Monday, 8 October 2012

Return The Call

On the phone with a semi-regular customer...

"...Well, if you could let me know when you get those birds in, I'd appreciate it"
- Sure, that shouldn't be a problem. If I just...

And before I could ask for their telephone number:

"Okay, thanks, bye."

About a week later.

"Hi, I asked to be told when some birds arrived in your store but I nobody called me."
- Unfortunately, we didn't have your number. The birds themselves haven't actually arrived yet, but we can still let you know.
"Ah okay, no problem. Goodb..."
- Can I take your telephone number please?
"What for?"
- So we can call you.
"Hmm. I'm not sure."
- Okay...?
"Well, I'm ex-directory."
- Okay, well we just need it so that we can let you know when they are in.
"I don't really like to give it out."
- Well, okay.
"I'd rather not. If you just call me when they are in, that'll be fine."
- Then I need your telephone number.
"You aren't going to give it to anyone else, are you?"
- Um, no. I will be the only person who uses it. And I will only use it to let you know when the birds arrive.
"Hmm.. well, I suppose."
- Okay, so what's your number?
"Actually, on second thoughts, I think I'd rather not. Just let me know when they come in. Thanks. Bye"
- ...

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


A new customer.

 "I've got an aviary, and just want a small selection of birds in there."
 - Okay, what would you like?
 "How much are the zebra finches?"
 - £5 each.
 "Okay, I'll have a couple of them. How much are these other birds here?"
 - £15 each
 "Hmm. Okay, a pair of them as well please."
 - No problem.
 "To be honest, I'd really like to have something special in there too.
 - Okay...
 "Something unusual. Something rare."
 - Right, okay.
 "How much is this pair?"
 - £120
 "A little out of my price range! Okay, how about these two?"
 - They are £50 for the pair.
 "Goodness. Still too expensive."
 - Okay
 "Haven't you got something cheap, say £10 each, but incredibly rare?"
 - ...

Generally, scarcity dictates price. If there's not a lot of them, it's gonna' be expensive. Cheap and rare just doesn't exist.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


Today, a chicken pecked my left butt cheek whilst I was standing in front of its cage.

That is all.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Answer Machine

As a small business, sometimes the phone may ring and we are unable to answer it because all the members of staff are serving customers. We therefore have an answer-phone message that informs the caller of our opening times (in case they are ringing when we are closed), and then lets them leave us a message if they want.

However, some people don't appear to understand how such things work and just chat away to themselves, not realising that it is being recorded.

 - *beeeeep*
 " to five? What are they on about? It's not even four yet..."

He calls back immediately

 - *beeeeep*
 "What on earth?! It says they close at five. Well, it's not five. So they should be open..."

And he calls again

 - *beeeeep*
 "What day is it? It's Saturday isn't it? This is ridiculous."

And again...

 - *beeeeep*
 "Well if they are open, why aren't they answering the bloody phone?!"

I don't know whether this particular caller eventually got through to somebody else, or whether they came into the shop and was served. It's regrettable when we are unable to answer a call, but sometimes we have no choice but to let it ring as we may be otherwise occupied within the shop.

Sometimes we are left a message which seems intentional, but makes no sense at all. My personal favourite featured a guy singing what sounded like Bhangra-music down the phone for about five minutes. The song reached the end, and he hung up. No explanation at all.

Raised a smile though.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Songs of Praise

A gentleman visited the shop today to buy some chicken feed, and also looking for some advice. I did my best to help him out, and then he asked me a couple more questions.

 "How much are those panels?"
 - They work out at twenty pounds each.
 "Ah, okay. I think I'll probably make them myself."
 - Fair enough.
 "How about those little runs."
 - They start at forty-seven pounds each.
 "Hmm. Nah. Again. I'll probably just make it myself."
 - Well, yeah, if you're good at that kind of thing and can get hold of the materials, then that's fair enough.
 "Yes, I'm pretty good at woodwork - been doing it for years!"
 - Ah okay.
 "I've made a lot of different houses for my chickens, rabbits, etc."
 - I see.
 "Tell you what, I'll give you one of my cards..."

