Friar Versus the Grayheads Part IV

Recap: Last week (see Part III) the main editorial of the Splat Creek Chronicle singled me out (yet again!) for my complaint about local store hours.  

This week:   I wrote a rebuttal, borrowing largely from one of my  earlier posts  where I listed specific first-hand examples of bad customer service.   I didnt’ use any actual names, but we’re so small here,  it wouldn’t be hard  to figure out which stores I was talking about. 

(Though to be fair, I also pointed out that we have many other excellent businesses in town, and my comments do not include them.)

Several people cautioned me against writing this letter. 

Don’t do it, Friar.   I would watch it, Friar.   People might take it the wrong way.   You never know…

Oh, Pshaw. 

65 years ago, our teenagers joined WWII to fight the Nazis.   45 years ago, people dodged tear gas and attack dogs to march for their civil rights.    

If they could do that, then surely I should be able to withstand any minor inconveniences arising from a  slightly-controversial letter I submitted to a small town paper. 

Besides, maybe store owners SHOULD see letters like mine, so they’d realize how their own staff treat their  customers.

Well, I’m pleased to say I got published.  Front and center on  the editorial page.  In fact, it was the ONLY letter published this week. 

Well, to be fair, that’s not a huge accomplishment, considering how slow the news is around here.   Last month, we were treated to a 1000-word essay from Gramma Carcajou whining about the phone repair man.

No nasty phones calls yet, and no Senior Stalkers coming to my house.  However, several co-workers (including my old landlord who stopped me on the street) all complimented me and said I was hilarious.    

But not everyone is happy, though.   Yesterday I heard someone call me in the grocery store.  I turned around to see this old guy (another retiree…big surprise!)   He raised his eyebrows, and sarcastically commented that he’s surprised to see that I’m actually shopping here.

Excuse me…do I KNOW YOU ?

What does Mr. MetaMucil expect…that because I don’t like the service, I’m suddenly going to stop buying FOOD?   

Well, you can be pretty sure the angry letters will start pouring in…something is building up here.  You can sense it.  

But we’ll have to wait until next week, when the next paper comes out.

In the mean time, stay on the lookout for angry mobs with pitchforks and torches.   Friar may have to lay low for a while.


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23 Comments on “Friar Versus the Grayheads Part IV”

  1. Brett Legree Says:

    I think you should write *another* letter telling everyone how you were harassed by a “friendly Splat Creekian” in a public place… 🙂

  2. Friar Says:

    You wonder in a Big City would any senior start making snarky comments to big burly lads like me that they don’t even know?

    How does he know I won’t follow him home and find out where he lives?

    Not that i would..but how does he know that?

    @#$!!…the people in this town are so stupid at times!

  3. Don’t leave us hanging, Friar.

    Where can we view a copy of the letter??

  4. Friar Says:


    The letter is not on-line. (At least the letters to the editor aren’t).

    I’m a bit hesitant about scanning it in and showing it on my blog. Not that I’d worry about you guys, but what if some Splat Creekians read it?

    This town is way too small, they’d easily know who I was and who I was referring to in all my other stories. Then I’d have to start watching what I wrote about, so as to not become the town Pariah.

    Maybe later…:-)

  5. OK — good call. Although I must admit, I’m intrigued …

  6. Friar Says:

    Not to mention how most people work at the same place…!

    For example, the editor ofthe paper is my old manager’s wife. If I still worked for him, you wonder how it wouuld affect my job.

  7. steph Says:

    Friar: These small-town chronicles rock!! I too would love to read the letter but I completely understand your apprehension. I grew up in Tottenham, which we nicknamed Skid Row back then. Like Cheers, it was where EVERYBODY knew your name and everything else about you. Since Splat Creek is much like that, it makes you that much more brave and admirable.

    I think you have material for a collection of short stories worthy of being called CanLit. So much humour! Change the names and such (although Splat Creek is such an excellent one for a town) and you’d have something definitely publishable. (But only if you let me be your editor! 🙂

    Stuart McLean on CBC (Vinyl Café) has story contests all the time. You should check that out!

  8. Friar Says:


    Thanks for the great feedback! I also think these stories are pretty funny (but of course I’m a bit biased). It’s nice to hear other people like you like them too.

    Actually, I’ve been mulling around ideas around in my head for the past few years. I always said one of these days I’d get them out in a book..which I want to call “Tales of Small Town Ontario”.

    I’ve only started blogging for three months. I have such a backlog of stories, it will take a while to get them out. I suspect within a few months I’ll have amassed enough of a collection that I could start thinking about putting them in a book.

