The Clash

#555: How to Be Annoying

GETTING MORE TALE #555: How to Be Annoying

Nobody really liked working with Dandy.  What Dandy did was decide who he liked and who he didn’t.  If he liked you, he wouldn’t annoy you repeatedly.  If he didn’t like you, then he just didn’t care – he’d do whatever he wanted, the more annoying the better.  One or two higher ranked people never saw his annoying side.  For the rest of us, he’d act like an idiot on a dime.

One of his most annoying habits was dancing at work.  He’d put on one of his favourite bands – the Dandy Warhols, or the Toilet Boys – and dance around the store.  And when he danced, his white belly would pop out from his too-tight black T-shirt – not a pretty sight.  I’ll admit I’m not the most svelte of specimens but I keep my white belly under ample amounts of shirt!  I’ll never forget the sight of him belly dancing when the Toilet Boys came on.

He also liked to embarrass other people as much as possible.  For example, when Joe Strummer died.  Customers were jumping on the Clash bandwagon, but I really didn’t know anything about the band.  I knew the hits from having heard them in the store, and there were songs that I like. I know one of the drummers (Terry Chimes) was briefly in Black Sabbath.  But I knew next to nothing else about the band members.  Due to his name (Strummer) I assumed Joe was the guitar player.  To this day I only own one Clash album (London Calling).  It just wasn’t my background.  My youth was a heady mix of British and North American classic rock and metal, and I never even bought a punk rock album until the mid-90s (Never Mind the Bollocks was my first).  Once Dandy realized I didn’t know who Joe Strummer’s was, he made sure to tell everybody.  Loudly.

“Hey get this!  We were listening to the Clash – Mike thinks Joe Strummer is the guitar player!  HAH HAH HAH!  He doesn’t even know!  HAH HAH HAH!”

But then the next day he would be nice as pie to me, and picking on somebody else.  Usually the infamous Spoogecakes.

Spoogecakes and Dandy weren’t exactly two of a kind.  She liked Lord of the Rings, Finger 11 and the Showboat soundtrack (we’ll talk about that one another day).  He liked drugs, makeup, and whatever was on-trend.  The only thing they had in common was annoying me.  Like for example, one time Spoogecakes hid my hat somewhere in the store and thought it was freaking hilarious.  I found out later on that she had a crush on me and this was an attention-getting game.  Kind of like something you’d do in grade school, annoying the girl you like for attention because you didn’t know what else to do.

It was Dandy who coined her original nickname:  the Angry Walrus.  His opinion was that she had that kind of face, and always seemed angry.  (She did definitely always seem angry.)  Apparently the name stuck immediately.  It was like a freight train that could not be stopped and I was the last one to hear about it, because I was the manager and nobody wanted to tell me.

Dandy:  “Damn, you have me scheduled to work with the Angry Walrus tonight.  That sucks.”

Me:  “Who the fuck is the ‘Angry Walrus’?”

I was so frustrated with both of them that I really didn’t even give a fuck anymore.  Thankfully I was soon transferred over to another location, and I never had to work with either again.  Thank fuck!

Part 291: The Old Geezer Who Called the Cops For a Refund




“Don’t make me tap the sign again.”


The Old Geezer Who Called the Cops For a Refund

Let’s say you went into a store, and bought a movie.  Then a few days later, you decided you didn’t like the movie and wanted to return it.  What kind of questions would cross your mind?

Here are some thoughts I would have.

  1. Do I still have the receipt?
  2. Does it state the store’s return policy?
  3. Does my purchase qualify for a return?

Those are all great, relevant questions.  Unfortunately for one old geezer, he didn’t proceed past question 1.

I was working one night, and I wasn’t even working in my own store.  I was running our website at that point, and I was holed up in the back room of another store working away.  Filling orders, responding to emails, all that stuff.  I had worked a long long day, a “split shift”.  My morning was spent in my own store working the opening shift.  Then I was off from 2-5, and finished the day working on the website.  So I was back there, doing my own thing, not having to spend time interacting with customers except by email.

Then, one of the in-store staff came into the back room, looking for help.

“Mike, we’re having a problem with a customer.  He wants to return a movie, and he wants a refund.  Can you come out here?”

