NY Times appeal for reports of London ‘petty’ crime backfires on Twitter

The New York Times has had thousands of responses from sarcastic Brits after putting out an appeal for people who have experienced a petty crime in London.

The heavy weight of social interactions with other Londoners was a regular feature of the replies, with @olibradley responding: “I asked someone how they were and they actually told me.”

“Someone held the door open for me when I was still ten feet away and then I had to run and pretend I was grateful. I was sweaty and fuming,” @harriet1marsden wrote.

“I said ‘after you’ to a woman entering a cafe and instead of saying ‘no no please, my good lady I insist, after YOU’ she went in, ordered exactly what I was going to order for lunch, and got the last one,” wrote Twitter user @ericabuist.

“I almost tutted but I am not an animal,” she said.

The unspoken laws of using the London underground featured highly in the replies as well.

“Someone made eye contact with me on the tube once. The culprit is still at large, despite a massive police operation,” wrote @ralasdair.

“Once on the Northern Line in Clapham a small group of people spontaneously sung a christmas song – council and police failed to issue ASBOs to any offenders,” replied an aghast @SamANutt.

And @chazpLDN tweeted: “A charlatan didn’t have his Oyster card ready this morning before getting to the front of the underground queue. Audible tutting ensued.”

The expense of living in the UK capital came up again and again as something which should be made illegal.

“My landlord charges us £2,000 a month in rent and a lady from the council just told me my bedroom is too small to be legally occupied,” tweeted @indiablock.

And @GarethAOwen1 wrote simply: “£6 for a pint. Daylight robbery!”

Meanwhile, @eapbee said: “The Rivoli Bar in the Ritz charged me £90 for a Negroni. Incredible scenes.”

Then there were a suspicious number of “crimes” which mirrored fictional events.

“A woman with a flying umbrella and her grubby friend accosted me and tried to shove me into a floor painting,” wrote @juliamcfarlane.

“I was once pickpocketed by an old man and his gang of orphan children,” replied @hansmollman.

Naturally, there were crimes against the ritual of tea-making.

“Ordered a tea and they put the milk in first,” lamented @JimMFelton.

“I once was given Darjeeling when I had clearly asked for Earl Grey,” @Jackieleonard1 replied.

Noting the enduring importance of queues to Brits, @Peta_Moxon tweeted: “When I worked in London someone pushed in front of me in a queue.”

And @jimxant pointed out that London’s wildlife aren’t exempt from criminal activity.

“I once saw a pigeon nick a mayonnaise sachet from an old couple on a park bench,” he reported.

Neither the New York Times nor the journalist who made the appeal have responded to the overwhelming number of case studies they have received.

How many make it into the final report remains to be seen.

Life, TechnologyWeb editor