Advantage Murray By Barry Hill

This months blog has nothing to do with tennis, but I couldn’t think of a more suitable title.


Most of the time the people I come into contact give me extra consideration for my blindness, but there have been one or two occasions where people have taken advantage of the fact that I can’t see.


Feeling romantic one afternoon, I bought some flowers from a market flower stall.  I like to use market stalls as I’m a great believer in ‘use it or lose it’.  It wasn’t a special occasion, and I hadn’t done anything that I needed to apologise for.  


Yeah, flowers are an easy and, apparently, affective way to apologise.  But, for a proper ‘Sorry’, I reckon you’re not going to get any forgiveness for less than a tenner these days, although this does probably depend on how classy your partner is, and how much you screwed up.  For example, ifshe’s called Tallulah or Czar-Czar and her surname is double barrelled, you won’t get change out of £500 for a ‘sorry’, but if she spells her name with an ‘I’  at the end instead of a ‘y’, writes it with a little love-heart for the dot above the ‘I’ (yuk), and lives on a council estate then you might get away with a giant Mars Bar.  Still, it does also depend on your offence.  For instance, if you broke her favourite vase whilst demonstrating the goal against Arsenal using one of the sofa cushions, then that £10 bunch might cover it, but if you slept with her best friend then crawling naked across broken vases with a dozen roses up your arse might not be enough.  


Anyway, back to the story of the mean-spirited florist (spoileralert).  I thought a £7 or £8 mixed bunch would be ok. The owner of the shop made up the bunch then passed it on to an assistant.  She then buggered off leaving him to wrap them.  Very generously, or so I thought, he slipped a small bunch of freesias in with the bunch for free.  As it turned out, he was probably so embarrassed at the crappy, wilting, half dead bunch of flowers that looked like it had been taken from a lamppost that he couldn’t help but slip in a few decent ones.  I’d have understood if I’d have been nasty or abrupt with her, maybe called her petal or flower (Yeah, that’s original….  Not), but I was pleasant as usual.  Did she think that no-one would see them?  Did she think that I might be buying them for a blind girlfriend?  She lost our custom and that of several people I told about it.  Angie still gives her dirty looks.  The fact that the owner doesn’t have a clue who Angie is in connection to me doesn’t matter.  A woman’s man scorned, and all that.


Coincidentally, there is a veg stall right opposite the flower stall where I regularly bought my veg (what else?) and did so for several years.  They also lost my custom one day when I came home with some runner beans that looked like they’d run a marathon.  This stall is now under new management, and I get on very well with them, so don’t go berating them if you figure out who it is.


Ok, I know these people need to keep their businesses running and try to cut down on waste as much as possible, but it’s rather unethical selling crap to a blind man just because they know he can’t see that it’s crap.  Plus, it’s rather stupid and, if you’ll excuse the pun, short-sighted of them to think they’ll get away with it.  It’s like putting a photo of a model on a dating site and pretending it’s you.  In the very short term, you might get a date, but you’re going to come a cropper pretty damned quick when they discover that you’re not so much tall, dark and handsome but more short, fat and bald, and “I’ve had a cold” just won’t cut that mustard.


One thing that I was recently told about that was lower than a limbo dancer’s arse was a blind and classically sweet, blind old lady who had been given change for a £20 note in Euro notes.  Two things there.  For one, a Euro is worth less than a pound, so the fifteen Euros she had was worth just over a tenner, and, secondly, what the hell is a blind old dear supposed to do with Euro’s?  I really, really do hope there is such a thing as karma and that it bites a metaphorical chunk out of the arse of whoever did that.


I’ve probably been short-changed here and there.  The odd pub staff or taxi driver given me change for £5 when I’ve given £10, but not many.  Before the new plastic notes came in, I had a fool-proof way of telling notes.  I put them between my index and middle finger.  A fiver was and still is shorter than my index finger, a tenner was the same length and, you’ve guessed it, a twenty was longer.  I’m not suggesting that blind people whittle their index finger to suit their denomination; I’m just boasting that I had an index finger the same size as a £10 note.  What about £50’s you might ask?  Well, when I lived in Liverpool several years ago, I was offered £50 notes for £30.  I’m not suggesting that Liverpool is exclusively a corrupt city – other dens of iniquity are available. I’m going to pay for that quip at the cost of Liverpool.  In reality, I love the place.  I lived there for a few years, and have family and dear friends who live there. Anyway, back to the £50. I didn’t touch the £50’s then and I don’t like to touch them now.  Saying that, if anyone fancies giving me £50 for free, as long as they are genuine, I suppose I could take them at a push.


This is another angle that people might think they could take advantage of my lack of site – passing me dud notes.  Thing is, I knew very well what real notes should feel like and could probably tell a dud better by touch than some could by sight.  I also have the advantage of being able to check them out subtly.  There’s nothing that says “I trust you about as far as I could drop kick you” than holding up a note to the light. I can check them in my pocket!


…then came the new notes, but that’s another blog.  


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