Thursday, 6 March 2014

Losing Weight; my 30 day 'shred' and my run-in with carrots

I have put on weight recently.  I’m sick of people saying things like- “You look GREAT!” Because I already know that.  I just want to make sure I catch any weight gain or unhealthiness while I can still do something about it, and when you go from 9 and a half stone to 11 and a quarter in a year, it’s a sign you should make some changes.

In the past I have tried dieting.  I have tried a lot of diets, and not one of them has worked.  The only thing that ever did work was being on a Cruise ship for a month, but that’s another story.  Possibly the worst ‘diet’ I ever tried was throwing up everything I ate, and this had the added effect of making me constantly sore-throated, miserable and smelling of vomit as well as not losing any weight.  The trouble is, I know, in practice, how a person is meant to feed themselves, but I just don’t do that.  I’m far from lazy, and can make incredibly elaborate dishes when I want to, but other times I do unspeakably bizarre things with food and regret my decisions even while I’m making them, but some strange force compels me to continue.  Take Wednesday 26th February 2014, pour example:

7:15am Wake up
7:20am Make an omelette, serve omelette to Giraffe
7:30am Have Lemsip with honey to fight my never-ending cold
8:00am Have breakfast of a quorn fajita wrap, Satsuma and tea
10:00am Do 45 minute Yoga routine
2:00pm Decide to peel a 1kg bag of carrots
2:30pm Chopped carrots won’t fit in the giant roasting tin, so I juice the remainder and drink the juice.
3:00pm Carrots come out of the oven greasy and delicious.  I eat a sensible portion.
3:15pm I take an hour-long nap
4:30pm I decide to eat another portion of carrots
4:45pm I go out and run some errands
5:30pm I am compelled to have some more carrots
5:45 pm For reasons unknown to me, I continue eating the carrots until they are gone.  I’m not enjoying them anymore, but mysteriously their continued presence is bothersome to me and I will not be able to relax until they are eaten. 
6:00pm I feel EXTREMELY ill as I make my way to my friend’s house for a sleepover.
8:30pm My friend makes me a delicious risotto but I am unable to eat the chocolate eclairs she offers me afterwards.  We do, however, manage to force down two bottles of wine.
The next day: I experience intense physical discomfort and conclude that it is not particularly conducive to anything to eat a kilo of carrots in three hours.  To this day (even though this incident occurred only a week ago,) I cannot so much as look at a carrot without feeling a withering sense of despair and helplessness.

THIS IS A TYPICAL DAY

THUS, I have decided to complete this thing called a 30 day shred.  Will I be successful? I DON’T KNOW.

Day 1: Woke up feeling pumped.  Did Level one.  Thought- “hey, this isn’t so bad.” Didn’t have weights so used two water bottles.  Afterwards I felt ready to take on the world.

Day 2: Woke up in SEVERE PAIN.  Managed to do the workout; was fine.  FELT GREAT!

Day 3: Woke up in EVEN MORE SEVERE PAIN.  Workout was actually easier though.  Vaguely considered upgrading to Level 2.

Day 4: Woke up not in pain, and workout was almost too easy.  Thought to myself I may need heavier weights.  Attempted using wine bottles, but this didn’t end well.

Day 5: Drank a bottle of the wine last night, therefore working out felt like there were little people crawling inside my body and sticking pins in the backs of my eyes.  After the workout and the shower though, I felt a lot better, then I fell asleep on the train (for the very first time in my LIFE) and woke up at Cambridge covered in my own drool.

Day 6: Decided to upgrade to Level 2 under Foofy’s watchful gaze.  He kept telling me my ‘tush’ was too high in the planking moves.  I told him to fuck off.  I didn’t manage to do all of the moves properly due to feeling as if my lungs were about to explode.