I figured that he must sell some of the items he makes. We've had other customers in the past try and sell hutches and nest boxes to us that they have made themselves. Sadly, they tend to be pretty awful most of the time, but we're always happy to take a look.

He reached into his wallet for a card.

 "I'm telling you, I'm very good. Better than anything you can find on the ol' whats-a-name."

Ah, yes, on the "ol' whats-a-name", of course. How specific.

 "Honestly. Not just blowing my own trumpet."
 - Okay
 "My wife does it too."
 - I see
 "But I've been doing it longer. Honestly though, anything you like."
 - Right okay.
 "I'm better than Elvis, better than Sinatra, better than The Platters, better than any of the them..."

Wait... what?

 "..yep. I know about eighteen thousands songs. Everything from the 1920's to the modern stuff. All in there."

He hands me his card: Karaoke & Disco Entertainment.

Friday, 3 August 2012


A guy walks around the shop, takes a look at a few birds, picks up some bags of seed, comes over to the counter and pays for them. He's about to go when he sees a picture on the wall which he takes as look at, then turns back around to me.

 "Oh, I thought it was a picture of a goldfinch, but it's not. Some kind of foreign finch."
 - Yep, I'm afraid so.
 "Can't seem to find any good goldfinch photographs anywhere."
 - No?

And I think to myself: I've seen thousands of good photographs of goldfinches.

 "Nope. They all seem to be awful drawings, or photos from the wrong angles, or of a bird that doesn't even look particularly healthy."

 He does have a slight point here. Some books have photographs in that make you think, 'Why on earth have you chosen to include that as a example of the species? It looks like it's about to die!'.

 - Yeah, I know what you mean
 "I just want a decent photo of a goldfinch's face. There must be a book with lots of them in."
 - Well, we've got this book...

I hand him one of our own books, which is completely about goldfinches. It's in French, sadly, so my understanding of the contents is somewhat limited, but there are a lot of good photographs.

 "Wow. I wish I'd had this book before."
 - Before?
 "Yeah, look..."

The customer then lifted his shift over his head, revealing his torso to me.

 "See? I've got a tattoo of a goldfinch done already, on my hip."
 - Um. Yeah.
 "And a chaffinch on the other side."
 - ...yep.
 "And I have a bullfinch done around my nipple."
 - So you have...
 "Well, I better go. I wish I'd seen photographs like that before though. Goodbye."

Monday, 30 July 2012

Transportation II : This Time It's Birdsonal

A customer from a previous post came in with a request that made me suspect her bird-keeping skills (and, indeed, rights).

 "Hi! I have an emergency request"
 - Okay
 "We are driving to Belfast this evening and need something to transport our Amazon parrot in."
 - Oh, well, I'm not sure if we ha...
 "And it needs to be very small. Our car is absolutely full of luggage already. We need something very compact. Like a small nest-box or something."

An Amazon parrot is about the size of the popular African Grey, a good twelves inches long or more. A small nest box would not be remotely suitable even for ten seconds.

 - Hmm. I don't think we really have anything suitable for that.
 "It needs to be very small."

She looks at a parakeet nest box. The parrot would barely fit in there, never mind have space to move.

 - That's not really big enough for an Amazon
 "Well, something about that size. How about a little budgie cage?"

An Amazon would chew its way through the bars within seconds. And, again, it simply would not be big enough.

 - We don't have anything at all suitable.
 "Well. What on earth do people use to transport a parrot?"
 - They often use a dog-crate or large pet-carrier, similar to something you would use to take a cat to the vets. But bigger.
 "Oh. Well. This visit has been pointless."

And off they went.

And I then watched as, before they got in the car, they talked to each other outside - presumably trying to work out some way to vacuum-pack their poor parrot.