I hadn’t had any fish from the butcher for a long time. Fish for our dog that is. Slightly old. Alright for an animal. I pay a nominal sum and have whatever there is. The other day his assistant, fat young Aedan, offered me some fish. Aedan is a clever salesman and I wished I could have seen the quantity to decide whether it was worth spending the nominal sum or not. I said in the end I would have it, and Alan put it on my bill. I saw it was 10p more than I normally paid and queried it. In fact, the Butcher himself was nearby and I turned to him. “Aedan must have forgotten,” I said, “it used to be 50p, didn’t it?” Surely he would remember. He did. But…had I realized that fish was getting dearer all the time? He, the Butcher, had to watch his pennies, too. I didn’t quite follow, because this was fish unfit for human consumption, to be thrown away in fact. I asked what would he do, if I didn’t come for it? He shrugged his shoulders saying there were always people wanting fish for their pets. Knowing his customers, I could have told him that nobody pays out money for smelly fish. He knew that as well as I did and I paid my usual 50p.
Now, I take care to shop there when Joe is in, my elderly friend. He always serves me well and saves huge packets of fish for me, slipping them into my bag quickly after having made sure that nobody watches. Too much fish. I have to sort it out at home and throw away the most smelly pieces.
Joe also gave me a lesson on different cuts of beef and sold me the most delicious shoulder of lamb. He doesn’t charge me for bones for our dog. I suppose the butcher reckons I’m not a good customer of his. I don’t know why Joe does this for me. Accomplices of some kind. I normally bring him a postcard after having been away on holiday. Matterhorn last time. He said it looked like Austria where he had been.