I live in a village, which means everyone knows everyone, and as a result you tend to err on the friendly side because if you piss off someone, you are likely to have to run in to them every other day of the week, whether in the supermarket, or on the ferry, or in the bank. So it’s better to keep the peace, and play nice. But sometimes, this is just not possible.
In my village, like in most villages, there is a corner store. This particular corner store, just a few buildings away, sells cold beer. So for the first time, I decided to patronise the establishment to go get my beer fix. I didn’t expect to get patronised myself!
I bought two bottles of beer and took them home. Grabbed the opener, and crick! The glass broke off in the bottle cap. The beer also had no fizz. So clearly it was a very old beer. A vintage beer, if you like. But, to me, worthless.
Like any straight-thinking shopper, I took the beer right back to the store to show them, expecting either (1) to get a replacement beer, or (2) to get my money back.
Take a wild guess how that went.
I showed them the beer, and the old man conversed with his wife for a few seconds, and shook his head.
Me being the typical lazy gweilo, I don’t speak Cantonese, so I gestured to them that perhaps they could exchange my broken old assed beer for a good, drinkable beer.
The old lady then went in the back, poked around in the kitchen, and came back with…
wait for it…
a TEA STRAINER!
As if I’m going to strain an old, flat, stale beer that has shards of glass in it, and drink it!
I gestured again to the beer fridge, to imply that they should obviously GIVE me a new beer, and all I got in response was ‘Ahh no no no no no no no’.
What the hell man? You sell me an old broken beer, and refuse to replace it? For goodness sake!
The tea strainer though was the best part. Do people actually do that? How much of a desperate, poor alcoholic do you have to be to STRAIN glass from a flat beer?
What can you do in such a situation? If I could speak Cantonese, I would have told them to haul their mudder so-and-so and you know what.
Instead, being mildly annoyed by then, I just SLAMMED the beer bottle on their table, and without making eye contact, stormed away.
I’m a non confrontational kind of person, but I recognised that I was not going to get anywhere with Grandma and Grandpa Cheapskate.
I just wonder though, if the old lady strained the beer and drank it?