Day 7: Stuck with Level 2 and it was SLIGHTLY easier.  Used baked bean cans as weights this time, but still couldn’t force my way through some of the moves.  Jillian Michaels a LIAR when she says some of these moves last 30 seconds when they clearly last 30 HOURS.  Have not sworn at a DVD so much since pointing out all the historical inaccuracies in Braveheart.

Day 8: This Level 2 workout was completed after approximately no hours sleep and miraculously made me feel 100% better.  Working out is fun! Back to the water bottles again.

Day 9: I almost skipped the workout today due to having an extremely busy morning and having to take a Valium meaning I was feeling all floopy, but I not only managed it at 6pm, but for the first time I did it all the way through without stopping! I must have been working very hard because when Foofy entered the room halfway through he paused, looked thoughtful for a moment, then said in a curious tone:



And left.

Day 10:  Foofy continues to watch me exercise, offering advice here and there.  He needs to stop this or we will be having words.

Day 11: This was the day Foofy joined in, but he only managed five minutes before complaining that his ‘shoulder hurt.’  He then had the cheek to blame me because I hadn’t given him enough space in the bed the previous night.  A bad workman always blames his tools.

Day 12: This was the first time I managed what I think are called ‘cheer squats with a V raise’ without screaming with rage.  I decided to engage my abs a bit and it totally helped.

Day 13: Again, this felt pretty good today- perhaps I should move onto level 3?

Day 14: Much easier because I was doing it with my best mate, who was the brainchild of THIS JOKE.  She was much better than I was at the beginning of Level 2 but she isn’t carrying around 2 stone of extra weight on her.

Day 15: Since starting this regime I have GAINED weight! WHAT?? I’m convinced it must be muscle because my arms look freaking amazing.  On the other hand, today was torture because I was hungover and it was very early.

Day 16:  Why is it getting harder? It shouldn’t be getting harder!!!!

Day 17: I can’t do some of these arm exercises- what the hell?!? They were fine at the start.  Considering taking a day off because my muscles are fatigued.

Day 18: I managed today- looked at the mirror while doing it to watch my tummy fat bouncing around.  I’m incredibly impatient.

Day 19: I’ve decided this will be my last day on Level 2.  Good riddance! I hate a lot of the moves- not because they’re too exhausting, but because they hurt my knees.  Now onto level 3!

Day 20: I HATE Jillian Michaels.  I HATE my body.  I HATE THE WORLD.  I HATE EVERYONE!!!! Now to do my daily workout.

This was actually- fun.  I mean, I had to take several ‘five second rests’ and one of the exercises I had to modify drastically because I am using water bottles instead of actual weights, (and what she was doing would have caused the bottles to burst.) but it was more varied and interesting and seemed to go past a lot more quickly.  Also, the exercises weren’t solely created in order to make my knees as sore as possible, like in Level 2.  All in all, I feel pretty good after that workout, but it may have been because I physically couldn’t do about a quarter of it and just stood there sweating and gaping at the screen like a deranged goldfish.

Day 21: I woke up today with my muscles screaming.  Apparently this is a good thing as it means that I’ve broken down muscles and my body is burning calories having to rebuild them.  I didn’t take any rests today but I’m still modifying some of the stuff.

Day 22: I woke up too late to do the shred today! Was probably good to get a day off to rest my muscles anyway…

Day 23: I’m really enjoying level 3- the only bit I really hate more than anything is the third strength circuit where I have to hold myself in the plank position and do various wiggly things for three whole minutes! Sometimes when Jillian tells me what to do and how I should feel I want to stab her in the face.







(On the off chance that Jillian Michaels sees this and worries for her safety, she should know that the second I turn the DVD off my intense hatred for her transforms into an unearthly, divine love.)

Day 24:  I’m just about getting the hang of the ‘mountain climber’ move but other bits are proving impossible still, like those bloody one-sided push-ups.  I was feeling confident enough today to upgrade my side plank so that both knees were off the ground, and I was feeling very good about myself before I over-balanced and went head-first into my waste-paper bin.  If that hadn’t been the last exercise of the work-out anyway I’d have given up there and then.

