Thank You For The Lesson


Thank you, sir. I didn’t realise at the time that I would be, but I am grateful to you now.

When I tried to answer your enquiries in our shop and you kept interrupting me I was mildly upset – it seemed as though you were riding me down. Each time I said anything your response was Yayayayayaya. Eventually I gave up trying to say anything. The silence after you left gave me time to think.

We really were lucky there, weren’t we? You really did know the answer to everything you asked – before you asked it. I confirmed your knowledge. You were right. And you knew it. Thank goodness for that – had you been wrong the blow to both of us would have been unbearable.

Thank you as well for confirming that our prices were acceptable – You really were a whiz with your mobile phone as you fingered through the websites looking for a cheaper price that we should match. I never can do as well as that with our shop computers. I must confess to being idly curious whether you do the same at the counter of the Post Office when buying a book of stamps or at the cash desk of the Chinese take-away restaurant – do they price match? Or are you in danger of getting some terse Mandarin and a hot container of sweet and sour sauce thrown at your ear…

Quite apart from this facility with the touch screen, I must say I was impressed with the degree to which you are in touch with the wider world. Three phone calls in the space of ten minutes – of course you did the right thing by answering each one at the sales counter – it gave me time to shift the weight from one foot to the other and to inspect the paint job on the ceiling. I think there will be some touch-up needed on the cornices before long.

The boss gives you a discount? Jolly good. You and he must be as close as – that…Which one of you gets to be on top? Or do you trade around? Ah, perhaps it is as wise not to ask.

Duty free? No, the Commonwealth of Australia knows better than to try to compel you to any sort of duty. They console themselves for that disappointment by adding 10% as a GST onto the goods. If you leave the country within 60 days you can have that 10% repaid to you at the airport. I think they are being unduly economical – I should be willing to pay you a far higher percentage to leave within a day and if you gave an undertaking never to return I would be willing to throw in a set of very good barbeque tools and a coffee table.

Can I back-date your invoice for the lightbulb you bought last year to take advantage of the Tourist Refund Scheme? Of course – once I put the finishing touches onto the counterfeit $ 10 bills I am printing on the office colour copier. In the meantime, shall I go down to Centrelink and get you some applications for income payments or perhaps a subsidy from the Wheat Board while I am at it? All in a day’s service.





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