Pretentious Service

You're so lucky to be here

RNfinity | 10-03-2023

Exhibit 1: The imaginary barrier to a haircut.

I stumbled upon a hairdresser. My hair style was the result of months of covid lockdown growth, tempered by some ill-judged interventions on my part. Inside the salon were 3 hairdressers. 2 were swivelling in a chair talking to each other and a third was propped against a mop, staring at an immaculate floor. There were absolutely no customers. I approach the counter and what’s the first thing I am asked?

‘Have you got an appointment?’

Waspy Hair

I see the place is empty and I am thinking, only thinking, I don’t say it because I am too polite and don’t want to antagonise a man or a woman with sharp implements, but why else would I be here- to obtain planning permission for a haircut?

I didn’t have an appointment and as I suspected it didn’t matter. Off course I needed to provide an email address. I had a haircut listening to two hairdressers, chatting to each other whilst they were swivelling in a chair.

So why the need to stress the appointment system when it wasn’t needed. I’m sure it gives a sense of self-importance.

Imagine walking into MacDonald’s and being asked if you had an appointment but more of them later.

I subsequently received an email from the hairdressers 8 weeks later asking me for feedback on the haircut- ‘How did we do? What did you think of the haircut?’ I had to report that it was growing on me.



Exhibit 2: The well-cooked burger.

I recently had lunch at a gastro pub chain. I had been there before, the food was ok, but the waiters always acted as they were serving in a Michelin star restaurant, always emphasising some exotic, unfamiliar item on the menu, and the sourcing of all the ingredients, sometimes putting on a fake French accent.  We went for the burgers, and off course we were told it was an excellent choice.

After 30 minutes we hadn’t heard anything, so we checked with the waiter to make sure that the order hadn’t been forgotten. The waiter smiled and said off course not, the chef was busy preparing the food and what’s more, this burger is the real McCoy, so we were just going to have to wait for it, because it is being slow cooked in the fires of Mordor.

After 50 minutes there was still no sign of the burger so we asked the waiter again. The waiter leaned forward and said ‘just give me a second, I will go and check.’ After a minute he returned and said, ‘excuse me what was your order again?’  

We did get the burger in the end.

Not in that restaurant, but my other bug bears are the announcement of the dish and all its ingredients, and the waiter thrusting the food forward on the table then jumping back theatrically uttering the words ‘ENJOY!” and the use of pepper mills so long that it takes two people to wield them and one of them is another post code.

Pumped up burger


Exhibit 3: The most unpretentious service imaginable

I went to MacDonald’s one evening after work. Shockingly there had been a civil disturbance the night before. No one once could remember why it happened but it was the height of summer and there had been some pent up juvenile boisterousness. I was hungry and lazy (RNfinity neither frequents nor needs an excuse to visit MacDonald’s or similar establishment, but unlike a certain prince we do not recollect the visits save for the peculiar circumstances of a riot).

In the forecourt of the MacDonald’s right in front of the doorway, there was a smoking burnt out shell of a car. Stepping around the car was the store manager who was dutifully collecting MacDonald’s paper wrappers which were littered around the car. Whilst I admired his dutifulness, it occurred to me that there is no point in picking up litter when there is a burnt out car outside your doorstep; that really is ignoring the elephant in the room. The MacDonald’s restaurant itself was undamaged. I looked inside and it was absolutely packed. I realised that MacDonald’s had to be the most powerful brand in the world. It could it be in the middle of a warzone, with grenades being thrown around and people would still cross the smoke for the golden arches and head to MacDonald’s. If there was a burnt-out car outside of a luxury jewellers, I am sure they would have shut their doors, though in the unfortunate incidence of a riot and wishing no spoilage, I suspect that MacDonald’s glass frontage would fare better than the luxury jewellers.