You may have guessed that this post is about the complete antithesis to the title. You may wish to sit down. You may also wish to rehearse saying, ‘OFFS!’ under your breath. It’s that sort of story.

I was in my local café the other day. This is part of my routine. Buy a paper, go have a cup of tea, gird my loins to face the vicissitudes of the day ahead. Fate had other plans in mind. The vicissitudes were right there in the shape of a woman with her child.

I like a bit of quiet contemplation time, but that was out the window as she shouted at the poor wee mite in one of those loud, grating voices that make your eardrums itch. She also had a bad case of facial roadrash and an arm in a sling, which anybody with any experience of such matters would recognise as UDIs, or Unspecific Drinking Injuries.

I also wasn’t at all impressed that she was feeding her daughter chicken nuggets and chips at 8:15 in the morning. Not exactly the cornerstone to every nutritious breakfast as Jules Winnfield would have it.

Then just to pile on the bad parental behaviour, she then yelled at the serving staff. Now these people are invariably polite and welcoming, and very efficient. Thus when she started claiming loudly that she’d ordered a sausage that she hadn’t got (by this point she was about halfway through a massive fry-up, so she should have noticed earlier) I began to smell a felonious rat. This sense that she was lying through her teeth was strengthened when she said she’d only had two rashers of bacon when there should have been three. Oh, she was missing a hashbrown too.

The head honcho was very patient in a way I wouldn’t have been, and merely said she’d had all she ordered. She banged on about things, and he got as near as he ever gets to losing his rag. ‘Respect gets respect.’ I was applauding silently when he went for the kill.

‘Are you going to pay today? You already owe thirty five pounds.’

‘No I bloody don’t. My husband does, he owes you the money, but he’s in prison.’

The subtext here of course is that the café has no real prospect of getting the cash in the immediate future, and she doesn’t give a rat’s arse. But it’s all right, because she just stuffed her face at their expense, and lied to them, all the time sporting UDIs.

You have to fear for the child’s future, don’t you?

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