Saturday 6 January 2018

How to offend everybody, without even trying

Do you want to see a magic trick? I’ll show you a magic trick. I’ll show you how to offend every single customer in the course of a day without even trying.

It’s not my fault. Well, it might be my fault, but I didn’t mean it to be my fault.

I was trying to be subtle.

It’s like this: TBE (aka The Boss Erratic) is still successfully doing a swerve on obtaining a public Performing Rights Society (PRS) licence to play music in the shop (of course she is), so I can still only play royalty free music. Royalty free music is the audio equivalent of tearing off a massively sticky plaster from a hairy limb really really slowly whilst simultaneously stubbing your toe on a hot poker (i.e. It’s eye-wateringly, brain-shockingly, painfully, dreadful).

Original photo: congerdesign, Pixabay

This has been going on for about ten months now, and this week, I thought:

No more! I rebel! I WILL play a normal CD and the consequences be damned!

(Actually, the consequences could be quite serious because those pesky PRS people do wander around with their listening earholes out, and if I get caught, it means TBE will be caught too, and….. oh, hang on, this is turning into a good thing…)

Anyway, I considered it would only be a teeny weeny rebellion: it’s January, it’s quiet. Nobody is even likely to come into the shop. As risks go, it would be fairly risk free. Yes, OK, technically I’m breaking the rules (and the law), but only in a very small way; nobody will be listening but me.

Now, what to play?

Unfortunately, in an earlier half-arsed effort to create some sort of audio-branding for the Out Of Favour (OOF) shop, TBE had taken away all the good stuff and left only the shite instead. She’d removed all the old blues and early swing-jazz gems I’d lovingly discovered over time in various charity shops, and replaced them with vacuous, bland non-music designed to make you die of boredom.

(Just in case you might be forming the impression I’m a musical snob, I’d like to point out that one of TBE’s replacement CDs was a compilation from the quite preposterously awful reality TV programme. ‘Made In Chelsea’…..)

So, from a selection of basically shite, I looked for something not something too frenetic, just subtle and gentle, and I selected what seemed to be the best of the bunch (relatively speaking).

I put it on. It was OK; fairly tuneful. The songs were a bit boring - basically the musical equivalent of white bread and margarine sandwiches, but at least the male singer had a lovely, relaxing, warm, mellow voice.

Then a customer walked in. As she pottered around the shop I slowly became aware that the man on the CD had started to sing, at the top of his beautifully warm, mellow voice:

“Motherfucker! Motherfucker! Motherfucker!”

I looked at the customer…..Please don’t notice, please don’t notice.

Unfortunately I think it dawned on her at the same time as it dawned on me, and she turned to look at me with what I can only describe as a mixture of disgust and astonishment.

Original photo: max60500, Pixabay

I launched myself at the CD player, jumped it onto the next track and smiled pathetically at her. She stuck her nose in the air and marched out of the shop. Problem solved then. Sort of.

Now, being the lazy wastrel that I am, I couldn’t be bothered to change the CD (there wasn’t anything good to change it to anyway), and after all, it was only one song that was a bit dodgy. Plus, given the almost total lack of customers, it was practically guaranteed there would be no customers in the shop whenever the CD got around to the offending track.

Practically guaranteed, but not absolutely guaranteed, as it turned out.

In fact, as it turned out four times.

Four customers. Four ‘Motherfucker!’ outbursts. Four offended customers.

One hundred per cent hit rate. I couldn’t have achieved that if I’d tried.

Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed my day of Motherfucker!-ing customers out of the shop, I don’t think I can keep it up. I think, for the sake of my stress levels, my sanity and the law, I’ll have to go back to that sodding awful royalty free music next time I’m in.



  1. ROFL! If you don't want to risk breaking the PRS laws I am sure that if you asked him nicely, Dave the Parrot would be only too happy to come over for the day and screech profanities at your customers! Alternatively I can recommend a couple of (in)appropriate CD's so that your customers can be offended with variety!

  2. Actually, I am probably very capable of screeching obscenities at customers like Dave the Parrot!