British high streets on Friday nights are often filled with drunks. It may come as a surprise to those who expect Britons to be repressed, donning top hats, and in possession of a stiff upper lip, but British society as a whole is quite tolerant of people being drunk in public, despite all the health repercussions and increased instances of falling victim to crime (and committing crime). There are of course different types of drunkards such as happy, sad, violent, and violently sick. Among the brave people who constantly face these drunkards are the workers at fast food outlets, purveyors of food such as pizza, kebab, and fish and chips. I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the frontline against the weekend drunkards.
A week ago, I returned home relatively late, and being lazy, I thought I’d have something from the local fish and chip shop. It’s a kind of place that sells all sorts of unhealthy, fatty, salty foods, from kebabs to burgers to fish and chips. It does not exactly reach the heights of culinary sophistication and excellence, but then on a windy, chilly Friday evening, soggy chips drenched in malt vinegar and unevenly sprinkled with salt are somehow reassuring.
As I waited for my scampi and chips, two drunks came and started to harass or – as they probably saw it – engage in a banter with the server. They were the kind of drunks who fancied themselves touched by comedic genius by imbibing alcoholic beverages. So one of them wanted a cheeseburger without cheese. Hilarious! I was impressed by the patience and humour of the server. First she engaged in a little banter, establishing whether these drunks actually wanted something or not, and that seemingly the case, she then secured a £5 note, before asking again what exactly they wanted.
Finally she said that she could give them a cheeseburger without cheese but that will incur an extra 50p charge to remove the cheese. The drunks’ brains started to work furiously, and I could almost hear the whirring and ticking of the brains. They decided, somewhat sheepishly but in good humour to their credit, that they wanted an ordinary burger.