I went to the Billy Connolly concert last night, and he’s reminded me a funny story that is absolutely true. I’ll do a quick grep through the files to make sure I haven’t told you this before. Because I don’t like to be repetitive if I can help it. Do I? No, I don’t. Don’t what? Don’t like to be repetitive. No, I don’t. Okay, here goes.
When I worked around the corner from McDonalds in Swanston Street, I used to sometimes go for an early morning McMuffin. Not the most nutritious of foods in the universe, it’s true. But delicious nonetheless. At least, as long as you didn’t study the bacon too closely.
There was one woman who served there who was like a robot. Middle aged, which is unusual for such a promising career-oriented work environment. She was out to prove to the world (and her manager) that she could serve burgers and fries and nuggets and shakes and more fries and sundaes faster than the human eye could see. She was efficient. She was fast. And she was devastatingly accurate. She knew the product range. (Who doesn’t?) And she knew the specials. Every one of them. Every week’s special promotion.
Now, I don’t drink coffee. Call me a scumsucking bag of pus if you like, but it’s just not my thing. Fruit juice, hot chocolate, cold chocolate, milk, water, all good stuff. But not coffee. No, if I want a caffeine hit, it’s Coke every time. When the guys at work go down the street for coffee, I go, but I have hot chocolate. No coffee for me, thanks.
This week’s special at McDonalds was free coffee with any McMuffin.
The woman would not take no for an answer.
"One bacon and egg McMuffin please."
"Certainly sir. Would you like a free coffee with that?"
"No thanks, I don’t drink coffee."
"Oh, you don’t drink coffee?"
So she goes off to break the world record for sprinting across the gulf that lies between the counter and the big metal food tray things. And to get my McMuffin. And she obviously doesn’t believe what she’s heard. This guy doesn’t want the free coffee. Some kind of weirdo? Some kind of pervert? Should she call the manager? Should she call the police? The whole situation is processed by her 100MIPS brain. And somehow, she blocks it out. She blocks out that I don’t want the coffee. Everybody wants FREE coffee. Nobody would refuse a FREE coffee. Grab the McMuffin, grab the coffee, back to the counter.
"Ahh… I don’t want the coffee."
"But it’s free."
"I don’t want the coffee. I don’t drink coffee. I never drink coffee. I hate coffee. I don’t want the smegging coffee, lady. Take the coffee away, I don’t want it. Don’t make me take the coffee. Throw it away. Don’t give me the coffee. Fuck off with the coffee, okay?"(*)
(*) Actually, all I said was the first two sentences, then escaped before she could argue with me. For the rest of my life, I will avoid her like the plague.