    Reading your post and the comments here, Jim, it feels as if people in our society judge and also, have expectations of instant results. Adrift on the respect front. I have been trotting out a phrase recently and it’s working; ‘Thank you for the illuminating insight into your character. Enjoy your day.’

    • jwebster2 October 7, 2019 at 1:03 pm Reply

      I love that phrase, consider it borrowed 🙂

  5. Jack Eason October 22, 2019 at 6:09 am Reply

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    More from our Jim…

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