Day 25:  Something was niggling today.  It didn’t feel quite right- I managed everything with no rest, but there was this slight underlying giddiness that tainted the whole workout.  I felt better after my shower, then went to a rehearsal for a show, and spent the whole evening feeling…odd.

Day 26: DISASTER.  Today, I became sick.  I managed to stave off the worse of it until after I’d been in the MRI tube, but in the evening the sore throat came.  I decided to take a day off to rest.

22 DAYS LATER:

I have finally finished the shred (managing to fit in the other 6 days), because that is how long my cold has lasted- what the frig?!? I hope I don’t have something awful wrong with me.  It is a shame I could not completely finish the shred in 30 days, but 24 out of 30 is not bad, and once I’m better I will start exercising again, and here is why:

All in all, I would say that doing the 30 day shred was only slightly less enjoyable than my most recent cervical screening test.  It’s horrible feeling like your innards are being roughly scraped with a jagged, rusty nail and slowly pulled out of your body, but then again cervical screening tests aren’t very nice either.

However, there is something to be said for an exercise regime that doesn’t make you lose any weight, but that makes you feel amazing anyway.  My aim was to lose weight, and over 26 days I actually gained it, but, boy, do I look and feel better! The most noticeable improvement is in my shoulders, sides, arms, bum and thighs, so pretty much everywhere apart from my tummy fat, which seems to be completely un-shiftable… for the first time in a long time I am wearing figure-hugging skirts and leggings without having, mysteriously, four buttocks, and my waist is even more pronounced than it was!  Another unexpected result of this regime was that it made me eat quite a bit less- when you spend a portion of your day feeling like you're killing yourself from the inside out only to burn about 400 calories, you start to think twice about everything you eat…is that Crunchie bar really worth negating the half-hour of hell I went through this morning? Of course, when it comes to Crunchie bars, the answer is ALWAYS yes, but hopefully I've made my point. 

I also can’t help but notice all the incredibly positive changes in my life since starting the shred:

·        I am finding it easier to focus on writing, and don’t have the same desire for spending hours randomly surfing the internet like I did before.
·        I am spending time every day practising my skills; I’m finding things like playing the piano fun again.
·        I have far, far more energy and have put it to very good use; I now have three new students and a job singing in a show in London.
·        I really, REALLY love my body now.  I’d love it more if my tummy was flatter, but it’s wonderful to feel comfortable in myself and not like a failure.
·        You get good at exercising really quickly, and it’s empowering to see how much you can improve at something in a short space of time. 
·        My confidence has increased ten-fold and I have made some wonderful new friends!

In conclusion:


DON’T DIET.  EXERCISE.  BUY WEIGHTS.  BUY JILLIAN MICHAELS’ WORKOUT DVDs.  EVEN IF YOU DON’T LOSE WEIGHT YOU’LL FEEL #AMAZEBALLS.  IF YOU DON’T YOU CAN FEEL FREE TO TRACK ME DOWN AND PERSONALLY SPIT IN MY FACE, THOUGH THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE MANAGED TO DO THAT MAY BE EVIDENCE IN ITSELF THAT DOING JILLIAN MICHAEL’S WORKOUTS HAS GIVEN YOU MORE ENERGY, RENDERING YOUR CRITICISM OF SAID WORKOUT MOOT.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

In Which I lose some Blood and gain some Perspective

I had some blood taken yesterday.  It wasn’t nearly as stressful as the last time I had my blood taken, which was when I was having a sensible routine STD test and they said- “Hey; would you like an HIV test too?” And I was like- “Hell yeah; #YOLO.”



I’m all for people training on me because obviously they have to learn sometime, but when a nurse takes a needle out of your vein and goes “OH” and you look down at the crook of your arm to see a bruise rapidly spreading out under your skin and taking over your entire elbow area, it might put you off this kind of thing for a while.

