My own surprise patriotism

I was at the Canada/Australia/New Zealand shop in Covent Garden yesterday and picked out some treasured treats from home (a Coffee Crisp, an Oh Henry and a small bag of dill pickle chips). On my way to the checkout I noticed some Canadian and Australian flags in a bucket on the floor. To my absolute horror I realized that the flags were touching the floor. I starting trembling I was so upset. I am really not the sort of person who is outwardly patriotic but this really got to me.

I went up to the till and handed the girl my purchases and we had the following exchange:

Me: Excuse me. Do you realize that the flags over there are touching the ground? I don’t know if you are aware but that is highly offensive to Canadians. (I didn’t say Australians as I don’t know if it is?)

Checkout girl: Oh, well there are marbles in the bucket meant to hold them up.

Me: Yes but they are touching the floor so they aren’t working.

Checkout Girl: Well there are marbles in it.

Me: Can you not put the bucket on something higher? This is extremely offensive.

Checkout Girl: (Now thoroughly flummoxed) Mm-m-marbles…?

Me: (Voice unusually high but trying to stay calm) Are you going to do something about it or not?

Checkout Girl: Um, yes, of course.

I walked out with my knees going weak and my heart pounding. Honestly I had no idea I could get so upset about something like that. I feel bad for the girl, it’s not her fault. I probably should’ve asked for the manager, I wasn’t thinking clearly though. I may telephone and speak directly.

Anyone else here the “marbles” replies in the voice of Michael McKean explaining how the amps go to 11?

Good for you!

Maybe you had a panic attack at the same time that you were annoyed by the flags, and your mind just interpreted it the wrong way. Even the nasty kind of rabid shove-it-in-your-face patriot (which you don’t seem like at all) probably wouldn’t get weak kneed and trembly voiced about those flags.

By the way, I think your conversation with the girl was totally appropriate. I’m just wondering about the physical reaction you got.

I don’t think the average Australian would even notice, let alone find it highly offensive. There’s probably some archaic flag protocol that I’m not aware of though.

I don’t think the average Canadian would even notice, veterans excepted, of course. Had I not read this thread I would be entirely unaware there was even such a protocol.

As a rule we’re a little more easy going than this.

Never forget what Bob Dylan said; “Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.”

Clearly, it was simply a matter that some marbles were lost.

(I’m not sure why the cashier/clerk had to be involved. I suspect that I’d have simply straightened out the display and, if the flags continued to lean, simply tucked the low corners inside the pail.)

elbows, I do hope you know that Dylan was simply paraphrasing Samuel Johnson (although it is probably well that he was not paraphrasing Ambrose Bierce–or H.L. Mencken!).)

Maybe you’re just really homesick and having been admitting it to yourself?
<looks out at backyard; sees small American flag used at July 4th parade lying in the grass>

Er… *

*just kidding-I’m not fussed about the little flag outside. Now, if in some ceremony or prominent place-say outside the White House-I would be offended if it were on the ground.

I always assumed that the rule against letting the national flag touch the ground was true in all countries. Is that not the case? (And what about the rule that national flags flown together should be at the same height and of the same size? Is that one universal?)

I second elbows. I probably would’ve looked down, thought, “oh, some Canadian flags”, and gone off on my merry.

Thanks for defending our honour, though. :slight_smile:

I don’t think I’d be thrilled to see Canadian flags touching the floor, but I don’t think I would be too upset over it, either. I also think a whole lot of people are ignorant of the protocols of flags - I only learned about them recently.

By the way, I don’t think there’s any reason to look any further than simple anger to explain Mr.Jim’s heart pounding and shaking.

Guess who’s hungry for dill pickle chips now? :smiley: (Have you tried the creamy dill? They’re even better than regular!)

I’m really not sure why it upset me so much and I could have handled it better but I am glad I said something.

And…creamy dill??? :eek:

SOme woman at a job I held years ago had a little flag display on her desk, on which she had the Texas state flag attached at the top of the flag stick with the US flag attached underneath it. I pointed out to her that the state flag should not be placed higher than the national flag and she said something about how the Texas flag was more important. It annoyed me every time I saw it, and I’m not the least bit patriotic. But I feel strongly if you’re going to make a show of displaying the flag then you should display it properly.

Old Dutch Creamy Dill potato chips (fifth row down). The all-dressed and buffalo wings flavours are pretty damned good, too.

I would think so, also. The flag is a symbol used in battle, and to let your flag touch the ground during battle is akin to surrender. Theoretically.

I give you the potato chip flag.

And as a bonus for playing the game, the potato chip Jesus.

Semi-related flag-rant:

It bugs me that some people who seem to fall all over themselves trying to “outflag” their neighbors in some apparent attempt to prove to themselves and others how very patriotic they are will leave their American flag up 24 hours a day, every day, as if that makes them extra-patriotic WHEN ALL THEY ARE REALLY DOING is showing incredible disrespect for the flag by a) leaving it flying outside sometimes in rain and snow, and, b) flying it at night without a light on it. Irony.

There’s a banner on a house in our street that sort of looks like an American flag that got attacked by a rabid scrapbooker. It’s rearranged and with extra stars in odd places and “Stars and Stripes” embroidered across the top. I had to ask my American born husband if, apart from the text, the rest of the design was one of those archaic flags that was later adapted into the current design. Apparently not. It is an entirely new flag paying kitschy homage to the official flag. An icon for an icon or something. I’m still trying to figure out why they don’t just fly a real flag.

Dude! Chill! They’re little flags in a bucket!

Are you also going to get offended that they were in a bucket? There’s bigger and more important shit to get worked up about.

Trembling?? Weak at the knees?? Christ.

Hence my surprise at my reaction.

I guess this is where we differ.

Featherlou - I may have to fly home!