Resolution: give up those petty, time-wasting rows

Does it really matter that someone slipped an extra tin of beans through the 'six items or less' checkout?

Share

New Year resolution time again - good grief, is it really a whole year since I promised to give up butter, smoking, impulse buying and being kind to small children and animals? This year I have just one resolve. I will not complain. I will, as my best friend has been urging me to do for years, button my lip, say nothing, refuse to be drawn into petty squabbles and time-wasting altercations that rarely get you anywhere anyway.

New Year resolution time again - good grief, is it really a whole year since I promised to give up butter, smoking, impulse buying and being kind to small children and animals? This year I have just one resolve. I will not complain. I will, as my best friend has been urging me to do for years, button my lip, say nothing, refuse to be drawn into petty squabbles and time-wasting altercations that rarely get you anywhere anyway.

And with all that glorious extra time I save by not, say, returning £10-worth of barely nibbled so-called calf's liver to the butcher because it was tasteless, tough, rubbery, clearly frozen and had no more to do with the inner workings of a tender young steer than I have with the teachings of Mother Teresa, I shall, well, do lots of interesting, creative things.

I could learn Russian or practice my new Schubert piano impromptu or make home-made brioche or, better still, try to get rid of all those raffle tickets well-meaning people keep dumping on me in aid of worthy causes.

We do on the whole waste an awful lot of our lives complaining about unnecessary things. Does it really matter, for instance, that the driver of the number 319 bus failed to stop at the request stop by Boots the Chemist or if someone at the "six items or under" supermarket checkout slips in an extra tin of beans?

I mention these only because I was witness to both a couple of days ago and was astonished at the extraordinary furore both incidents caused among onlookers, particularly the oversight by the bus driver, who was lucky to escape with his life. Several passengers declared that they would report him to the authorities (what authorities?) for gross dereliction of duty.

And one little white-haired old lady who, until it happened, looked as fragile as a Dresden china shepherdess, ran down the aisle and attempted to hit the driver with her umbrella. Fortunately the glass screens between his seat and the ticket machine thwarted the attack.

"Turn round at once and go back to the stop, you stupid, stupid man,'' she kept shouting, which, quite apart from being rude, was totally unrealistic. Reversing a bus in the King's Road in the rush hour requires the skill, fearlessness and stamina that few people apart from Second World War fighter pilots possess.

As for the checkout fraudster, he stood his ground manfully and said that two tins of beans (he already had one) counted as a single item, which opened an interesting and heated metaphysical debate in the queue relating to number, maths, premeditation and the nature of guilt. The checkout girl acted as adjudicator.

There's just one problem with this new resolution of mine. Is it retrospective, by which I mean, do those ongoing complaints that were not resolved by the end of last year still count?

I better explain. Last August I organised a small christening party in the garden of the church down the road, after which sundry members of said family plus baby and an old friend would catch the overnight sleeper to Fort William for a bit of West Highland air. The first glitch was that the caterers sent the wrong order. Instead of Mrs Arnold's sandwiches and mixed cream fancies picnic for 40, we got Mrs Courtney Whittingstall's dinner party for six, including oven-ready seafood soufflé and boeuf en croute.

Yes, of course I complained. This was back in 2004 and anyway, when you're as erratic a Christian as me, you can't rely on the loaves and fishes scenario to come up trumps.

The next glitch was that the old friend who, unlike us, was travelling first class was too ill to come, and the following week I set about applying for a refund of the £215 I paid for his ticket minus £5 administration charges. I'm still waiting for it, but bearing in mind what I have just said about not complaining, time wasting and not being petty, should I in all conscience give up what has become both an unequal struggle and a Herculean labour of trying to persuade Scotrail to reimburse me?

If you add up the calls I've made to Scotrail in the last four months, I've probably spent an entire week on the telephone talking to refund managers, customs relations advisers, service chiefs and a lot of women called Fiona. Maybe it's time to cut my losses and admit defeat.

Just think at how much Russian, Schubert and home-made brioche I could have got through in that time.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam