Boy! I Say, Boy!

A recent Facebook conversation raised the subject of retail shopping and the interaction between customers and staff. In particular, the first greetings and subsequent conversation. As we’ve all been either a customer or a staff member at some time, we all know the sounds…and the fury.

a. ” How ya Goin’, Guys? ”

This is a fine staff greeting if you are a dignified 60+ senior sales consultant approaching elderly ladies in an up-market and elegant shop. It’ll really strike a chord with them and lead to them making many expensive purchases.

Actually, you’ll be lucky not to get the point of a parasol in your eye.

b. ” Sup, Dudes? ”

This is even better. Only this one you use on the 15-year-old customer. The fact that you are dressed in a three-piece suit of cavalry twill and look like a British Major of Guards makes the sound and words even better. The youth will not be able to equate the experience with the visual and may fall gibbering to the floor. Call the clean-up crew to aisle 4.

c. ” May I help thee, Friend? ”

In Pennsylvanian Dutch neighbourhoods this would pass unnoticed. In Perth it is noticed…but the customer may not know what to do with it. It is particularly amusing for the Asian client, as it crosses a number of cultural barriers in several directions at the same time.

Thou must be consistent with thy use of the language and are honour-bound to be kind, helpful, and cheerful whilst thee are doing it. If thou hast a full beard but a shaven upper lip the effect is particularly good. Female staff may wish to wear a poke bonnet and an apron whilst serving.

d. ** Click. Click. Snap. Snap. **

The sound of South African or South Asian fingers doing the ” Come Hither ” song. It is one of the folk-dances of their cultures – but one that the Department of Immigration has failed to confiscate from them at the airport.

In their home countries it is used to summon and ginger up the coloured servants. If the snapper is also coloured, it is used on their lower-caste compatriots. Presumably it works, and probably has a counterpart when there is a motor car involved. Horn tooting.

Here in Australia it can call forth some amazing responses on the part of shop staff. Perhaps the kindest is to waggle the forefinger in the South America ” NoNoNoNo ” gesture and simple say ” That is not done here in Australia. ” Or one can break into an impromptu flamenco dance with continued finger popping and a final ” Ole! “.

e. ” Boy! ”

Also an overseas specialty, but can be seen to cut closer to the bone and to spill more blood. It is particularly dangerous when black people are involved in the conversation on either side.

The only really effective counter is to immediately effect a Steppin Fetchit shuffle and a ” Yassuh, Boss ” accent and overplay the comic coon by about 560%. If you can do this while being an elderly white person dressed in a suit you will create a deserted zone that makes Ground Zero at Alamogordo look like an ant farm. A little soft shoe shuffle never goes amiss…

f. ” May I offer some assistance, Sir…( or Madam )? ”

Speak softly. Smile. Be courteous. Behave as a lady or a gentleman would behave. It is a position from which you need never resile.

Note: If you are a customer and respond to this treatment by being polite, kind, and courteous in return, you will discover that the transaction will be made very much to your benefit. And you will be treated extremely well on every time you return. The staff do remember.

 

 

Advertisements

Happy Holidays

I intend to wish people Happy Holidays this year during December…in spite of Facebook memes and pressure posts that insist I must only think of Merry Christmas.

Oh, I intend to have one of those too…a pre-Christmas gathering with relatives and then a catered lunch at a hotel on the actual day. Merry will be practiced, I assure you.

But I also hope to have an equally cheerful Hanukkah and even a midsummers dinner. Here in Australia we do that instead of midwinters. If I were a Buddhist I could have a holiday during the month as well, and if I were a black American or a Hispanic American I would have even more celebrations to cook, decorate, and buy presents for. A veritable month of jollity.

And if I were an atheist I could celebrate the 25th of December as Newtonmas and send cards with ” Reasons Greetings “. I would be careful who I sent them to, however, because I think they would severely affect the people on Facebook who post those scolding memes about the term ” Merry Christmas “.

After all, I would not wish to affect their happy holidays…

A Live Action Version Of…

Of a cartoon that was drawn from life.

Do you ever find yourself thinking that the motion picture, television, and entertainment industry has long since been given over to pre-pubescent teenage accountants?

I’m drawn to the conclusion when I see advertisements that tout valueless depictions of equally valueless source material and aim it at an 11-year-old’s mind. While asking the viewers to pay a day’s wages for a ticket and a chocolate ice cream.

It is either the best thing since sliced bread for the investors or the worst thing since smallpox for the customers. Both might get what they want, but I should be happier if they both got what they deserved.

A modest proposal; if you are going to base a modern motion picture upon a historical Disney cartoon, or a modern Disney cartoon upon a historical motion picture, at least have the goodness to charge the original ticket price for the remake. If ” Dumbo” was selling for 15¢ a ticket in 1939, make that the charge for the modern version.

