Yes, I’m fully aware that I used the ‘It’s Quizmas’ title for last year’s festive blog as well, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. After all that’s why there are, at the time of writing, 25 (or to be more correct XXV) Treehouse of Horror episodes in The Simpsons.
Just like ghosts in A Christmas Carol, there are three strands to this blog. Actually, it’s entirely unlike A Christmas Carol, are there are four ghosts in that story; five if you’ve on seen the Muppet version as there were two Marleys. I shall therefore get seasonal by reverting to Christmas musical references instead.
“and the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom” – the works team Christmas meal.
Anyone who knows me personally, or indeed any regular readers, know that I’m a miserable old git (at this time of the year Mr Humbug), so working in a complaints handling organisation is really the ideal role for me. This is something you will need to know, dear reader, as this blog unfolds.
To set the scene, there were meant to be 15 of us at the meal (at a local, and quite expensive, restaurant – I voted for a cheaper meal at Weatherspoons leaving more money to be spent on beer, and was sadly overruled. Bloody democracy!) However, due to illness only 12 of us actually went. Not a problem, as said restaurant was informed beforehand, and we duly expected the three deposits to be forfeited.
On arrival, the table was ‘not quite ready’ so we had to wait in the expensive bar area (which only had lager on tap – it was like my throat was cut) while the ladies were tempted with overpriced cocktails made with unbranded spirits. They caved in very easily!
Once the table was ready, our coats were taken and we were sat down. At this point we were advised that, despite cancelling the meals of the non-attendees well in advance, we were going to have to be fully charged for these meals, as the restaurant had brought an extra Bernard Matthew’s Turkey Roast especially, or something like that. (For the best way to cook a Bernard Matthews Turkey Roast see There’s Something About Terry).
This was clearly a rookie error on behalf of the restaurant, given that everyone at the meal was, in some way or another, an expert in complaint handling, and therefore had a vast well of knowledge to draw from as to how to complain properly. And Dave was so shocked at the level of customer service being provided, he even forgot to ask the waitress if she was a stripper (see It’s Quizmas).
The restaurant refused to serve the extra three meals that they insisted we would have to pay for, as we had no-one to eat them, but couldn’t answer the basic question as to where our missing three colleagues were expected to sit had they attended – we were on their biggest table, which only seated 14.
Three layers of management later, the shoddy excuses expertly brushed aside, and it was agreed that we would only be charged the deposits for the missing people – which was exactly what the terms of the booking allowed them to do.
Poor customer service continued, with uncooked potatoes being served (probably with a double helping of phlegm on top, given our previous complaint). T-Mo* was not going to accept this and a further complaint ensued. However, the restaurant considered that acknowledging our ongoing dissatisfaction was sufficient and, as we did not specifically ask for the raw potatoes to be replaced by cooked one, they didn’t bother to do so.
The meal ended, and was replaced by the bill. A bill that included a full charge for our 3 missing colleague’s meals, and a 10% discretionary service charge that ‘could not be removed from the bill’. Following a conversation with restaurant management layer #4, the three unserved meals were reduced to deposits and the persistent service charge was only partially paid (we are English after all!).
To add insult to injury, when out coats were taken six paragraphs ago, we were only given one cloakroom ticket for all 12 coats, none of which were put wherever the solitary ticket required them to be stored. Twenty coatless minutes later and T-Mo stormed the cloakroom in a manner I’ve not seen since the 1980 World Snooker Final, rescuing the 12 coats from their captors, without any loss of life. That’s what you get when you give a woman two glasses of very expensive red wine and then separate her from her potatoes!
[It’s Quizmas II part 1 was brought to you by ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas’ by Band Aid and Bank, Brindley Place, Birmingham]
“the only things I see are loneliness and emptiness and an unlit Christmas tree” – t’internet dating
After the disastrous meal, we did the traditional thing and decamped to a pub. Foolishly they allowed me to choose the pub, so I went for the real ale pub I drink at with The Engineer*, The Mortgage Advisor* and The Taxman*. Now, while this was fine for those of us who place the quality of the beer over the location in which it’s served, it didn’t go down too well with all 12 of us – a number that was therefore halved as soon as the first drink was downed. It was at this point that my phone was hijacked and photos taken to assist in my ongoing internet dating journey (see Plenty of Matches).
