Had unfortunate task of acquiring turkey this lunchtime. Other half positively livid that I had turned away the delivery, despite protestation as to quality. Mrs Payne helped this not one bit by saying she thought the bird quite adequate.
In any case, made trip to the organic shop and arrived to find queue out of the door. Furious at this thought on account of complaint would be quite reasonable to enter shop and request to speak to manager. Inside shop place was positively stuffed waiting to collect orders and barely managed to get to counter to lodge my complaint. Received several sharp comments on the way including statement of "I've been waiting here MONTHS" and "I say, who does he think is, ROYALTY?". Ignored these altogether and had but one woman in front of my quite unable to get around, principally on account of ridiculously large hat. Finally managed to shove her out of the way with a judiciously placed elbow only to hear an angry "I say, how dare you, you oaf!". Woman turned around to be none other than Horseface. Clearly still angry from last night, recognising me she made minor effort at pleasantries and as shop owner asked who was next was quite clear in saying herself, and further more, this man was pushing in. Heard a faint "Sorry Robert.." as I stalked out of the shop following bellowing command of "back of the queue!" from the owner.
Spent some time waiting outside in the queue, possibly now even longer than when I had arrived. Horseface passed by moments later with vague apology as to being "only right, really". Most furious myself and parted company as quickly as we both could manage.
Clearly another lunchtime and period of afternoon when should be working was spent in queue, and as near as I got to the front, still more customers joined at the back. Finally got to the front and had most clever idea. Would simply ignore that order had been delivered yesterday and get another turkey now. Surely the straggly bird was a one off and all would be well.
Was greeted by shop owner saying "Oh it's you", not seeming very welcoming. Proceeded to ask name and digging out the chit exclaimed that the order had been delivered yesterday. Made apologetic correction that as it happened, order had not been delivered. Owner looked most displeased at this and bellowed once more "ROY!", at which boy that delivered bird yesterday appeared. Seeing me, held out an accusing finger, saying,
"That's him! That's the one I was telling you about. Said your birds is rotten."
Made quick reparations as to this saying I said nothing of the sort, but owner clearly man to hold grudge all the same.
"He is, is he?", he said to the boy. Surprisingly, owner remained quite calm, assuring me that his birds were of the utmost quality, making sure voice was quite audible to rest of shop, so full that conversation quite intimate in all quarters. Went on to say he would be happy to provide a bird now to my satisfaction. Said this was awfully good of him, and terribly sorry for the inconvenience, replied nothing of the sort.
Checking my order, went into the back and brought out another bird on tray for my approval. Was at this point in quite jovial mood having owner most polite in dealing with me. Conversation quite awkward however when looking at the bird finding it most similar to last one.
"I say, sorry to be a pain, but this is much like the last one.", stated as politely as possible.
"I'm sorry, what is wrong with it? This is the highest possible quality I assure you." said owner, clearly fighting to remain polite.
"Well it's a bit...", I replied, trying hard to remain polite, and quite unable to think of gracious adjective with which to label the bird. "Well it's a bit, straggly."
Owner remained silent for some moments, visibly restraining himself from saying something he would regret, then restraint wholly let go, and owner looking me right in the eye gave tirade of abuse,
"Straggly! How is this straggly! I'm bound to say you wouldn't know straggly if it slapped you in the face, which I've got a good mind to with this fine specimen here! Maybe THAT would teach you about straggly!". Proceeded to slap the bird before continuing, "This is a fine, fine bird. I take great pride in the produce I offer, and an insult to my produce is an insult to me! I'll ask again, what is wrong with this bird?".
At this, quite taken back, barely managing to string words together, countered,
"Well, look, I'm no expert, but as I see it, turkey I've had before, well, quite a bit fatter than that I should say! Err..".
A few moments passed in silence, and turning to Roy, owner said,
"Looks like we've got a comedian here, Roy." Returning a furious stare in my direction, continued,
"Turkey you say? What is wrong with this turkey?".
"Well, yes, no, you see..", was all managed to say and left in silence nervously looked around shop, now equally silent and looking in my direction, a good portion of patrons open mouthed.
Owner was now quite red in face, and taking deep breath let rip a final onslaught, upon which I could do nothing but remain frozen to the spot.
"Next time you have the audacity to call any of my birds straggly, perhaps you'll get the right bird in question! THIS! You idiot! Is a goose! Perhaps now you see why it's 'a bit straggly'! I'll give you one chance.. Mr Smith, would you like this fine, high quality Christmas goose?". At this the owner stopped his tirade and gave fiercest stare have ever come across, shaking with anger.
Took a gulp and mouth now quite dry, ventured an answer,
"Well, awfully, well, kind of you, but you see, we ordered a turkey."
Obviously one chance was altogether depleted, and owner gave one final comment,
"Mr Smith, I do not have time for this. I've got a shop full of customers waiting for their orders and I'm not playing games.", at this, turned to boy, saying "Roy! Door!", and was promptly shown the door.
Awfully disappointed, stood outside, and was quite unsure what to tell other half that I had attempted to get a turkey, but altogether refused just for complaint over goose.