Thursday, 15 January 2015


It's an old saying, but is used when we have made ourselves look mean or stupid by the way we've just treated someone or acted. We make ourselves out to be a Right Charlie. Maybe it was a difference of opinion, or we just simply lost it and embarrassed ourselves in the process.

I've been told that I can be quite intolerant at times. That's hard to hear. But, I must admit I have little patience for poor customer service or those who are awkward just for the sake of it. I hope that's more impatience than intolerance, but it's a fine line. So I do occasionally make a Right Charlie of myself.

Some things though do make me wonder. Yesterday I was in a local hardware store, one of the giant nation-wide ones. I had ordered five lengths of steel edging and was in to pick it up. The person I was dealing with handed over just four, and obviously I pointed this out to be wrong. He tapped into the computer and told me, oh, the computer ordered four instead of five. It will have to be ordered again. When I pointed out that it wasn't the computer but the person who entered the information, he disagreed. Apparently the computer was to blame!

As an aside I've experienced the exact opposite of this crazy kind of helpfulness, and that was in America when crossing the country by bicycle. There, a company I had to deal with over a problem with my tent, which had been purchased in a different country, could not have done more for me.

That's the kind of thing that I have no patience for at all. Things where common sense does not prevail. I feel it is right in these circumstances to state my case, and give constructive feedback, as that's the only way it will reach further up the line and hopefully be changed. Interestingly, when I said maybe I should contact their head office, I was told I couldn't do this by computer, I had to write an actual letter and post it!

The computer had said no!

But being a Charlie took on a whole different meaning this week. 

There are some things I am very much intolerant of, and will no doubt always remain so. That of violence toward others, especially when it is over a difference of opinion, or worse still, difference of religious belief. You are all well aware of the tragic events in Paris, at the magazine Charlie Hebdo, over just such intolerance. A narrow section of Islamic fundamentalists perpetrated an unforgivable act of violence against free speech. In my opinion, and the majority of others, the magazine was absolutely right to publish their next edition, expressing their right to freedom of speech, with whatever cartoon they saw appropriate on the front.

Write, Charlie.

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