Tales from the Secret Agent: The calendar from the Chinese takeaway

By Lisa James
Home » Tales from the Secret Agent: The calendar from the Chinese takeaway

In this episode, a customer complains about the cost of flights and a regular argues about the departure date…

“I wasn’t sure if you would be open,” says a middle-aged lady in a rain hood standing at my door right next to a huge sign with our opening hours.

I assure her I am, indeed, here for another 35 minutes and gee her along with her enquiry.

She has a sister in Perth that she needs to go and see urgently as there has been an ‘issue’ over in Oz and her assistance is required. 

I’m usually a full-time curtain twitcher and love a bit of gossip but it’s been a long day and I need the loo, so I get the basic requirements out of her and start the hunt.

It’s flight only she tells me, as ‘Sylvia’ will put her up.

The prices don’t appeal to her and she lets me know that when she last went in 2009 she paid around £700 and she can’t believe the costs have more than doubled.

I decide this isn’t a good time to tell her these prices include the two changes and the seven-hour wait in Abu Dhabi each way.

She eventually pulls herself up out of the seat and tells me she will ‘shop around’ and with that, she’s out the door…

Next, a local business owner, who I book all the time, pops in to collect his tickets for Turkey.

I go through the details and read out to him: “Depart Bristol Friday at 14:20.”

“Saturday,” he says.

“Friday,” I reply.

“No, its Saturday,” he says again.

I look at all the correspondence between us and I’m correct – it’s always been Friday.

“No, no,” he says. “I’m working Friday. It’s a full day and the wife’s on shift in the morning. It’s always been Saturday.”

Luckily for me, I’m also a bit of a hoarder and never throw anything away, so can easily produce the hand-written, signed piece of paper he dropped in back in March, showing he wanted me to book the 21 October ’22, which my free wall calendar from Wongs takeaway shows is now – and has always been – a Friday!

Admitting defeat, he apologises and asks me if I can get them on the Saturday flight.

He will pay whatever and he is happy to come back after six days.

I send him off and prepare for one hour-plus of Jess Glynne torturing my eardrums.

She’s only asked to ‘hold my hand’ 36 times when he rushes back in.

“Don’t change it!” he says.

“I’ve managed to get everything sorted and we can do the Friday.”

I hang up on Jess and hand him his documents.

“What do you drink, red or white?” he asks.

“I drink both,” I reply, hoping for a nice expensive bottle or two, as he heads in the direction of Tesco.

He’s back in half an hour with one of each – though, sadly, they’re the small bottles that contain just enough for one glass.

Oh well, every little helps.

Read more Secret Agent tales here.

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