SOME BUSINESSES HAVE chosen names that amuse me. There are plenty of fish and chip shops called ‘The Codfather’. In the small Essex town of Coggeshall, there is a fish and chips shop named ‘Coddes Hall’. And Royal Tunbridge Wells (in Kent) has one of these outlets, which serves fried fish and chips, with the name ‘Happy Friar’. If they have not already been used, I will suggest the following as appropriate names for seafood outlets: ‘Upon my Sole’, ‘The only Plaice’, ‘The Prawn Broker’, and ‘Get on your Skate’.
There is a hair salon in west London’s Ealing district called ‘Pure Barberism’. And when we are in London, one of our favourite coffee shops in Kensington calls itself ‘Perky Blenders’.
You may be excused for asking where this collection of gimmicky names is this leading to? Well, I was inspired to write this short piece after eating some ice cream in the charming Cornish seaport called Fowey (pronounced ‘foy’). The ice creams were sold at a shop called ‘Game of Cones’. I enjoyed the ice cream much more than the only two episodes of the TV show that inspired the ice cream parlour’s name.
Back in the early 1970s, I had dinner at a cheap and cheerful Chinese restaurant (Lido, which still exists in Gerrard Street) with about 7 friends. 5 of them were studying to be chartered accountants, I was completing my PhD thesis, and ‘J’ had only the most basic of educational qualifications.
The bill arrived. It was £24 for all that we had eaten. That seemed about right. The bill, consisting of three pages stapled together, was examined by all of us.
When J looked at it, she said it was twice what it should have been. This was because the waiter had added the sub totals at the bottom of each page to the individual prices which added together were equal to the sub totals.
We ended up sharing a corrected bill of £12.
What concerned me was that 5 people who were about to become chartered accountants missed the error in the bill which they had perused. Would you have trusted them with your money?
Incidentally, J went on to become a very successful business woman, probably more prosperous than anyone else sitting around that table in Lido.