A Rose By Any Other Name by Paul Tanner

I tell him we’re closed
but he puts his foot
against the door
and he says I WANNA BUY SOMEFIN,
DON’T YER WANNA MAKE MONEY?

so I tell him
the checkouts have shut down
for the night,
all the money is in the safe.
WELL OK THEN he says
CARN I JUST COME IN
TO AVE A BROWSE?

If we weren’t going to serve him
when he was buying,
why would we let him in
when he’s not?

This argument
is too obvious to make,
it would depress me
to have to patronise him
like that
so I just tell him:
no.

BUT! his face puffs up
his eyes well up
his limbs flail up and down

Sir, I sigh.
I have a lot of shelves to stack
before I can go home.
I just want to go home, ok?

YOU’D RATHER GO OME
THAN SERVE ME?
he jabs a yellow thimble thumb
betwxit his man bosom,
OK, FINE!
THAT’S ALL I NEEDED TER HEAR!
and off he goes
at last
jiggling his bosom
into the Thursday evening night
with the precious quote
he was waiting for,
the one he emails to customer service
that very night:

YOUR WORKER TOLD ME
HE WOULD RATHER BE AT HOME
THAN SERVE CUSTOMERS!
he tells my army of bosses.

Am I commended
for doing the job of a security guard
for free?
Whilst I was
staying late
unpaid
to clean up the public’s mess?

Not quite.

For as always
the customer
with bad customer service syndrome
gets the best customer service:

He wanted to argue.
He wanted to complain.
He wanted to be a victim.
And most of all
he wanted me punished
for these things.

He got all of these things.

When he was haranguing me,
his fat hands waving,
I saw a Vote Labour fob
dangling from his keys.

I imagine him in his armchair:

complaining about
rising unemployment
even though
he contributes to it

complaining that companies
have too much power
over our lives:
especially when they listen
to people like him.

companies
are people

politicians
are people

customers
are people

There’s a common as muck
denominator
there
warning you
against all these things.

Paul Tanner photo
Paul Tanner’s new book ‘Notes of A Pleb Vol. 6’ will be available soon and this poem’s from it.
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