Posted tagged ‘Small Town Ontario’

You Know You’re Living in Small-Town Ontario When…

March 3, 2010

Snowmobiles pull up to service stations to gas up, showering sparks all over the pavement.

The word “youse” is considered an acceptable pronoun.

It’s pretty much impossible to find a contractor or tradesman during the month of November, because they’re all off to Deer Camp.

Poutine with meat is considered haute cuisine.

To outsiders, your town is known mainly for the Tim Horton’s on the highway.

The same Tim Horton’s will routinely run out of donuts.

It’s not unusual to drive 100 km without seeing a traffic light.

The local-yokel radio station plays bingo.   Live, on the air.   Winners  phone in their winning cards.

The DJ at the same local-yokel radio station knows his callers on a first-name basis.

The main grocery store buys out the only other food store in town, and shuts it down to eliminate the competition.

The plant installs a revolving door in their newest building, and it causes confusion with some people who’ve obviously never had to use one.

Two different people who’ve never met will try to set you up with the same single woman.

The only sales help you can get are clueless, sullen 17-year-olds.

You better fill up with gas by 10:00 PM, or you’re going nowhere.

They finally tear down the old Canadian Tire and build a brand new store, but they neglect to install automatic electric doors.    Have fun trying to maneuver your 500-lb. trolley full of garden soil outside.

Gas-station restrooms all consist of circa 1968 wood paneling, and are freezing inside.

Bears shit in your back yard.

Baseball caps are the height of men’s fashion.

A beer gut isn’t something to be ashamed of.   In fact, it’s expected.

It’s a 45 minute drive to the nearest shopping mall.    And McDonald’s…and movie theater…and functioning laundromat…and real hospital….

When you’re at that mall’s food court, and you try to buy burgers, the A&W informs you that they’re out of meat.

There are only 3 pay-at-the-pump gas stations within a 150-kilometer radius, and you know where they all are.

Every store sells worms.

Apparently, you have the only video store on the planet that displays the  DVD’s chronologically, rather than alphabetically.

The “Pizza Pizza” franchise closes at 9:00 PM on Friday.   Because Lord knows, NOBODY would want to buy a pizza on Friday night.

The local restaurants don’t bother with a soda fountain.   When you order a coke, they give you the can, and charge you $1.25.

You write letter to the editor in the local paper, and people are still talking about it 2 years later.

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Stupid Candy Purchases

November 14, 2009

..Went to the “Big City” today to see a movie, and I dropped into the bulk candy store on the way.

(Laugh if you will, but we dont’ have such a store in Splat Creek.   Where I live, it’s a big deal to go to these places).

Especially if you can get stupid candy like this:

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Citrus-like Fruit Slices

Candy Citrus

Individually wrapped, no less.

I love how they try to make these (sorta) look like slices of an actual orange.  (Gee, Ma, I ate my fruit already, can I have my candy now?)

I’ve put these in order, from left to right, in decreasing order of realism.

If you squint real hard and use your imagination, at least the first two can almost pass for an orange and a lime.     But what about the others?

(I mean, WTF is with the red-white-blue one supposed to be?… Patriotic Citrus for Team USA?)

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Reindeer Candy Corn
Candy Reindeer Corn
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As if regular candy “corn” wasn’t already artificial enough, they came up with THIS abomination.

Okay…to be fair, I can honestly say it tastes (no better/no worse) than the fluorescent-orange/yellow kind.

Though I suspect no actual reindeers would go within 50 feet of these radioactive pellets.

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Candy Blocks

Candy Legoa
Ah, nothing like sugar, dye and ascorbic acid press-fitted into rock-hard impregnable cubes.

But actually, these work surprisingly well:   they interlock and you can build with them, just like real plastic thing.

And they’re just about as  edible, too (especially if  you’re interested in cracking your enamel.)

I like them, though.

It brings me back to my early childhood/toddler days.

When I used to suck on my Legos…

“Big City” Dining

December 16, 2008

turtle

It was my buddy’s 30th birthday last weekend, and his fiance organized a surprise party Peppershit’s Restaurant.   There were about 15 of us, and a table had been reserved in the back room, two weeks in advance.

I was looking forward to this.  Peppershit’s was in the “Big City” ( a town of about 20,000).   At $25-30 per entree, the food was a few steps above the typical Chicken Fingers/Club Sammitch menus I was normally used to.

And for those prices, I figured surely we’d be getting pretty decent service.   (SURELY it would be better than what I’ve had to put up with here in Splat Creek…)

…WRONG!!!!