So it was with trepidation that I ripped a ticket from this little machine that I associated with the shoe shops of my childhood then sat and waited until my number popped up on the screen. 

Earlier on I had been poked and prodded by a neurologist and apart from realising that I don’t seem to have any reflexes at all on the left side of my body (!), she doesn’t think there is anything wrong with me apart from TOURETTES, but she is putting me in an MRI machine soon to be sure.  I’m not looking forward to this one bit.  Can you imagine being trapped in a tube with me for 20 minutes with no other stimuli to entertain you apart from my mad thoughts? I can as well.  

Anyway.  I popped a Valium and waited in a drug-induced haze for twenty minutes until my number was called, upon which I stumbled over to the room and appeared with a glazed, terrified look on my face.  This would have been the time when I broke down and started screaming out of fear, humiliating myself in front of everyone in the neurology department at Ealing hospital, but I remained calm.

I remained calm purely out of embarrassment: from where I had to sit and have my blood taken, the entire waiting room of 50 + people not only could see me, but seemed to be actively staring at me to see how I would react to someone plunging a needle into the depths of my arm and sucking out my innards.  Self-consciousness took over fear, (though the Valium probably helped too) and I sat there gleefully smiling at the entire waiting room during the horrifying procedure.



After it happened, I said to Foofy (who was waiting in the waiting room but kept switching seats in order to confuse me, but this, again, could have been the Valium.) “That really wasn’t so bad! It barely even hurt!” Taking the plaster off later, however, was an entirely different matter.

And thus I (probably only temporarily) cured myself of my fear of needles.  It only took some Valium and a room-full of people staring at me.

Ironically, it was my self-consciousness that got me into this medical mess I’ve found myself in… since writing my last entry about a million years ago I basically retreated inside my own head and became this very odd self-loathing machine who only seemed to have three settings:





It’s not difficult for me to imagine where these feelings came from, seeing as my life for nine months (with occasional intervals for rest and refreshment) was basically this:






My problem is that I listen TOO much.  I listen and absorb every single insult and compliment that comes my way.  Although a lot of stuff I was told was completely valid, a lot of it wasn't, and the sheer amount of it I received was so overwhelming I no longer became capable of distinguishing between the two, and it made me question whether or not I wanted to perform on the stage or even if I wanted to be around people anymore. As I've said previously, if there was a job involving playing with puppies all day, I'd probably take it.

I used to think you only got post-traumatic stress disorder from going to war or losing a loved one.  Who knew you could get it from a theatrical tour? What a world! 

After this happened to me, my brain got very scrambled and I started to believe I was all these dreadful things, and I began to wonder why it was I had any friends at all.  I started to push them away and refused to see people, and when I did see them I acted like a belligerent arse for no reason in particular.  However when life gets to the point that you have to down a large whisky at 11am in order to get out of bed for a full day of watching television and hating yourself, perhaps something should be done.  In my case, this something was registering with a doctor and getting some lovely pills which changed my life, even though I felt so faint when I first took them on the first day that I almost collapsed in Morrisons.  I don't feel I've had some kind of bolt of inspiration that's instantly made me a healthy, happy person, because I'm under no illusions that it'll take a short amount of time to reverse the damage that has been done to me, and the damage that I did to myself.  I am still hurt and delicate, but I am appearing in a production of HMS Pinafore soon, so it's not all bad.

Thus begins the journey to make myself into a vaguely normal human being, starting with sitting in an office and being lightly hit with a hammer and hopefully ending with me not having to nod my head every ten seconds and feeling like I actually belong on this planet.  HUZZAH! Not only this, I did another theatrical tour, and it was FABULOUS.  I’ll try and write a post about it soon.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Some of my favourite Pokémon fusions

In a, perhaps misguided, attempt to improve my drawing skills on 'Paint', I have taken it upon myself to copy some of the most hilarious Pokémon fusions that I have come across in the considerable amount of time spent on THIS WEBSITE.

Some people might argue that I have too much time on my hands.  I have very little to say to this.  Others might argue that it was time well spent.  Please take a few moments to peruse the list, and let me know what your favourites are.

What are their stories? What would they say or do? Here are some of my thoughts:




I like Exeggcute combinations because most of the surrounding eggs look so cross (one has apparently exploded with rage) apart from the one at the back that looked like it had some good in its life at some point but is now wistfully singing the song of his people, completely unheard.  The addition of Slowbro to the centre egg amuses me because he adds an air of positivity to the mix; he's a shining beacon of hope amongst his desolate and unwilling companions.  I think I've stumbled across something rather powerful here.  


The addition of Oddish's face to Weedle just makes him look like the kind of bug you'd want to pick up and give a big hug to.  The fact that he'd be totally unable to reciprocate the hug due to his lack of arms only makes him more adorable.


I know exactly what sound this Pokémon would make, and it pleases me.  The thought that it could fly up to me and make that sound in my face at any given time is, on the other hand, alarming. 


This is perhaps the most beautiful Pokémon I have ever seen, and it also looks like it's doing a dance.  (I added some extra eyelashes for effect.)


Like 'Slowcute', I enjoy the positivity the middle face brings to this bunch of, quite angry, birds.  The fact that they are attached to each other makes this more brilliant, and just this one picture I feel tells quite a story...I smell a sitcom!


This is about the scariest thing I can imagine playing 'peekaboo' with.  I keep imagining that it's going to suddenly jump out at me; perhaps not in real life but certainly in my dreams.


I sense this would also be a good topic for a sitcom; hilarity ensues as two young men struggle to cope with their older brother's excessive alcohol and drug consumption, and try their best to ignore the devastating downward spiral that occurs.    


This one strikes me as the kind of beast that wouldn't know it's own strength and would stumble chaotically into you looking for some affection, accidentally pulverising you in the process.


I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to come across Lickisprout in a dark alley.


I included this one because when Foofy saw it he spent about five minutes literally rolling on the floor laughing his ass off.


This one knows where you live and spends every moment of its time plotting your eventual demise.  Just wait...time means nothing to Geosey. 


This is about the saddest thing I have ever seen.



WARM REGARDS,

Singing Duck
















Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Oh, CANADA!

After two weeks of extensive research, this is Canada (specifically, Toronto) in a few points:

1.  I have just realised that ‘Canada’ is very difficult to type, so this post is going to be a ball-ache.  I wish it was called something easier, like ‘Canand.’  Do Canadians have trouble with this? 

2.   I like Poutine




3.   Canada made me a little fatter than I was (see point 2), and owing to extrapolation, this is what would happen if I lived there for a year:



4.  It is almost impossible to buy alcohol in Toronto, and when you do find it, it is obscenely expensive:



I ended up buying the most cost-effective thing when a went into a liquor store; a 1.14 litre bottle of whisky for $37, which I drank over a period of eight days while blogging, watching Netflix and hating myself.

5. In fact, everything is expensive.  The transport system especially, and they only take cash, which I saw very little of because as soon as I got any it vanished in a blur of poutine and Reece's peanut butter cups from the vending machine where we were staying. 

6. Speaking of the transport system, the announcements on the Toronto Subway, while very clear, sound as if the woman reading them is very depressed and has practically given up on life.



7.  People are very nice in Canada, especially my lovely friends, who had all sorts of crazy stories:



They also do pretty incredible things like taking me to the most delicious macaroon shop I've ever been to and buying me TWO CAKES.  



8. Air Canada used to have the best radio station I've ever heard in my life; not only did it have a song called the 'Name Game' which involved rhyming names thus:

Katie Katie Bo Batie
Banana Fana Fo Fatie,
Fi Fi Mo Matie...
KATIE!

But it had, also, this weird song that went something like this:

My Family is different from yours;
We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner
Sitting on our mothers' laps...

