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Mar 04 2016

We think it’s fairer… If Harrow Labour ran a Restaurant…

foodGuest post, from Marge in Harrow…

Imagine the scene. You’re strolling along what was once a leafy street in a quiet part of Harrow, when you stumble across a restaurant you’d been to once before, years ago. The chef at the time, Susan, you think her name was, was a fine and upstanding long-time Harrow resident, well known for serving good quality food, which, to be honest, was at the upper end of the market. However, the portions were big, the china always sparking, and you got real napkins. For reasons which aren’t terribly clear, she’d sold up a couple of years back, when people started to shun decent food, clean plates, and the Tory-blue decor, and it looks like the restaurant has very recently re-opened under a new owner.

Gone is the decor, replaced with a Labour-red style; sure, it looks a little scruffier, but that part of Harrow is no longer the green and affluent area it once was. Litter blows in the gentle wind, rats run around in broad daylight, and the windows seem to be a little more smeared than you remember. But in the window is something that grabs your attention: a sign proclaiming “Same sized portions; much lower prices” and underneath “Fairer prices for all.” It sounds like a vaguely familiar line, and you recall you’ve heard it before, when Harrow Council tells people that putting in place an “optional” bin charge of £75 for brown garden waste is “fairer” because only people who use the service will pay for it.

You enter the restaurant. Apart from an overwhelming assault on your colour senses from the Labour-style decor, you see people eating, most with those same real napkins, although one or two have cans of some unknown Polish lager on the table. A member of staff appears, a name badge illustrating his name as being “Dave” and he takes you to a seat. He offers you one of their best tables: a real tablecloth, asks if you’d prefer cloth or paper napkins, and whether you’d like their signature cutlery. Of course, you accept, delighted at the hospitality. He asks if you’d care for some of their finest Peruvian Spring Water to drink, and whether you’d prefer the cut crystal glasses or – and he snorts, gently – the Ikea tumblers. Of course, you’d like the Spring water, and what better than cut crystal glasses?

Looking at the menu, you see the same dishes you recall, yet the prices are significantly less than you remember from before. £1.99 for a roast beef dinner? You’re sure than cost at least a tenner when Susan ran the place!

You order your meal, opting, of course, for the bone china you remember last time, and before long, a fairly impressive plate appears. Of course, the beef may be a little tougher and a little over-spiced than you’d expected, but at these prices, who cares? Are yes, the vegetables might be a little under-cooked, the gravy a little lacking in flavour and consistency, but again, there’s plenty of it. You take your time working through this, ignoring the slight cramping that starts in your stomach. Maybe, you think, you’re not used to the unusual spices and herbs they’ve used? Or maybe, that spring water is a little gassy for your digestion?

It’s only seconds after you finish, that you start to feel that buttock-clenching rumble that something isn’t quite right down below. Beads of perspiration appear, and you finally acknowledge that something’s wrong. Summoning Dave, and asking through clenched-teeth for the bill, you hand open your credit card, stab your PIN into the machine proffered under your nose, grab the receipt and run, hoping to get home before the impending tsunami of crapulence arrives.

You put the whole lot down to experience, until your credit card bill arrives ten days later, the exorbitant charge causing you to examine the receipt in disbelief:

CHEZ DAVE, HARROW
"IT’S FAIRER FOR EVERYONE"
ROAST DINNER, BEEF           £1.99
WATER, PERUV. SPRING         £9.99
S/CHARGE: CLOTH NAPKINS      £2.00
S/CHARGE: REAL TABLECLOTH    £4.00
S/CHARGE: PREMIUM TABL      £10.00
S/CHARGE: PREMIUM CUTLRY    £10.00
S/CHARGE: PREMUM GLASS      £10.00
S/CHARGE: PREMIUM CHINA     £10.00
S/CHARGE: WASH/CLEAR         £3.00
CONDIMENTS (STANDARD)        £4.00
EXCESS KETCHUP CHARGE        £1.00
TABLE RENTAL
 45 MINS @ 26P/MIN          £11.75
PREMIUM ITEM INSURANCE       £3.50
CREDIT CARD HANDL FEE        £4.50
BUSINESS RATE CONTRIB.       £1.45
ELECTRICITY CONTRIB.          £.95
GAS CONTRIB.                  £.95
HEATING CONTRIB.              £.25
SUBTOTAL                    £89.33
CARD CHARGE @ 10%            £8.94
OPTIONAL 12% STAFF TIP      £10.72
TOTAL:                     £108.99

Suddenly, the parallels between Harrow Labour’s “fairer” £75 bin charge, and your £100+ bill for a £1.99 meal hits you, smack between the eyes, like the bullet from Remington 700 sniper rifle . It might be fairer if nobody has a garden that has trees, a driveway that attracts leaves, or a window box that has flowers, but when the “fairer” £75 charge is applied to the majority, it’s no longer fair. And you realise… you’ve now been scammed twice.

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2 comments

  1. Concerned Harrovian

    What items might appear on the menu? Eton Mess renamed Harrow Mess and to drink sparkling Perry.

    Any other suggestion for dishes to appear on the menu.? Also any suggestions for the restaurant name.

  2. the red mirror

    how about the house of the rising sum /or where Engels dares /or red or dead /.menu/ steak and kidney lie/ profit for alls/ice cream mundane /beverages /red whine/bottled out water.

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