There’s a sushi joint nearby which I occasionally pick up some food from. Service is occasionally a little stifled for fluency on the English-language side and varies somewhat for pace when they’re busy, but is otherwise friendly-enough, usually smiling and never anything to take objection to.

Until the other night. Not especially busy, but some folks eating there, and me and another guy at counter. Unbeknownst to me, they’ve added to staff young woman who’s been in a bad mood the last 20-26 years or so.

Eventually she saunters over and starts to serve the guy who got in just ahead of me. And then diverts over to happy pappy guy in dressing gown who’s overseeing the food, has a yammer to him, eventually wanders back, talks to guy, wanders back to Dressing Gown Don, and finally completes serving the other chap.

By the time she gets back to the counter and turns a 20 metre scowl on me, I’m pretty much ready to roll with the retail transaction and seeing no need to lollygag around. Before she’s had time to languidly brush back her hair, take an extended snooze in a deckchair or have another chat with Dressing Gown Don, I say, I’ll have that sushi box right there (pointing helpfully).

She grabs it and looking at me like she just saw me on Crime Stoppers barks (and there is no other word for it): “$8.50!”

I have a ten dollar note out in a quarter-second because I’m now both extremely hungry and keener than anyone – employee or customer – has ever been in the history of the world to get out of that sushi joint.

Nonetheless, she barks again, “$8.50!”

I then hold it close enough under her nose that she cannot possibly screech “$8.50!” at me again without tacitly acknowledging my right to stuff it up her nostril if she does this.

She snatches note, flings the change and the sushi box at me and turns on her heel to go back to Dressing Gown Don for some more customer-free air.

However, when I buy a sushi box, I have this weird routine – I call it trying to be a satisfied customer – where I like to make sure there’s plenty of wasabi and pickled ginger, because, well, that’s what I want and I generally prefer a double-dose of each which I’m happy to pay extra for, if they’re going to be mingy about it.

So I start the dialogue, to mein hostesses departing back, “Err, any wasabi in there?” but this hits a nasty nerve – as you can no doubt well and truly see it might – on Murderous Minerva, who part turns her head to hiss, between clenched teeth, “Yes, wasabi!!”, rather in the manner that martial artists in movies and TV shows of the past hurled star-daggers.

Thoughts of clarification on the pickled ginger issue disappeared, as indeed rapidly did the food non-service person concerned.  ++ “Right,” I said to an empty counter, and, then, as I turned and left, “Jesus!”

I gather the two seated diners who were still staring open-mouthed at the sulphur-and-brimstone clouded space where the human antidote to customer service had previously been standing were similarly impressed.

Anyway, I’ll be sure and recommend the place to all my friends, you bet.


++ (Note – naturally, when I got the food home, there was, for my nefarious culinary purposes, insufficient ginger.)



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