while filling out a form

Commerce I'm stripping out the context because as soon as it left the person's lips I could see that she'd realised that I was the last person she should be saying it to and that her colleague would be telling her as much as soon as I'd tottered away. Perhaps if you email me or send me a direct message on Twitter I'll fill in the gaps.

I was in Sheffield Christmas shopping today and while filling out a form and handed over my debit card somewhere as collateral for something I was borrowing the following exchange occured:

Her: "You've come a long way."
Me: "Yes. There's not much snow in Liverpool and I decided I was going to see some this Christmas I'd best travel."
Her: "That's nice."
Me: "Everywhere you look in the Penines it's like a christmas card."
(pause for admin. then:)
Her: "I'll resist the urge to ask for two forms of ID because you're from Liverpool."

At first I didn't register what she'd said and continued the joviality. Then I thought about it for a minute and noticed the look of thunder on her colleagues face. Then I realised what the implication was. I was angry. But there wasn't much I could do. This wasn't the kind of place where you could make a scene. Also, having travelled all that way I just wanted to go into the place I was visiting and see their wares so I continued to be jovial like a chump, even though Jimmy Carr had suddenly walked into the room.

Me: "I'm leaving now ..."

Her colleague gave me a customer experience questionnaire and sheepishly asked me to fill it in. The woman then said as though to suggest the kind of thing I might be writing down:

Her: "The staff were rude to me..."
Me: "Oh yes, I'll be passing this on..."

Still jovial, but in such a way that they couldn't quite tell how serious I was being because I didn't know what to do, I carried on with my visit. It's disheartening to know that there are still some parts of the world were people think, at least initially, that it's perfectly reasonable to make jokes about Liverpudlians all being thieves actually to our faces and in a customer service environment.

And before anyone says that I'm overreacting, I do tend to have a thick skin for these things. But try changing the content of what she said to something even more derogatory, and imagine if it wasn't me but someone really sensitive who'd been standing there. I was embarassed. And it probably spoilt the visit because I had "it" and my own reaction to "it" at the back of my mind.



  1. That's shocking. And completely unacceptable, anywhere at anytime.

  2. For the grace of god born a scouser !