Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Well, then you're an idiot.

Fish and chip shops in Bridlington have put up signs warning customers about being attacked by seagulls.

No, it's not a gang or a new acronym to describe the socially incompetent. We're talking actual shitehawks here.

Seafront chip shop owner Justin Carpenter said he was now losing money because of the number of chip thefts. 

Whoa, whoa, hang on. Are we to understand the little buggers are strolling in and helping themselves? Seagulls are brazen at the best of times, but I've never heard of that.

He said he was giving out more free bags of chips in compensation for the ones stolen by the birds.

Wha. . .?

"The seagulls dive-bomb them, just take their food and there is nothing you can do about it," he said.

"So the customers come back to us and we feel obliged to give them the food to reimburse them, and that's us losing money."

Well, then you're an idiot. Remind me not to invest in Carpenter Fish & Chip Shops Ltd.

I wonder if he'd take the same view if he were running an Aston Martin dealership? I can just see it now, the proud owner pulls out of the car park, joins the traffic and is rear-ended by a Vauxhall Nova. He'd be shaking his head and calling out 'Guys, prep another one, it's happened again. Bloody Nova drivers, this is costing us a fortune. Still, I just have this feeling of obligation. . .'

I've a shiny 50p coin that says the vast majority of the shitehawk muggees of Bridlington are tourists, gone to the coast for the day. I'll tell you this, it's a lesson you only need teaching once.

I live near the Kent coast now, and for four years lived in Falmouth, a town that specialises in what appear to be GM cyber-robo-herring gulls, you get used to them very quickly and take appropriate steps to ensure that you don't get caught out again.

The pub I used to work at had a large outdoor seating area on the quay. You'd never, ever, see the locals enjoying their pub lunch outdoors, and when drinks were taken outdoors they were always covered with a beer mat, deployed to defend against aerial biological bombardment.

How the tourists would ooh and aah as they fed the gulls a crust of bread or a chip. How they would then shriek when the same seagull would leap up onto the table and tuck in to their lovely pub lunches.

Did we feel obliged to give them a free lunch? Not on your life. The conversation would normally go something like this:

Punter: A seagull just shat on/stole/knocked over my drink/lunch.

Staff: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.

Punter: What are you going to do about it?

Staff: Well, nothing. This is what seagulls do, especially if people are silly enough to feed them. (Knowing look.)

Punter: Well, you didn't warn me.

Staff: It's an implied risk Sir/Madam, why do you think these people are enjoying their lunch inside on such a glorious day? (Smirks and waves from the table of locals)

Punter: I think you're responsible.

Staff: OK, bring me the seagull and show me where 'property of Greenalls brewery' is marked on it, and I'll give you a replacement or a refund.

I don't know who is more stupid here, the chip eaters for waving their lunch around in front of the gulls, and probably throwing them the occasional titbit, or the chip shop owner for blithely handing out freebie replacements.

If he were any sort of businessman he'd be training the seagulls to swoop down on anyone holding a white paper bag on sight. I also can't help but wonder how many phantom seagull attacks have taken place. Too tight to buy a fish lunch for the whole family? Buy one for yourself and one for your kid. Give your chips to the Mrs, and sprog 1's chips to sprog 2. Take tearful sprog 1 back into shop and rant about seagulls.

Even I can work that one out, and I'm public sector.

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