The customer is always right, and other popular misconceptions

Let’s be clear.  The customer is very rarely right.  The misapprehension that companies should always give their customers what they demand, when they demand it, has been used to the advantage of many an arsehole over the past 5 decades.  As a result, the relationship between customer and service provider in the 21st century is like that of a skilled extortionist and a powerless serf, with the customer wielding power like a giant baseball bat, ready to brain the unsuspecting salesperson with their skewed interpretation of The Consumer Rights Act 2015.

But this wasn’t the only nonsensical statement hammered into the public consciousness back in the day.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day:  No it isn’t. It’s the most useless meal of the day unless you are a growing child or an elite athlete.  The notion dates from the 1950’s and was cooked up by the Egg Marketing Board in a bid to sell more eggs.  These days breakfast is a Pain au Chocolat and a quart of sugary latte, specially designed for you to fall asleep at your desk at 3pm when your blood sugar plummets.

Form follows function:  What does this even mean?  This pretentious epithet is bleated by people who think they know something about design, but it still doesn’t explain why Polo Mints have a hole in the middle, or why the label on a bottle of Angostura bitters is 3 times too big for the bottle.  Or why trainers are white.

Inspector Sands of London Underground is real, and he’s pissed off about all the emergency alarms

An announcement on the London Underground, asking for an Inspector Sands to come immediately to the control room, is the cue for Londoners in the know to make a hasty exit from the station dragging their bemused out-of-town friends with them.  Long thought to be a coded message alerting station managers and on-duty police officers to a major emergency, such as a bomb scare or inferno, it has emerged that this is not the case.

We spoke to the real Inspector Sands in his Gothic lair deep beneath the ticket hall at Charing Cross.  Settling into a dark green leather wingback armchair, with a glass of Malmsey in his hand and a stuffed owl on his shoulder, the Inspector cuts and intriguing figure.

“I do wish they wouldn’t drag me away from my parlour when I’m in the middle of Call of Duty: Black Ops.  It’s nearly always a false alarm, like the time someone freaked out at a Tesco bag left under a bench, or when some French tourists vaped under the smoke detectors.”

The Inspector hasn’t seen daylight in 35 years and his approaching retirement will force him above ground.  “My pension will get me a nice basement flat in Hampstead, where I can keep my rats.  I like rats.  Rats are my friends.  Unlike the duty managers who keep cordoning bits of the concourse off for no reason.  Why do they that?”

A new Inspector Sands will be recruited soon, and applications are invited from serving police officers who like stale air, rats, unexpected gale force winds and taxidermy.

Morris dancers ‘worse than Hell’s Angels’

The residents of the village of Aston Tinker, somewhere off the M5, have drawn up a petition to rid their streets of a long-standing scourge.  The locals are proud of their quaint English customs, but one tradition has been ruffling a lot of feathers in Aston Tinker: Morris Dancing.

The strange sight of beardy middle-aged bouffant-shirted hipsters with bells on their ankles and garlands around their necks may be normal in somewhere like London’s Shoreditch, but in Aston Tinker, people are having none of it.  With a population of only 681, and a plague pit dating back to the 15th century, it is feared that the peaceful character of this sleepy village are at stake.

Local undertaker and petition organiser, Reuben Netherfield, explains the situation.  “They come jingling down Goose Lane in the morning, all 12 of them, and start up in front of Ladbrokes.  They have sticks which they clatter together, and stupid flowery hats which they throw into the air at the end.  It’s a God-awful din.  They’ve got to go.”

Starbucks barista Emily Bellamy agrees.  “We haven’t had such a wanton display of mayhem since the Hell’s Angels used to meet in the square regularly in the 80’s.  In fact, I’d rather have them in my coffee shop any day, than these so-called Morris Men.  They’re just arseholes.”

Head Morris dancer, Maurice Clapper, doesn’t understand the fuss.  “We’re only havin’ fun.  Obviously, all the girls in the village are in love with us, and want to try on our hats.  They’re our groupies, I suppose, we calls ’em The Tinkerbells.  We get ’em pissed on elderflower wine and take them back to the cricket pavilion.  They loves it.”

Cassie Halliday, 23, is one such groupie.  “They’re so fit, with their baggy white trousers and bicycle clips, and pink elbow ribbons.  Me and my mates like how dangerous they are.  I’ve shagged about half of them.”