In any case, if it is live action movie, don’t cast Jim Carrey as the mouse. Rodents deserve more dignity.

PS: Yes. I’ve seen an elephant’s fly, but I don’t boast about it.

The Question Of Race, Including The Pit Stops

It turns out that if a question is poorly asked, it is poorly answered.

Take the business of black and white. Black people and white people… There are some humans who are really very close to black and some very close to white, but they are a very small percentage of those who are described with these two words. Most of us are either pink, tan, or brown, or a combination of the three. Doesn’t quite have the graphic impact of black and white, but is demonstrably true using a Macbeth colour chart…or our own two eyes in the sunlight.

Or the business of conflating two sets of information to describe someone…and making a horrible set of generalisations while doing it: ” Korean – American ”  to describe someone whose parents were born in Korea or ” African – Australian ” to do the same for someone with parents from Africa. The latter is marginally better than the former on  a pure land mass vs country basis, but not by much. It becomes even weirder when we look at ” Euro- Australian ” or ” Asian – American “. If the last-named has any semantic legs at all it should cover the native American tribes as well as all the peoples who eventually pushed on down to South America. After all, we’re not limiting our classifications to last week, are we? Ice Age is ice age…

And can we footle with the words when the air fares are advantageous? There used to be a classification of ” Eurasian ” that was used to be mean to people in both Europe and Asia by making them feel like they were strangers in their own lands. Now that the luggage and the parrots in cages are going the other way, are there ” Asiopeans “? ” Asiamericans “.

How about ” Afropeans “? ” Asiafricans ”

If the Inuit ever take a fancy to move to Madagascar via the West Indies is it all going to go to hell in a linguistic handbasket?

I vote we all do like Morgan Freeman says and just drop the multi-state-continent-race thing and just refer to people by where they live. I’m an Australian. Not a  Caucasian Germano-Hebraic-Americo-Canadian-Australian.

Just plain Australian…I pays my taxes and obeys the law. Nothing much before my emigration really affects me except for my prairie figures of speech and a deadly hatred for Edmonton. And that seems to be common on all continents.

If nothing else, reducing my classification to just one thing will save a bundle on Dymo tapes for the name tag.

 

Why Is There A Goat?

Why indeed?

The question arose on the back court of the Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne this year as I was photographing this Dodge. The questioner was a woman who was photographing all the cars at the hot rod show….always a pleasant activity. She was as burdened down with extraneous photo gear – extra cameras, tripod, and lenses as I was free of them. I used my travelling Fujifilm camera with my travelling lens and…well…traveled…

She was genuinely puzzled by the ram on the bonnet. A surprise, because she had a North American accent and the look of a person who covers a lot of motor shows. I didn’t feel it my place to enlighten her, but left as I heard her buttonhole other people over the question.

As it turned out this time., this was one of the very few occasions when there would be a preserved Dodge on display – the RAC show in the park had very few cars on display – God knows why. I am glad that I got to see this one where it was, as the visitors to the VHRS are respectful of the vehicles on display – they don’t climb and smudge over them.

Isn’t it magnificent? The Dodge may not have carried the prestige of the Lincoln or Cadillac, but then again how much better did it penetrate the Australian market at the time. And how many more do we have to see at the end of the day.

I just wish that the makers of modern cars could take a style hint from the 30’s and bring back solid duo-colours. And bonnet mascots. Surely there is a place for meerkats or penguins or something…I wonder how she would have done with a meerkat?

Blue Dreams

I am a fan of blue cars ever since my first one -a Renault 10 in light grey-blue in the late 60’s. It seemed to be the epitome of style and grace…in a small car. Since then I’ve owned other colours, but always looked keenly to see if whatever I wanted to drive could be had in blue.

This my attraction to this Chevrolet pickup a this year’s VHRS in Melbourne. It was on the inside, which means thee lighting was mixed – and I would have liked to see it out in the sun – but that doesn’t lessen the admiration for the paint job.

A restrained vehicle like this one is perfect for the dignity of the blue. I must admit that from the other side of thee floor I thought I was seeing a restored historical car rather than a rod. Closer inspection showed the lowering, rh shaving, and the other touches that have made this look so good. I love the whitewall and beauty ring treatment, but then I would love that on my little car if I could do it.

 There is a terrible temptation with something as nice as this – that is also a practical vehicle. The temptation would be to make a daily driver out of it and take it down to Bunnings and load the bed with MDF board and kegs of nails. And then where would the superb finish be?

Perhaps the best solution to this would be to make two cars the same – one for show and one for go. Yes, that’s the answer. Now all we need is Lotto to supply the question…