In some parts round here where I live, questions that are out of the box are known as a “Burton Question”.
I was reminded of this fact when I recently ventured up the street to the local pie shop in my lunch half hour. This particular pie shop had been recommended to me some time ago by a reliable source. Best pies in town. OK, but the side street this small shop was in was out of the way; standing alone up a slight hill and in a side street. They must therefore make wonderful pies to still be in business. That was my thinking as I hurried up the hill and as a consequence I suspect, feeling more and more like eating a pie or two.
There was no obvious sign on the shop, but it was easy for me to find as it was the only shop thereabouts. Confirming my guess work, there were several pies in the shops window. The doorway was a screen and also easily opened. When I walked into the shop there was no one around and all I could see were lovely pies on display all over the place. A lovely shop. There were plenty to choose from. Across behind the counter was a pastry work bench with neat rows of pies in the progress of being made. Thinking again, I figured there must be someone back soon with so many part pies waiting to be finished. I waited.
Waiting I thought about what sort of pie I’d like. Plain. Maybe two, if the price was reasonable and the pies were not too large. I waited some more.
A good four minutes went by until a robust middle aged man of European appearance in white pastry getup came quickly in from the back of the shop carrying a tray of new pies. Not looking up at me, he continued on and placed this tray with the other pies on the back bench.
When he came over we exchanged greetings, as we do. “what can I get you” and “I’d like a pie please”. His accent was not Italian as far as I could tell and proceeded to summarise for me a long list of pie types. I choose the chunky meat pie. As he walked back to where the new pies were lined up, with his spatula in hand to pick one up for me, this is when I made my mistake.
I asked him if he had ever thought of putting a bell on his door so he’d know whenever a customer walked in.
That was it for him ! He roared at me that having to listen to a bell on that door all door is extremely annoying. He would not let up. I stood in shocked silence. After 30 seconds of this blast that would not let up, I walked out. No pie.
Less than 10 steps out of his pie shop, I heard him again yelling. I turned around, and here he was leaning out the front door of his shop waving the spatula down at me. “Don’t you ever come back here, we don’t want people like you here. How dare you” etc etc with many other extremely derogatory adjectives. I kept walking, somewhat more quickly then when I came. Maybe he wasn’t selling many pies after all. I didn’t get one either, so that was interesting.
I did smile though when I thought of suggesting to my reliable source of information for good pies in town, that maybe they could ask the pie shop owner up the hill the next time they are up that way, “why does he not have a bell on his front shop door”. I didn’t of course, but it was tempting. He was obviously not a happy man and I had no idea how I could help him out. As for not asking those Burton Questions, fat chance of me being able to avoid them and buy a pie.
© 2016, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.