And a poem called "The Queen, the Bear and the Bumblebee" which pretty much explains itself.

9.   Canada is the perfect middle-ground between the UK and the USA: it has all the spirited fun of being in the USA but not, it seems, as much of the crazy patriotism and pushing of children.  (Pushing them with regards to education and skills, not pushing them into an on-coming train or something.) They share the British apathy and self-deprecation to an extent, but seem to possess it along with a delightfully positive attitude, eh?

In conclusion, Canada is a wonderful place, but living there would be very bad for me indeed, owing to the fact that I have no willpower and most of the little money I would earn would go on buying poutine and root beer.  My friends assured me that it was just Ontario that had the weird alcohol laws and just Toronto that was ridiculously expensive, so perhaps I would live in a different province, like Newfoundland, which has the best accents of anyone in the entire world.  Having said that, there are many, perfectly good reasons for me to live in the UK forever: 

1. Marmite.

2. Do I need a second reason?

3. No.



   

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Perils of Customer Service, PART III

These stories involve people actively insulting me for trying to do my job.  Typically, I was called a 'bitch'.  This makes me wonder- what on earth would a man in the same situation be called? 'Bitch' seemed to be everyone's default insult towards a female bartender, and that goes for the women as well.  On a side note, I realise that a lot of what I said in these conversations could have been read as sarcastic.  even though I do like to use sarcasm, I would always be very polite to customers and even when I was humouring them I would always do so with an utterly genuine tone and facial expression.  I felt like this got them angrier and angrier, which made me laugh (inside).

The boy who was too honest for his own good

This is one of the stupidest situations I was ever in behind a bar.  A young-looking boy came up and asked for a pint.

“Could I see some ID please?” I asked.
“Oh, sure.” The boy said nonchalantly.  He reached into his pocket and brought out his passport.  When I read his date of birth, he was revealed to be only 17; two weeks shy of his 18th birthday.

“Uh…this says you’re 17.” I said with a smile.  “I’m afraid I can’t serve you.”
“But…I’m almost 18.” The boy whined.
“I’m sorry.” I said sympathetically, “I know it’s ridiculous that two weeks should make a difference, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.”

At that point, a portly man in his forties chipped in.

“Go on, love,” He winked at me, “give him a pint.”
“I really can’t.” I smiled back.  “If he turned out to be an undercover policeman, I could be fined £800 and my boss might have to go to jail.”

There was a pause while the man considered his next argument.

“Have a heart.” He said, giving me another wink for good measure.

“I wish I could.” I shrugged, apologised, and moved onto my next customer.

“Don’t worry,” I heard the man say to the boy, “In two weeks you’ll be able to drink, but she’ll still be an uptight bitch.”

Not wanting to seem ‘uptight’, I flashed him a bright, genuine smile, then returned to work.  As much as I hated him, I rather admired his turn of phrase at the end there.

The boy who forgot his sporran.

Another age-related mishap took place when I was working at a free wedding bar.  Even though one may not expect this at a wedding, it was being held in a public building, so I still had to ask for IDs when I thought people were underage.  One particular boy looked as if he might be 18, but I had to be sure.

“Could I see some ID please?” I asked him politely.
“I don’t have it.” He replied, “I left it in my sporran.”

There was an awkward pause.

“I’m afraid until I see it I can’t serve you anything, but if you find it I’ll be happy to serve you.”

There was another pause, and his face contorted with rage.

“WHAT?!?” He yelled.  “This is FUCKING RIDICULOUS! I have to go back to the hotel for my ID? I’m FUCKING nineteen! NINETEEN!”

“I believe you, sir,” I said gently, “unfortunately it’s the law; I have to see some ID.”

“GOD!” He said, exasperated, and stormed off.  Twenty minutes later, he was back, and brandished his passport practically in my face.



I put on my best smile, and said:

“Great! Can I get you a drink?”

He put the passport back in his pocket and realised, sheepishly, that everyone in the bar area had been staring at him.




