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Sing A Little Softer, Daddy-O

, , , , | Related | June 26, 2022

My family has gone to a karaoke night at a pub because my sister is a very talented singer and my dad wants to show off. The little one and I get our duet out of the way first, and then it’s her time to shine. Almost every time she gets up to sing, the pub noticeably quietens.

Later into the night, my dad is tipsily boasting to the bartender about how great my sister is. She’s in this orchestra and did this music exam, and so on and so forth. However, he’s sober enough to notice the very drunk guy who starts trying to hit on my sister.

Dad: “Oi, knock it off. She’s only sixteen!”

Drunk Guy: “Huh? No, no.”

Dad: “Get lost.”

The drunk guy gets lost to a table a bit away and thankfully doesn’t come back to bother my sister again. Since my dad has that sorted, I’m not paying too much attention to the drunk guy and notice that the bartender seems to be studiously not paying attention. My dad goes back to his boasting, though, and the bartender chats with him some more.

Dad: “And can you believe that she’s only sixteen?”

Bartender: “I wish you hadn’t told me that.”

Dad: “What d’you mean?”

She then explained to us that our town had a town-only law where under-eighteens weren’t allowed in pubs after 21:00. That’s the same time that the karaoke started. She wasn’t going to ID either me or my sisters, but since my dad told her the age, she had to kick us out.

Cue Dad grumbling the whole way home about how it was so unfair that my sister wasn’t allowed to join the karaoke, and how was she going to show off how talented she was if she didn’t get the chance to?

On the other hand, my fourteen-year-old sister was very happy that she wasn’t going to be forced to sit in a pub all evening again, and I was happy for the excuse to stay home and babysit her.

Lemonade Betrayed

, , | Right | June 16, 2022

I’m kind of the bad customer in this story.

At the pub I would regularly go to with my friends, I would sometimes be given a lemonade that tasted “wrong.” The first time this happened, I said:

Me: “Excuse me. I think you’ve accidentally given me a diet lemonade instead of a normal one.”

The staff just made me a new lemonade, I tasted it to make sure it was right, and we all moved on with our lives. Whenever the lemonade tasted wrong again, I told the staff they had given me diet by accident.

Today, I’m at a different pub with my family. I order my usual lemonade and take a sip. It’s the exact same “wrong” taste, so I say what I usually say.

Me: “Excuse me. You’ve accidentally given me a diet lemonade instead of a normal one.”

Employee: “No, I didn’t.”

Me: “But I just tasted this, and it’s diet.”

Employee: “That’s not possible. We don’t have diet lemonade.”

Me: “Well, you clearly do, because I’m holding it right here.”

The back and forth continues for a few minutes, with my tone of voice getting progressively more abrasive, until the employee calls a manager over to deal with me.

Manager: “What’s the problem?”

Me: “I asked for a lemonade, but I’ve been given a diet one.”

Manager: “We don’t sell diet lemonade.”

Me: “But this is a diet lemonade. I don’t want a diet lemonade; I want a normal one.”

Manager: “You have a normal lemonade.”

Me: *Gritting my teeth by this point* “It tastes like a diet lemonade.”

Manager: “It cannot be diet because we don’t sell diet.”

Me: “Well, it tastes wrong!”

At this point, the manager pours a bit of lemonade into a shot glass and tastes it.

Manager: *To the employee* “The syrup’s out.” *To me* “Give us a moment and we’ll get you a new one.”

Me: “Finally. Thank you.”

After they sorted the syrup, my lemonade tasted fine. I went back to the table my family was at.

Me: “I think maybe I can’t actually taste the difference because it was a syrup thing and not diet.”

Dad: “I can’t believe you actually spoke to them like that.”

Me: “Like what?”

Dad: “You were getting quite aggressive with your words there.”

Me: “I wasn’t being aggressive; I just wanted my lemonade to be right.”

Dad: “Yeah, but you should’ve been nicer about it.”

I know I was getting annoyed, but I hadn’t quite realised how bad I was behaving until afterward.

That Was Easier Than Riding A Bike

, , , , , , , | Legal | June 12, 2022

I cycle to the pub and hide my bike behind a few buildings, not locked. Last orders come, and my bike isn’t there. It’s my own fault for not locking it, but no one likes to be judged, right? I have a look around and go back to the pub.

Me: “Hi, do you know if there is CCTV out the front? My bike has walked.”

Customer: “Was it locked?”

Barkeep: “I don’t think so, sorry.”

Customer: “Police won’t be interested. You won’t get it back.”

Me: *To the barkeep* “Thanks for your help.” *To the customer* “Thanks, but that isn’t what I asked, and I can deal with the authorities.”

He’s right, though. If you don’t take basic precautions, what do you expect? I report it anyway.

Me: “Hi, can I report the theft of a bicycle?” *Gives details*

Police #1: “I’ve logged that, incident [number]. I hope you get it back. Good luck.”

My phone rings soon after.

Police #2: “We have your bike here at [Police Station ten km away].”

Me: “I… How? Did somebody presume it was lost or something? I’ll come and get it in the morning.”

Police #2: “I don’t know, probably.”

My phone rings again soon after.

Me: “Bicycle theft victim answering service, how may I be of assistance?”

Police #3: “Would you like to make a statement for court?”

Me: “How can you make a statement about a lost bicycle?”

Police #3: “Actually, I confiscated it.”

Me: “Wait a minute. At 10:00 pm, I leave a $50 bike in a car park, not secured in any way. Two hours later, it is in the police station. How did that happen?”

Police #3: “I was on a foot patrol. A ten-year-old boy cycled past. I knew him, and I knew it wasn’t his bike, and I’m treating it as theft.”