This journey is not going very well. Mystery Woman #1 has still not responded to my message, nor have mystery women #2 to #14. Although, to be fair, I only messaged #14 to disagree with her views on the best James Bond (Timothy Dalton) and Doctor Who (David Tennant). Once I pointed out the error of her ways, and that the answers were clearly George Lazenby and Tom Baker, she responded by deleting my message. Oh well!
Both The Seven Year Bitch* and Black Widow* have counselled patience, in a ‘marathon not sprint’ type way. I say counselled – 7YB shouted at me over MyFaceTube and BW agreed! However, I have been messaged by a lady who,essentially, wanted to meet me. I responded with, essentially, a yes, and have since been roundly ignored. What part of yes didn’t she understand?
This has led me to thinking about what is my ‘type’, and to the answer that is that I’m not that shallow (fussy) that any particular physical attribute is an absolute requirement – except for a pulse. I have decided though, that I do like a woman who can carry off a good pair of boots; and I don’t mean some ‘text speaking’ chavette who’s just robbed her local branch of ShoeZone. And of course, it’s an absolute bonus if she’s Lucy.
[It’s Quizmas II part 2 was brought to you by ‘Lonely This Christmas’ by Mud and Lucy Pinder in thigh high leather stiletto boots]
“Do the fairies keep him sober for the day?” – The Green Dragon Christmas Quiz
This now brings me to the final part of my seasonal triumvirate – the long awaiting Christmas Quiz. One of the problems with writing a Christmas Quiz, is that it normally gets done in the height of summer. That’s when even these sort of people would consider it too early to be thinking about Christmas time:
So, after writing the quiz months ago, I couldn’t remember any of the answers when it actually came to the quiz; not that it mattered because I was banned from taking part anyway. So were Parker* and Dark Angel*, even though it wasn’t their week to host the quiz and they also hadn’t seen the questions beforehand.
The quiz also saw a rare visit from The Royal Blokes*, this time consisting of Hulk*, Iron Man*, Cpt. America*, Black Widow*, Maurice Moss* and the (as yet) unnamed Mrs Hulk. I did consider She-Hulk but, as I’d like to survive my next meeting with her after she reads this blog, I’ll go with Phoenix. The two obvious things therefore happened: (i) The Royal Blokes won the quiz, and (ii) Cpt. America spent all night whingeing about the fact that he needed a booster seat to be able to reach the table.
The evening concluded with me posing a question to the Fork ‘andles – the residents of which European country are the only ones who have to cross two international borders to reach the sea?
If you’re unsure of what the answer is, may I suggest you invest in one of these (I have):
They’re great for thinking, pointing, general gesticulating and writing down the answer when you finally work it out!
[It’s Quizmas II part 3 was brought to you by ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ by Slade and The Green Dragon’s pork pie and chips buffet]
Finally, concluding the musical theme, in the words of The Waitresses (Christmas Wrapping) – “Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! But I’ll think I’ll miss this one this year”.
Footnote: There was no Treehouse of Horror episode in season 1 of The Simpsons, hence why there are 26 seasons, but only XXV instalments. If you’ve not clicked on the requisite link, the 1980 World Snooker final was interrupted for a live broadcast of the Iranian embassy siege.
The problem with Timothy Dalton as James Bond was that The Living Daylights was clearly written for Roger Moore, and by the time he got to Licence to Kill, the Cold War was over and there was no place in the world for James Bond for the next six years. I’ll admit that the problem with George Lazenby was when he spoke to the camera after the fight on the beach scene, but that’s more forgivable.
Between writing and publishing, I have been messaged back by the above lady and we exchanged numbers. However, the conversation didn’t go quite as planned as nothing has yet been arranged and I’m waiting on a call back. It might be like waiting for some cooked potatoes! I’m also sure that there’s a joke in here about ‘storming her embassy’, but I’m not going anywhere near it.
*see Cast List