I was the most senior person on premises, so I stepped out to help.  Our return policy was stated clearly on store signage, and on the receipt:  “EXCHANGE ONLY WITHIN 7 DAYS.”  We informally stretched that to 14 days to avoid hassles, but refunds were not usually permitted.

I saw the old guy, and asked if I could help.

“Yeah, all I want is my money back.  I don’t want this movie.”

I used my “understanding” voice.  “I’m sorry to hear that.  Would you like to do an exchange?  You can pick out anything in the store and we can put this towards it as credit?”

“I don’t want to pick anything else.  You don’t have anything I want.  I want my money back.”

“I’m really sorry,” I said, “We don’t offer refunds on used movies.  The policy is on the sign there, and on the receipt.  But you don’t have to exchange it for a movie, you can use it towards anything in store.  Or I could order something in from another store.  Or I can issue you a credit note, and you can take that with you and use it any time you like?”

“I don’t want a credit.  I want my damn money back!”

I wasn’t going to budge just because he was insistent; I had been given shit for budging on the refund policy before by my boss. I preferred getting yelled at by customers than by him.

“I’m sorry but I can’t do that.  I can however offer you any of the other options I mentioned.”

“Where’s the boss?  I want to talk to him,” the old man spat out.

“He’s not here,” I answered.  “He made those policies so we wouldn’t have to constantly call him asking about refunds.”

“Well then I’m calling the police.  I want my money back and I’m getting it back!”

I stood there for a moment, shocked that anybody would think this was a police matter.  “You can do that if you like,” I answered simply.

“Can I use your phone?”

Seriously?  OK then.  I handed him the phone.  He fumbled with it for a few moments.

“Can you call the police for me?” he said after a moment.

This time I laughed.  “No, it’s not me who even wants to call the police!  You can call them, I don’t want anything to do with that.”

Left without options, the old man dialed and called the police himself.  Shockingly he said to them, “Can you send a couple officers here?  I don’t want this to get violent.”

Violent?!  Oh my God!  A couple officers?  What a great use of our police resources!

The fuzz showed up about half an hour later.  One officer.  It was a pretty quick, cut-and-dried visit.  He asked the old guy what the issue was; the old guy complained again that he wanted his money back and we wouldn’t give it to him.  Then he asked me for my side of the story.  I explained that we do not offer refunds, that the policy was clearly stated everywhere, and the old man had many options for returning the movie that did not involve a refund.

The officer spelled this out to the old man. In a few minutes, he had already picked a replacement movie and agreed to the exchange.   I stood there thinking, “He needed a police officer for this to happen?”  We exchanged the movie, and I thanked him for his business.  He then walked over to the cop and put his arm on his shoulder.  “I’d like to talk to you outside, about this matter,” he said to the cop, and they went outside together.

I don’t know what additional issues he needed to discuss with the law, but I never saw the old man again.

Bottom line:

If you can’t get what you want at a store, please please please don’t get the police involved.  It’s such a waste of resources.



REVIEW: Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol (deluxe edition)

I’m addicted to buying these deluxe editions.  I think this is the last of my Black Sabbath deluxes. Check out more of my Sabbath deluxe reviews by clicking here!


BLACK SABBATH – The Eternal Idol (2010 deluxe edition)

The years of chaos were seemingly coming to an end as Black Sabbath stabilized into a solid core of Tony Iommi, Geoff Nicholls, and new lead singer Tony Martin. The drum and bass positions would continue to swirl for another year, right up until the Headless Cross tour. Getting to this point was not without struggle, and this new Deluxe Edition illustrates this beautifully.

I’m going to sidestep the issue of “Does The Eternal Idol really deserve the Deluxe Edition treatment?” and just be glad it’s out. There are, after all, two B-sides here that were ridiculously expensive to acquire on 12″ vinyl. Those songs, “Some Kind of Woman” and the original version of “Black Moon” (which would later be re-recorded on Headless Cross) finally complete the Eternal Idol picture. And they’re not bad songs either, particularly “Black Moon”. “Strange Kind of Woman” I haven’t wrapped my head around yet. It’s this uptempo boogie rocker, and aside from “Blue Suede Shoes” I don’t think I’ve ever heard Black Sabbath boogie before. But it’s not bad, Tony’s playing is awesome, but maybe…ill advised is the term I’m looking for?