Me: “Where?”

Police: #3: “On [Street the pub is on].”

Me: “Well, I can’t fault that for service. What will you do with him? Have a chat with the [jargon for officer who deals with children]?”

Police #3: “Realistically? I’ll give him a telling off with a social worker in his care home.”

I now have the full picture. At 11:00 pm, a child absconded from his care home and took my bike for a joyride. Two hundred metres away, he cycled past a cop. Game over. I was exceptionally lucky.

Me: “If it makes it easier to explain to him that taking bicycles is wrong, then I’ll make a statement.”

Police #3: “Are you one of my colleagues? You know some cop-speak.”

Me: “Not currently, but some of my in-laws are.”

My phone rings again.

Police #4: “Are you in now, and I’ll drive this bicycle out to you?”

Me: “If you can fit it into your car. It’s 0130; I would have thought you would be busy.”

Police #4: “No, it’s Tuesday. Actually, we’ll leave it to the morning; you’ve clearly had a few pints and I can’t take a drunk statement.”

Me: “See you then.”

The next morning, two detectives arrived at my house with the bicycle. They took a statement of one paragraph that basically said, “My bike wasn’t where I left it.” I thanked them profusely and assured them I would be more careful. Through unofficial channels, I heard that the conversation took place between the boy, the youth police officer, and a social worker attached to his care home.

But really, you absolutely can’t fault the service from law enforcement. Foolish man abandons cheap bicycle. Child finds it and goes for a joyride. It is confiscated from him on the same street and returned to the owner the next day. What are the odds?

Pardon Your French

, , , , , , , | Friendly | May 10, 2022

Most French people assume that most English don’t speak any French… which is true to a fair extent.

My father and I went into a pub in England. In there were two Frenchmen, chatting away. As well, there was a young woman serving at the bar, plus another two men at another table — seven people in all. The two Frenchmen were well-heeled, yuppyish, I guess up-and-coming managers in finance or consultancy. Actually, it was unusual to see French people in this pub; although it was a popular tourist town, this wasn’t London, and it was in an obscure part of town that many locals didn’t really know. So French people would not reasonably expect to encounter other French speakers.

I’m afraid to say I took a dislike to them — not because they were French but because they were obnoxious. As well as looking and sounding like they’d been drinking for a few hours, they would also make occasional disparaging remarks about the décor (okay, it could’ve been better), “les Anglais”, my father’s hat, etc., all while looking down their noses at us and the two men on the other table.

Although my father and I both speak some French, we just ignored them, getting on with our own chat and beer. The barperson came round the pub to pick up empties, etc. Then, she stood on the bar footrail, leaning over to reach something behind the bar. 

One of the Frenchmen, watching her bend over, exclaimed in French something very crude.

The barperson froze. My father and I froze, too, staring at the two Frenchmen. Also, the other two people stopped talking and stared. The barperson righted herself and walked back behind the bar.

The [Barperson] said something under her breath, clearly in French, maybe street French, but I didn’t quite understand.

The Frenchmen clearly understood, and I’m sure they noticed the atmosphere had changed, but they pretended not to notice and continued with their beers.

One of the men at the other table spoke up in fluent French, “So, which part of Paris are you from?”

The man’s partner, asked, also in French, “Le [Redacted]ième?” (A rough part of Paris.)

This seemed to catch the Frenchmen unawares. One of them started to reply in English, then switched to French, and he seemed about to say where they were from, but he stopped. Then, they quickly finished their pints and slid out.

So, all seven people in this obscure English pub could speak French.

The Unbelievable Freaking Audacity Of Some People

, , , , | Working | May 3, 2022

My two children — a son and a daughter — and I go to the pub one evening just after New Year’s. After we sit down, a waiter comes to take our orders. My children are twenty-two and nineteen, old enough to drink in Britain.

Daughter: “I’ll have an [Alcoholic Drink].”

Waiter: “I’m afraid that I can’t do that.”

Daughter: “I’m nineteen; here’s my ID.”

Waiter: *Looking at me* “Is she pregnant?”

My daughter looks embarrassed, especially since she is trying her best to lose weight at this time.

Me: “No.”

The waiter speaks to my daughter in a tone that suggests that he doubts that she is telling the truth.

Waiter: “Are you sure about that?”

Daughter: “N-No, I’m not pregnant.”

Waiter: “You might be pregnant and you simply don’t know it. I’m sorry but I cannot in good conscience serve any alcohol to this table.”

Me: “Listen, mate, my daughter is not pregnant. She’s just a little fat.”

Waiter: “It’s not her weight, sir. It’s the fact that she’s old enough to be pregnant.”

Son: “Did you suddenly decide not to serve alcohol to women?”

Waiter: “No, only women of childbearing age.”

Me: “This is ridiculous. Get me your manager.”

Waiter: “But she might be pregnant and not know. Some women don’t know until they’re about to give birth.”

Me: “Look, mate, I can assure you that she is not pregnant! She has been living at home with us since lockdown began! This is our first trip out since March! She’s been having regular periods and is trying to lose weight.”

Waiter: “She’s been in lockdown, so what?”

Son: “Since March. That’s nine months, dumba**. She hasn’t had any physical contact with any other men. Just me and our mum.”

Waiter: “That doesn’t rule out anything.”

I am at boiling point, but I choose to try and remain calm. My son is also visibly angry and my daughter is close to tears.

Me: “Manager. Now.”

The manager came out to question the waiter, who had started to turn red. The manager then had all of the drinks that the waiter had served that night taken back. None of the drinks served to tables with young women present had alcohol, just substitutions. The waiter was reprimanded for his behaviour.