10 November 2010


Is it just me? Could it simply be that I am turning into a grumpy old git, yearning for the good old days, sipping a cup of Brooke Bond tea while eating cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off and nodding in agreement to readers comments in the Daily Mail? Or is it that....

It's not me - it's "Them" You know who I'm talking about laddy - and you too lass. "Them" as in "You"!

"Them" are those who ignore the fact that for years those queuing at the alleged "quick" check-out counter, (meaning less than 12 items and hopefully less than 40 minutes wait) have queued alongside the alleged "Customer Service" counter, thereby keeping the aisles clear for other shoppers.

However, the last few months, "Them" have decided it is not good enough - so they have taken to queuing in a straight line - oblivious to the fact that a Berlin Wall of shopping trolleys now divides the supermarket in two. Only the brave dare try to breach the Quick Check-Out wall of steel and thickos. The brave and those like me who simply say "Do you think I could get past if it's not too inconvenient for you?"

The older citizens - the senior citizens our children are taught to respect, play it both ways. They disregard the fact that an orderly queue is well formed alongside the customer service counter, and begin queuing in a straight line across the space between the check-outs and the shelves - then at the crucial moment push their way in front of those who had been queuing long before they appeared on the scene. One thing you should know about Sydney, if you are looking for good manners, you will find it in the kids (especially the kids) the young and middle aged - you wont come close to even sighting a resemblance of good manners from Sydney's Grey Warriors who demand what they themselves consider to be an alien concept.

"Them" do not confine their activities to supermarkets, that would limit the amount of opportunities they have to proudly demonstrate that very few of their brain cells are in the same good working order they started with.

There is a street in my local shopping precinct where the footpath is crossed by a lane leading to a car park, and which is bordered by two stores. I stopped to allow a car to drive across, smiling and waving him on - as is the local custom. He turned into the lane - then promptly stopped right in front of me! He got out and walked towards a nearby shop - completely blocking my way and forcing me to walk on the road - at least it would have had I not called him back and asked him ever so politely (honest!), if he would consider moving his car? Oddly enough, it was clear by his expression and grumbling, that he considered that I was the one in the wrong.

Then there are the "Them" that belong to that great class of people known as "Aussie Workers". Anyone who has had any experience of these "salt of the earth" Aussie Workers" will no doubt by now be nodding their heads with a knowing smile.

Plumbers, who after visiting four times to fix a cistern, shrug their shoulders and ask me, 'What do you think is wrong with it?"

Workers commissioned to replace guttering then complain when their foreman shouts up to them, "They are supposed to be straight" and reply " **** that, I can't get them straight"

The removalist I encountered this afternoon. Walking home during a sudden and ferocious downpour, my path was blocked by a bloody great removal van parked on the pavement. It blocked not only the pavement, but also the nature strip, despite there being enough room on the road to park the bleeding Queen Mary.

"Oi Einstein" I called in order to get his attention while he was upright, (something you don't often see with Aussie Workers). "Yeah, mate?" he grunted, proudly demonstrating his command of the English language.

'I realize this may be hard for you and your mates to grasp, but this is a footpath - not Wilsons Parking Station. Shift this bloody van"

"What's your problem?" he enquired, quoting the phrase so beloved by the Terminally Incompetent "There's plenty of room to get past"

Actually, there wasn't, especially when you consider the huge trees along the kerb. I pointed out that I shouldn't have to squeeze past or endanger myself on the road, just because the pride of the trade union movement is too damn lazy to park in the right place.

With a few more grunts and a distinct aura of displeasure, the great Aussie Worker, jumped into his cab, and went about the business of doing - the "right thing" thereby breaking the Code of Honor that 'Them" hold so dearly.

To go back to the question of is it "me" or "them" I reckon it is both. "Them" have turned me into an apprentice grumpy old git. And if it means I will never be accepted as "Them" then I am damn well proud of it!

Wherever you may be - be safe
Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved