Entries in Swiss Cottage Kev (4)
- Two pairs of black leather shoes, one with laces, mostly worn for work between Monday and Thursday.
- One pair of brown or oxblood lace-ups, worn for work on Fridays. These black and brown work shoes are very likely to be made by Church or Oliver Sweeney.
- Two pairs of casual shoes, most likely including a pair of loafers and/or a pair of Clarkes.
- A pair of walking boots, important for the walking at weekends and/or on holiday. He only wears trainers for the gym (he just finds he looks slightly foolish in them) but may well own a pair of rugged Merrell shoes in addition to the walking. He will also have a pair of Argyll wellies of course.
- McDonald’s does tomato but not brown, and a presence in McDonald’s immediately means something is not proper middle class.
- Brown sauce is too strong to apply all over most food, except salty bacon, and everyone knows the working class way is to douse while the middles go for a side.
- Brown sauce is seen as traditional while, despite Heinz's best efforts to play up the heritage of their tomato ketchup, tomato has a more modern feel to it. And the middle classes are much more obsessed by traditional food than the working classes.
- Brown sauce cannot be shared by children, as they dislike its stronger taste. This makes it ideal for the middle classes, who fear that eating tomato sauce will turn their children into chavs who don’t ever stand a chance of winning Junior Masterchef.
I’ve driven a black cab in London for several years, and if the experience teaches you one thing (actually it teaches you many things, but I’ll do those later) it’s who you’re likely to get a tip off at the end of a journey. And I can tell you that class can be a guide, though maybe not in the way that you’d think.
First, there are the people who never tip. Australians are renowned among cabbies for not tipping, and the butt of many jokes because of it. The French are similarly tight. I also find that most black people don’t tip me; maybe there’s a reason for that, I dunno, but it’s my experience.
Of those who do tip, there’s a big gender divide, with about 70% of men doing it but only about 10% of women. And in terms of class, the upper round up the fare or add a pound, and the middle is frankly hit and miss, but as a rule the tightest – most of them tip only if you put it on the receipt. The best tippers are Americans – always 10% or more – and working class people; again I don’t know why, but there it is. My message to novice drivers would be to look out for working class Americans, and if you pick up a middle-class French woman – forget it.