Brewer's Droop #269

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It’s that “Bah Humbug!” time of year again – but there’s an upside too.


Some friends of mine from the UK visited me recently.

We needed a few minor items when my mate (60 years of being my friend) arrived so I took him down to our local Checkers shop where, I was sure, he could buy some roll-up tobacco.

At the counter there was was one girl obviously very busy with a customer. The till next to her was unmanned. But lolling next to it was a lady who, to be honest, looked miserable to the point of insolence. Anyway, I smiled and asked if she could help. She gave me a shrug. No smile.

So I pointed to some tobacco and said “ could my friend please have a packet of that?

No smile. She shrugged, reached out, scanned it and tossed the packet on the counter.

“How much is that?” asked my friend and she pointed to the the till register. He dutifully handed her some money which she rang up and gave him the change. No smile.

I said “Thanks very much, have a nice day.” She shrugged. She was the manager of that department.

As we were walking out my friend said “bloody hell, she’s not having a good day is she?” So I said “come with me because I want to show you something”. We walked about 50m to the Woolworths shop where we needed some some fruit and milk etc., for the rest of his family.

When we got to the till a girl with a lovely smile served us and couldn’t have been more helpful.

“I’m confused” he said “how can one shop be so hostile and the other so friendly?” I just said “welcome to Africa.”

During their stay here, he and his family spent a lot of money in Woolworths and vowed to not set foot in Checkers again. Ever. That store never seems to get it right.

But that’s how much a smile is worth – a lot.

When I was flying a lot I quickly learned that a smile can achieve so much more – including flight upgrades, better rooms in hotels, quicker service in restaurants – everywhere. Generally though it’s not about what you get out of the deal it’s just that everyone has a nicer day. What a splendid idea, especially at this time of year.

So why not smile? It’s so easy,


On the subject of smiling I’m starting to get rather cranky about this guff you read daily about “sexual harassment”. What’s that all about? I wish the media would stop harping on about it.

There’s a girl in my local pharmacy who has a delightful smile and one day I said to her “I’ve been coming here for many years now and I just want to tell you that your smile is lovely”. She was so pleased and thanked me very much. A couple of months later she happened to serve me again and she said “I remember what you said and I just wanted to say I wish we had more customers like you because you brighten the day.” I blushed a bit and thanked her.

These days I wonder if that would be counted as harassment? She’s young enough to be my great granddaughter which, in some twisted minds, may make it worse.

Nowadays I’m terrified to say “your hair looks lovely” or even open a door for a lady.

More recently I hear that a lovely song called “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is being banned by several radio stations in the USA because it has “predatory sexual overtones”. Well, that’s America I guess – the home of loony tunes. Piers Morgan interviewed a typical snowflake on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” recently and she did her rant thing about this song and after her idiotic comments he just said “Oh shut up!”.

I agree with him there and hope her Christmas pudding is cold.

It’s a beautiful song. Dean Martin (and others) were not in the slightest trying to be predatory or offensive.

Now here’s a thought, imagine you’re back in the 1950’s and you’re a movie producer.

I come and pitch an idea about a musical movie to you, It goes like this.

“This is a script based on the ancient Roman legend about rape of the Sabine Women. It’s about some woodsmen in a valley who are lonely. So they go into town, kidnap seven young girls and get back to their farmhouse before the snow avalanche hits and seals them off. I want to call it ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. Would you, in your right mind, sanction such a deal?

That was in 1954. In 2008 the American Film Institute named it as being “one of the best musical films ever made.”

Getting back to sexual innuendos for a moment. I wonder what those peculiar ladies obsessed with sexual overtones would reply if you asked their opinion about Maurice Chevalier’s “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.”

Probably mild hysteria.

The media should stop writing sensational stories about “correct behaviour”. Of course there are serious sex offences taking place and we have laws to deal with these.

But mild flirtation has been around for ages and, in my experience, both sexes seem to enjoy it. It’s fun, it’s happy and it’s harmless.


In the meantime, whatever your religion is (or isn’t) please have a joyous festive break. Be safe, don’t drink and drive and enjoy being with your family. I most certainly will.

But don’t play “Baby it’s Cold Outside” or a Snowflake will get seriously pissed off.

Blessings to all.


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  1. Totally agree Chris, a smile can work wonders. Giving and receiving a smile makes you feel good.
    And this from the original Bah Humbug………..

  2. Blessings right back, Chris. Don’t leave it too long before your next droop!

  3. Couldn’t agree more about lack of smiles and bad service at Checkers. It must be poor training by management as it seems to be endemic in most Checkers stores in Durban and surrounding suburbs such as Hillcrest. Happy Christmas Chris.

  4. Lack of smiles and poor service seems to be endemic at Checkers stores in and around Durban too. It must be lack of proper training and poor management. Happy Christmas Chris.

  5. Brilliant as always Chris !
    I agree 100% with you about the Checkers staff and have also vowed not to shop there – unless I need to go to Computicket (grrrrr !) Have you also noticed how you can never find anyone willing to help you on the floor? They tend to stand in groups of 8 to 10 in the front of the store chatting together and look at you with disdain if you interrupt their conversation ! It continues to boggle my brain how they survive as a supermarket. I will head for Woolies anyday, and when I need my cats favourite food, to Pick ‘n Pay ! Safe travels to your boys and have a peaceful and loving Christmas and New Year. Oh and for the record, I love your compliments …. they always make my day !

  6. Genius, as always.Happy holidays, Chris, and thank you for the share.

  7. You can flirt with me anytime Chris, and agree that all this hyper sensitivity and over reaction is leading to miserable old men who are too frightened to smile at ladies! Had an equally bad experience in Pick and Pay Waterstone with insolent staff and went straight to Woolies where I told the till operator how miserable the P&P staff had made me. She stopped what she was doing came round her little counter and gave me the biggest hug and wondrous smile. I nearly cried!! Happy Happies Chis!

  8. Bang on target with customer care, Chris. Have Peter Cheales 1994 edition of I Was Your Customer on my business book shelf. Much good sense, particularly in contemporary RSA..

  9. Just goes to show, “you get what you pay for”


  10. Well Hello Handsome (incl Beeg Smile)

    The final paragraph of The Droop always leaves me either smiling or laughing robustly.

    Wishing you many smiles, robust laughter and great Whisky with those you love and who love you IMMENSELY.

    Have a great Christmas and New Year. Sending huge hugs, hope they reach you.

    BOOM !!


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