The girl who liked tonic

Girl: “Could I have a Bombay Sapphire please?”
Me: “Of course; would you like that just on ice?”
Girl- “Yes please.”

I make her drink in about eight seconds, and bring it back to her with the price.  Her previously polite façade dropped, leaving a very ugly expression.

“Uh- where’s the tonic?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you say you wanted tonic, I’ll just add that in for you.”

Another eight seconds later, I had her modified drink ready.

“I mean, it’s a gin,” the girl said rudely while handing over her money.  “Of course I wanted it with tonic.”
“Of course.” I smiled.

“Bitch.” She muttered, moving away. 

The man who hated waste

I misheard a boy’s drink order and he realised it was wrong when it arrived.  This was a loud bar and such things are very easily done.
“Oh I’m sorry,” I said, “Let me just get you another.”

About ten seconds later, I was back with his drink.

“Can I have the first one as well, seeing as you’re just going to throw it away?”
“If you’d like to pay for it.” I replied with a smile.
“No, but, if you’re just going to throw it away…”
“I know it seems stupid, but we’re forbidden from giving away free drinks, even if it was due to a mistake we made.”
“But…it’s stupid…you’re just going to throw it out.”
“I understand, but if I gave this to you, I could lose my job.”
“Why are you such a stupid bitch?”

There was a slight pause while I looked directly into his eyes.

“I don’t know," I said honestly, "I was just born this way.” 

The man who thought the mats were out to get him

The final story is the only one which made me snap and lose my patience.  I feel embarrassed about it now and would act very differently if such a thing happened again, but we're all young once.  Perhaps I did the right thing after all.  One evening I was working an incredibly busy, informal and trendy bar, and I’d just served a very sweet, polite man a pint of beer.  I was just about to move onto the next customer when he accidentally placed his beer half on and half off a rubber grill mat designed to catch excess liquid, and it overbalanced, spilling everywhere.

“Oh no!” He said, laughing at himself.
“Oh I’m sorry, that sucks.” I laughed with him.  “Would you like another one?”
“Only if it’s free.” He joked (well, I thought he was joking.)
“Sorry; I wish I could, but I’m not allowed to give away drinks for free.”
“But it was this mat’s fault, it shouldn’t have been there.”

He glared at the mat and kind of awkwardly flicked it in anger.  I was amused for a moment at the thought that the mat had somehow developed consciousness and wanted to inconvenience a stranger.

“Unless it was me who spilt it, I really can’t give you a new one.” I explained, still very politely.  “I really am sorry; I wish I could give you one for free, but I could be fired.”

The, previously polite, man was suddenly looking not quite so friendly.

“I just can’t understand why you won’t pour me one.” He said angrily.  “I didn’t even get to drink any of it.”
“As I said, I understand and I sympathise, but I can’t give you a free drink.”

There was another pause, and he looked at me with interest.

“You’re just an evil bitch, aren’t you?”

I tried to respond jovially, giving him the benefit of the doubt; he could have just had a very odd sense of humour.

“With respect, you getting one free beer is not worth me losing my job.”
“Well I think it is.”

When I was a bit younger, I suffered with such a severe stammer that I’d find it almost impossible to speak when I was nervous or under pressure.  I’d mostly grown out of it, but owing to the fact that I’d just been called an evil bitch, I became quite nervous and began to stammer again.

“Sh-sh-sh-should I… … …call my supervisor?”

The man was amused by my speech impediment, and, over the next few seconds, his face changed into an expression designed to imply that I was mentally handicapped somehow; he pushed his tongue against the inside of his chin, crossed his eyes, and mimicked my voice in a pretty disgustingly offensive way.

“Uh-uh-uh-YES!”