It took 30 minutes for Stumbledorf the Waiter to take our order.   After 90 minutes we were still waiting for the main course.   Stumbledorf finally explained that the reason the food is taking so long, was that there was another large table ahead of us.  He had taken their food orders first.

Yeah, we know, we said.   They’re sitting right next to us.  They arrived AFTER we did!

Stumbledorf didn’t seem to be concerned.  He shrugged.  Oh well…

Can we at least have some more BREAD?  we asked.

Uh….you’ll have to wait, we’re out of bread, he informed us.

Un.  Freaking.  Believable.

As my Dad would have said:  “Never in my life…never in my WHOLE LIFE…have I ever seen a restaurant RUN OUT OF @#%$ BREAD!!”.

(…ONLY  in Small-Town Ontario!)

I think they actually went to Saskatchewan to thresh the wheat with which to make the flour.   Because it took another 20-30 minutes for the extra bread to arrive.

Two measly baskets, for 15 people .  And like a pack of wolves, we devoured them within minutes.   While we watched the other table get their main courses.

Time ground to a halt.  Our bellies started to bloat.

Some of us started to lose teeth (I think scurvy had set in).

I was half-tempted to go to Tim Horton’s across the street and bring back some donuts.   Meanwhile, the other table started to get their dessert.

Finally, the @#(%#* food arrived….TWO FREAKING HOURS after we had sat down.

I wanted to shovel the chow into my face as fast as I could, at that point, but seeing how this meal was going to be p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y s-l-o-w,  I made each and every morsel lasted as long as possible.

But some of the ladies hardly touched their plate.  I asked why..they said they had gotten past the point of being hungry,  that they didn’t  even want to eat anymore.

At least it took another hour for dessert to arrive, though.

At this point, the manager should have shown up.  Or the waiter could have tried to make things right (offering a discount, or a free dessert).  But no such luck.  Stumbledorf was nowhere to be seen.

In (typical of Small-Town Ontario) some people started APOLOGIZING for the bad service (“It’s not really the waiters’ fault…they just have too many people…“)

By now, the other table had not only finished eating.   Not only that, but they had paid their bill, and the staff had cleared their table, down to the bare wood.  The room was half empty.

Except for us.   We were stuck here on the Wreck of the Hesperus, eating the Meal of the Damned.

Though look on the bright side:  it only took another 30 minutes to get the bill.

People started to take their wallets out to pay, but Stumbledorf had already left the room again.

One of the women almost started weeping. (“I just want to LEEEEEEAVE!”)

To speed things up, we all ended up storming the front desk, to pay the bill ourselves.

The same woman blatantly told Stumbledorf:

“I’m not coming back…the service was awful”.

And (why am I not surprised?) the 22-year old was incredulous:

“You didn’t think my service was good?”.

“Well, NO..”, she said.   “It’s 9:30…the dinner took FOUR HOURS…!”

Stumbledorf took their credit card, and mumbled a half-assed apology.  If I didn’t’ know any better, he was actually pissed off at her, and couldn’t believe his ears.   He had NO IDEA why the customers were complaining.

On my bill, I had noticed they had forgotten to charge me $4.50 for a beer.   (Well, you know what?  Screw ’em!).

That was my small victory for the night.

On the way home, I stopped at McD’s Drive-Thru for a Quarter-Pounder  (which thankfully I got within  60 seconds).

At least you can depend on McD’s.

Not to mention, this extra protein helped rebuild my hunger-ravaged body, and gave me enough strength for the 45-minute drive home.

On the way, I listened to the local radio station.

And (I can’t make this up, folks), they played a public service ad, encouraging us to get out there and shop, and support the local businesses.

You have GOT to be shitting me.

Sigh.

Thus Endeth the Big City Fine Dining Experience.

No Soup for Me!

November 3, 2008

Grrrr. I’m on a roll here….

Just when I thought customer service around here couldn’t get any STUPIDER….!

Pardon me while I rant.     But I went to Tim Horton’s after my art class this evening.   I hadn’t eaten, I was hungry.

I wanted to order the mushroom soup/sandwich combo.

But they ran out.

Not that this would normally be a big deal.

But (for those of you South of the Border), Tim Horton’s is a major donut chain in Canada.  You’d think they’d have their OWN SOUP in stock.

Especially since the store is located on the busiest and only highway that runs through the entire region.

And ESPECIALLY since the mushroom soup just recently came out, and there’s been an a NATION-WIDE ADVERTISING BLITZ!     Ads everywhere, telling us “Come try our new new country mushroom soup”   It’s on billboards.  On TV.  Radio.   Everywhere.

It was even on a big soup poster in the store I was in.