‘It’s a nice problem to have’ just another way for companies to avoid admitting they’ve f***ed up

A company which recently expanded its operations by opening 3 new branches across the UK, has seen turnover increase dramatically, but has no infrastructure to support it.  Impatient customers have been calling the Customer Service department at Head Office to complain about delayed orders and staff powerless to do anything about it.

Managing Director Joel Sweeney explains.  “It didn’t occur to us that having 3 new sales outlets would result in a huge increase in sales orders, so we didn’t purchase more stock to cover them.  As a result we’re trending on social media.  Someone on Twitter called us a bunch of money-grabbing capitalist wank-badgers. But it’s a nice problem to have.”

Customer Services team leader Rupert disagrees.  “It’s not a nice problem to have.  It’s a frigging nightmare, trying to sort out the shit that’s going down.  We’ve taken more orders than ever and no hope of delivering within our stated time-frame.”

Shareholders are reported to be ‘over the moon’ with the profit forecast and have advised staff to concentrate on managing customers’ expectations instead of moaning about being incredibly stressed.

Not enough enormous skyscrapers in London so we’re going to build some more, confirm property moguls

“St. Paul’s Cathedral is in the bloody way of my next architectural masterpiece, so I’ve applied for permission to knock it down.”  So says architect Sir Malcolm Hempell-Chalke, the award-winning maverick behind such London landmarks as The Spike, The Shoebox, and The Penguin.  Plans for The Lipstick, as it will affectionately be known, will be located at 1 Paternoster Row.

The dearth of prime real estate for foreign businesses in London is problematic, according to experts.  Fancy offices full of bespoke leather banquettes, Nespresso machines and unfeasibly tall indoor palms are running desperately scarce.  The Shard, The Cheese Grater and The Walkie-Talkie have only temporarily alleviated the problem.  Sir Malcolm has been approached once again, to draw up plans for yet another tallest building in the world; even taller than the one that was the tallest building in the world last week.

“It’s looking promising”, smiles Sir Malcolm, lighting a Montecristo No. 9 and wafting the match out.  “The permission shouldn’t be too difficult to obtain, enough money has changed hands for it to be a mere formality.  I know it seems a shame to bulldoze one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, but there are fintech firms out there begging for offices in a really tall structure.  Foreign tourists will just have to find something else to photograph.”

Initial plans to include an allocation of affordable apartments on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors had to be shelved, after tears of laughter from prospective foreign investors turned the cardboard scale model to mush.

Labour’s policy on Europe still as accessible as unicorn ambergris

Jeremy Corbyn has today continued to promote Labour’s EU election campaign in Medway, Kent.  With the date of the European elections fast approaching, and with Labour’s position on the EU still obscure, calls to provide voters with a frank mission statement have prompted a stirring of action at party HQ.

Faced with continued confusion amongst ordinary voters as to what precisely Labour’s policy on the EU is, Mr Corbyn sought to clarify the party’s position once and for all, using the quintessential political tool of the tortuous analogy.  This morning Mr Corbyn took ‘prole-splaining’ to a new level in front of a 500-strong crowd.

“Look, we know our country is very much divided between those who like BigMacs and those who prefer Filets-o-Fish.  The vast majority of Labour supporters like BigMacs, but a minority like Filets-o-Fish better, and there have been growing calls from both camps to just let everyone have a choice over whether they want to order a BigMac or a Filet-o-Fish.

So that is why Labour’s number one priority is, and always has been, to replace McDonald’s with Burger King, so that we can provide people with better sandwiches of all kinds, as well as chicken nuggets. However, it looks unlikely that we’ll be able to replace McDonald’s with Burger King. Therefore we will commit to securing the very best Filet-o-Fish possible, which will mean negotiating with McDonald’s to change the recipe, because the current Filet-o-Fish is rubbish.”

As rapturous applause rang out around the town square, partly from people in agreement with the Labour leader’s pledge to instigate bold change against a backdrop of economic turmoil, but largely from those who have grown frustrated with the lack of choice of greasy fast food, Mr Corbyn continued with his theme.

“And if – and it is a big if – we cannot improve the Filet-o-Fish, nor can we replace Maccy D’s with BK, then we support keeping all options on the table.  And all options would, by definition, theoretically include the option to just let people decide for themselves whether they want to order a BigMac or a Filet-o-Fish.”

Mr Corbyn refused to be drawn on whether he is, himself, in favour of fish burgers or beef burgers.

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