A different corner

I'm always fairly confident that my tale of the woman who once complained about the colour of the drinking straws in our pub will trump anybody else's anecdote by a country mile

Peter Edgerton
PETER EDGERTON

Whenever the subject of fussy customers comes up socially, no matter whom I may be talking to, I'm always fairly confident that my tale of the woman who once complained about the colour of the drinking straws in our pub will trump anybody else's anecdote by a country mile and, to be fair, it usually does.

This all changed recently when an architect friend of mine recounted a truly stunning experience he'd had the previous week.

"So, we'd built this massive luxury villa in a prime location, held a lavish completion party when it was all over and everything seemed to be perfectly fine, until a week or two later when the owner called me up out of the blue. Apparently, there was some discrepancy or other with one of the interior measurements, although he was a bit vague about the details on the phone. Anyway, I went down the next day to take a look. Imagine my surprise when he pointed to one of the villa's many enormous windows and said that it was a millimetre shorter than on the drawings."

"Hahaha - so it was a bit smaller than you'd outlined."

"A bit, no - exactly one millimetre."

"Crumbs. What did you do?"

"Tried not to laugh, principally; he was so angry. There he was, crouched down over the window, tape measure in hand, pointing at the offending corner and beckoning for me to take a look, simultaneously calling to his wife to come in from the next room as a witness. Picture the scene - a purple-faced bloke in his sixties, hunched in the corner of his luxury living room, pointing furiously at something no-one else could see and shouting something about this wasn't what he'd paid for. It was his poor wife I felt sorry for - she looked very sheepish indeed."

"I'm not surprised. How did it all pan out?"

"Well I waited for him to calm down from an incandescent level of rage to being merely very angry indeed and asked him to come over to where I was standing. He grudgingly obliged. I pointed to the 'problem corner' and then the vast expanse of glass it belonged to, suggesting in the politest of terms that he might be better off gazing upon panoramic views of the glistening Mediterreanean sea that his windows afforded, rather than concentrating his efforts on the smallest corner in the world and its perceived shortcomings. I think I mentioned the word 'perspective' as politely as I could, made my excuses and left as his wife looked on, smiling apologetically. I stared at the sea all the way home."