    That sounds like a great offer to edit (if you’re serious). I might take you up on it : -)

    That CBC Vinyl Cafe thing also sounds worth checking out.

  9. neyellen Says:

    @Friar – Loolie! Who the hell says “pshaw” anymore! I haven’t read that since Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House on the Prairie.

    I think it’s a hint that they only published your letter and put it front and center. Either that, or there isn’t much going on around town.

    Yeah, there isn’t much worse than being ostricized in a small town. Humans can be so nasty, eh?

  10. Friar Says:


    Oh, I’m pretty sure the editors know what they’re doing. They’re egging on the seniors by printing my letters, then egging ME on by printing the senior’s letters. It alternates every week. This has been going on since February. (Can you say “GET A LIFE?”)

    But I KNOW they’re doing this…so I’ll play along. (And I’m having a lot of fun in the process).

    …I’m not trying to brag, but it’s probably the liveliest discussion the editorial pages have seen all year. (Not to toot my own horn..the town is just THAT boring).

    I’m mostly getting a lot of support from my co-workers and peers. It’s the “First Generation” Splat Creekians who have been here for 40 years who don’t take kindly to people questionning their status quo.

    Oh well, too bad. It’s my town, too. (Heh heh heh). 🙂

  11. Kelly Says:


    The saga continues. You play the game well.

    In a bigger place, the seniors would be writing what you’re writing, or they would be minding their own (busier) business. And they would definitely NOT be calling you out in a store.

    I think Brett is egging you on, too. Living vicariously? Watch out…



  12. Brett Legree Says:


    Oh, I’m definitely egging the Friar on… I’m one of those “bad” good influences, or at least I hope I am.

  13. Friar Says:


    They’re not the most “progressive thinkers” here in Splat Creek, are they? 🙂

    I could just picture what would happen if someone like you came along and started writing your blog in the local paper. Your posts about customer service and how to attract new business are the antithesis of what’s praticed over here!

    They’d probably freak out, start speaking in tongues and call you a witch!

  14. Friar Says:


    You are the Egg Man. I am the Walrus / Friar.

    I must admit…hearing you tell stories about how badly you’ve been treated over the years definitely influenced me.

    In fact, I used what happend to your wife as one of my “examples” of bad customer service.

    (Dont’ worry, they can’t trace it back to her).

  15. Ellen Wilson Says:

    This is great material Friar. I’m going to steal it. It kind of reminds me of that old story of stone soup. You know what I’m talking about?

    I take inspiration where ever I can get it.

  16. Friar Says:


    Hahahah! As kids my Mom would get a batch of books from the library every week for us kids to read. I distinctly remember the stone soup story. 🙂

    Stupid villagers, eh? Sometimes I feel like the guy with the stone.

  17. Kelly Says:


    It’s pulling teeth anywhere. Experience Design for smaller businesses is new, new. I love the field as it’s being practiced for big business, but that’s just not what gets me excited. Since the blog started, people look through and sort of “get it” before they call, which is a lot better.

    “Oh, we’re going to design the entire Customer Experience!” Yeah. Like that. Instead of just letting randomness choose whether they see your good side or bad side. We’re gonna make it so it’s like customers wish it were. Okay?

    I guess the smaller the town, the more randomness seems like it adds a few thrills you can’t get any other way. So does being goosed but you’re not going to have your clerks start that, are you?
    /C.E. rant


    You use the best zen stories! I loved today’s, and I love Stone Soup, too. Something to look forward to.

    Friar again,

    Throw it in the pot. Not at the villagers. No matter what Brett whispers.

    Until later,


  18. Just tagging bases before I am off to bed…stone soup I liked that one.


  19. Brett Legree Says:

    Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come.
    Corporation tee-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday.
    Man, you been a naughty boy, you let your face grow long.
    I am the eggman (woo), they are the eggmen (woo), I am the walrus,
    Coo coo, kachoo.

    (man, I love that song)

  20. Friar Says:

    Oh..there’s Brett…Egging me on!

    You’re such an expert-texpert! 🙂

  21. LOL Friar, you know your continuous Splat Creek saga inspired me to keep reading your blog initially. here is a guy after my own heart and so damn funny to boost.

    You really ought to publish a book. Call it “letters to the Splat Creek publisher”. Hehehehe….

  22. Friar Says:


    I can’t wait till this Wednesday….when the next paper comes out. Oh, I’m sure someone will give me shit…lots of it!

  23. […] versus the Gray Heads (Part V)…A Possible Truce? Since my last report  about  my on-going battle with the local grey-heads, nothing much has happened.  Three […]

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