The bonus disc is the entire album’s original recording with former vocalist Ray Gillen (their seventh singer) before he was replaced by Martin (their eigth). This had been mostly available on a very common bootleg called The Ray Gillen Years, but missing a couple tracks. Now, the entire album as recorded by Gillen can be heard, and in much better sound quality.  Gillen was a very different type of singer, bluesier, very Coverdale-esque.  He later reappeared with his Sabbath-mate Eric Singer in Jake E. Lee’s Badlands.


I can still remember keeping up with the Sabbath story via their music videos on MuchMusic. I was surprised when I saw that the “new” singer, the bearded Glenn Hughes, had been replaced by the much cooler looking Tony Martin. Skeptical, I watched the video for the first and only single “The Shining”. Lo and behold, the song was awesome! The riff (which goes back to an old unreleased Sabbath song from 1984 called “No Way Out”, featuring a lineup of Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and David “Donut” Donato) was powerful and epic.  As good as any riffs Sabbath had done with Ronnie James Dio. The new chorus shimmers with intensity. This new singer rocked! Unfortunately, Martin would spend his entire career with a “mini-Dio” or “Dio-clone” tag. The similarities are that Martin has a similar range and equal amount of power, but not the grit, and a different character. Fortunately for him, Martin would stick around for 5 albums, but never shook the “replacement singer” tag.

Aside from “The Shining”, I find The Eternal Album to lack lustre. “Glory Ride” is the only other song that was single-worthy, a great romp that reminds me heavily of “Strange Wings” by Savatage (a song that featured Ray Gillen on backing vocals, coincidentally!) The rest of the songs…well, they ain’t bad, I guess. They’re just unremarkable, which is not good for a band that has seldom been anything but.  “Born To Lose” is fast and furious, as is “Lost Forever”. “Scarlet Pimpernel” is one of those atmospheric Sab instrumentals that they were known for in the early days, and its inclusion was very wise. However, the songs so tend to meld into one another, with only “The Shining” and “Glory Ride” making my personal Sabbath road tapes.

I mentioned the creation of this album was chaotic. Aside from the replacement of the lead singer position mid-album, there were also two drummers: Eric Singer departed to be replaced by ex-Sabbath drummer Bev Bevan! But by the tour, Bevan would be replaced by ex-The Clash drummer (Dr.) Terry Chimes. Dave (brother of Dan) Spitz partially recorded the bass to be replaced by ex-Rainbow and Ozzy bassist Bob Daisley. Daisley was gone before the video for “The Shining” was filmed, to be replaced by a mystery man who nobody bothered to catch the name of. You can see him in the video. The story goes, they needed a bassist for the video and pulled this guy off the street. For the tour, Jo Burt filled the bassist slot. Neither Chimes nor Burt would stick around to the next album, Headless Cross.

Did you get all that?

The Eternal Idol was a crucial step towards solidifying Black Sabbath once again, after the chaos of the previous years, but it would be the next album, Headless Cross, that was a resounding return. A much more solid album, Headless featured the new nucleus of the two Tonys and the legendary Cozy Powell on drums. Session bassist Lawrence Cottle (a great fretless player) was replaced for the while by Cozy’s longtime rhythm partner, Neil Murray. That lineup of Powell, Murray, Iommi and Martin (always with Geoff Nicholls on keys) would prove to be one of the most stable in the band’s history and the one that I saw when I first saw Sabbath live in 1995 on the Forbidden tour.

Anyway, I’m going off on a tangent. My point was to show that this album was really not the “comeback” that it could have been, but merely a step towards rebuilding Black Sabbath. You have to admire Tony Iommi for not giving up. The Eternal Idol is not for those fans who just like Ozzy, or just like Dio. Eternal Idol is for the metal maven who wants to know every chapter in the band’s history. Otherwise, I can’t recommend it, except for the two songs “The Shining” and “Glory Ride”. Purchase accordingly.

3/5 stars