I narrowed my eyes for a moment, seeing in my peripheral vision the shocked and horrified faces of the customers standing on either side of him.  I then did something I never dreamed I would do in a customer service position:



I subsequently ignored him and moved onto the girl standing next to him, who was very polite to me, and gave me a pound as a tip (even though I never got tips.)  After serving all the people on the bar I told the manager what had happened, and she got him thrown out of the bar!  She was awesome.  

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Perils of Customer Service, PART II

My next set of stories involve several strange incidents that happened while I was working, and my recording of them is largely inspired by the wonderful stories I see On this website, them all being pretty short and sweet.  

The man who hated Portugal

It was the 2006 World cup.  England was playing Portugal, and it had come down to penalties.  Now England are not very good at penalties, and my hopes were not high.  It was hardly a surprise when they lost.  For a moment, I thought- “everything will be fine; we lost, but at least we all enjoyed the game for what it was.”

It was at that point that I heard a smash, and turned around to see that a man, upset by England’s loss, had thrown his pint glass at the large window, which subsequently shattered, showering broken glass all over everyone in a three-metre radius.

Our manager looked calmly at the situation.  Honestly compels me to mention that it wasn't even close to being this bad, but anyway:






The man who wanted a scotch

This guy wasn’t rude, just really funny.  He was American, which made it funnier:

Him: (ordering from 10 metres away from the bar) Hey! Could I get a scotch?
Me: Sure! Were you after anything in particular? We’ve got some blends, which are cheaper, or some single malts.
Him: (reaching the bar) I just want a scotch.
Me: Well we’ve got about thirty different kinds.  Would you like me to recommend one for you?
Him: I want a scotch.
Me: Highland Park’s very popular; my favourite’s Dalwinnie…
Him: Could I just get a scotch?
There was a pause.
Me: I’ll get you a Famous Grouse. 

He then took it with a little jug of water (and on ice), and spent the next ten minutes explaining to me the correct way to drink scotch, and how he was in a scotch-tasting society back home.  Hmmm…

The man who didn’t like vomit

This one completely escaped me, and this time, my picture is in no way an exaggeration of the scene I was faced with:




Is it our fault the bride and groom paid us to serve mulled wine, champagne and white wine? Should we have denied them their dream wedding because one person chose to drink too much and ruin his own evening? Was anyone else throwing up and making a fool of themselves?

Obviously, I didn’t say this, but I was thinking it.  My brave colleagues cleaned up the mess and the boy was fine, apart from, I imagine, a deep sense of shame.  

The man who couldn’t see the Menus for the tables

So in a little café I worked in, people had to come to the bar to order.  However sometimes, because I like being helpful (and wanted to pretend I was a real waitress), I’d come over and do table service if we were quiet.  I approached a table of five, who had come into the almost empty café and, aside from a group I had just served, they were my only customers.

“Hello!” I said brightly.  “Could I get you all something to drink?”

The five people looked at me in what could only be described as utter disgust.  One man spoke for the lot of them, while looking around at his companions and laughing, as if my idiocy was so obvious it was funny.

“Uh…could we have a MENU, please?!?”

I looked carefully at him, and realised that they didn’t have a menu on their table.  I then looked around at the 12 other tables in very close proximity that also had menus on them.  Without having to walk anywhere, I simply reached to my right hand, picked up a menu from a different table and handed it to him.

“Here you are, sir!” I said brightly. 

I admit that I should have realised that a menu had been, apparently, stolen, leaving us one short but why would you (a) sit down on the only table without a menu, (b) not simply grab a menu yourself, seeing as this is an informal café and not a table-service restaurant, and (c) be really rude to somebody who went out of her way to give you good service? Honestly!

The man who didn't like glasses

I usually wear contact lenses, but I'd recently had an eye infection so I was giving my eyes a bit of a break for a few days.  A customer (who had apparently seen me before) came up to the bar:

"Why would someone like you wear glasses?" He said, "you had such a beautiful face before."

As the irony of this blatantly anti-feminist attack burned its way through my soul, I tried to think of a witty remark but unfortunately my brain didn't give me one.