When a 59-year-old Katoomba security guard was accidentally overcharged $9.50 at a Mountains pub bistro earlier this year, he decided against approaching the hotel directly for the refund.
Instead Mark Keith Slater entered himself into the Australian Dummy Spit Championship.
Mr Slater was dining with his wife at The Grand View Hotel’s popular half price Muesday night on May 20, ordering an extra item – the gluten free, fat free, low-sodium, vegan salt and pepper squid – off the evening’s menu. He didn’t realise the mistake on the bill until after he left.
What followed was $25 in administrative charges spent chasing the money (including a registered post letter to The Grand View asking for a cheque), correspondence with the Department of Fair Trading and half a day spent at Sydney Olympic Park competing in the ‘restaurant temper tantrum’ division of the Australian Dummy Spit Championship.
“I’m a man of principle and I wanted to be the nation’s top whinger,” he said.
Judge J Yesthisactuallyendedupbeforeacourt said this was “an outstanding display of being a proper cock”.
After considering various other temper tantrums from around the country, the judge said: “Your display of pettiness was extraordinary and makes me question my faith in humanity. Truly outstanding”. He awarded Mr Slater the gold medal.
Mr Slater said while he understood most people wouldn’t be bothered, he wanted to make a stand. He will be known to many in the Mountains, having stood unsuccessfully for council eight times since the 1990s. He started with the Green Independents, then moved to the Liberal Party, and then stood for the Australia First group at the last council election.
Grand View manager Tony Riviere said the customer was “a model whinger”. He was not aware of the Dummy Spit Championship.
“We are not going to argue with anyone over $9.50 … it’s just silly,” he told The Babbler.
“Our assistant manager Kate spoke to him and did ask him for his credit card details [to provide a refund]. I find it really odd. I thought this had been sorted. And who the fuck asks for a cheque in 2019.”
Mr Riviere said it all seemed to be a misunderstanding. They had received a registered post letter addressed to Kate (who is calmly enjoying a meal without making a scene in a restaurant overseas) that he now realised was from Mr Slater about the matter, but “Who expects a legal letter from someone chasing $9.50”.
Mr Slater said he would like to compete in next year’s Championship. But he won’t be going back to the Grand View and is instead looking for a new venue to drag into court.