But they were out.

They told me the soup only lasts for 12 hours.  After that , they have to throw it out.

(Well….?)    MAKE @#%#ing  MORE, THEN!

Some of you might say, Oh Friar, it was pretty late.  Maybe they shut down their kitchen.

But what the hell?  And it was 9:10 PM. (Did that mean they started their soup at 9 AM for breakfast?).

Besides, it’s a TWENTY FOUR HOUR STORE.

I re-iterate: MAKE @#%#ing MORE…!

This is the same donut store, by the way, that’s been known to sometimes run out of DONUTS after a certain time.

Also, the same donut store that the truckers used to stop at until very recently.

Except that the local cops had started giving them tickets for stopping their rigs on the side of the road.   So now the truckers go eat down the road and the Grease-Tree Restaurant, where they’re allowed to park.

I swear…businesses here just DON’T WANT TO SUCCEED!

Anyway, since I couldn’t have my soup, I tried a sandwich.

But before I ordered, they told me anything with chicken (like a club sandwich ) was also unavailable.   Because they’re out of chicken.

For #$*& Sakes.

Only in Splat Creek.

I ended up having just a bagel and coffee.  (At least they still had THOSE…)

And as I ate, I got to watch images of steaming mushroom soup being poured into a bowl, being played over and over, in an endless-do-loop on the video screen by their front counter.

What a nice touch, THAT was.

Great Moments in Small-Town Fine Dining

November 1, 2008

My friend Kelly is an expert in customer service.   She’s always making great suggestions on how companies can improve their customer relations and attract more business.

And when I read her blog, I have to laugh.

Because the local merchants here in Splat Creek just don’t have a clue.    I swear, they must read her blog, and deliberately decide to do OPPOSITE of anything she says.

This morning was a prime example.

I had to go to the town dump.  On the way back, I decided to try breakfast at the Grease-Tree Truck Stop for a change.

The waitress gave me coffee and a menu.

When she came back, I said I’d like breakfast.

“Sorry, we don’t serve breakfast after 11:00.”

Let me get this straight.  It’s 11:40 AM.  On a WEEKEND.   And you can’t cook eggs, bacon and toast…at a TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR TRUCKSTOP !!?

(BAM…!  BAM…! BAM…!)  (That’s the sound of Friar banging his head on the table).

I wanted to leave, but I felt committed, because I had half-finished my coffee.   Plus I was too damned hungry to leave and drive  to the next place.   So I ordered a hot hamburger sandwich with mashed potatoes.

I should have known better.

Long story short:

– A harried waitress (who’s only vocabulary was “I’ll be with you in a minute”).

– A cook (a few fries short of a happy-meal herself) who was in no apparent rush.

– THIRTY MINUTES to get my food, which was dry.  (I saw the burgers sit on the grill for got knows how long).

– No glass of water to wash it down.   No coffee refill either (God Forbid, should they EVER give coffee refills here!)

Oh, and when you pay your bill?

You go up to the cash, and you tell THEM what you just ate (they’re so understaffed and messed up, they can’t even keep track).

If you might decide to add a candy bar or something extra to your tab, you might get lucky.

Sometimes the waitress won’t even charge you, she’s so frustrated.

“Take it, I don’t give a shit!”.

Ahhh.   Great moments in Fine Dining at Splat Creek.

You gotta love it.

The sad thing is,  I’m not even suprised.    This is what we’re used to.

Travels with the Bear: Poland, this time!

September 29, 2008

There’s a Paris, Ontario.    There’s a London, Ontario.

But who would have thought there’s a POLAND, Ontario?

Not much of a place, either.    One church, about six houses.    No gas station, no convenience store…nothin’!  It makes Wawa look like a bustling metropolis.

Why this village even merits it’s own road sign, I have no idea.   I don’t even know the history of this place,  You can’t even find anything on Wikipedia.

Has anyone ever heard of this town besides me?

Anyone want to guess where this is?

(Hint:  It’s not too far from Plevna and Flower Station!)

Gone Fishin’

August 22, 2008

Hey, kids.   I’ll be off for a bit.

I’m heading up north.   To storm some castles, annoy some asshole-squirrels, and chase down some monster fish.

In the mean time,  here’s one of my old posts.

Actually, it’s the first one I ever did.  And it’s one of my personal favorites.

I know it’s a re-run, but it only got 15 views the first time around.   So I figure it might be worth  posting again.

So without further ado, here’s the link to the  Highlights of the East Knobville Livestock Auction.

(Have fun discussing this among yourselves while I’m away!)  🙂

See ya sometime after Labor Day.

-Friar