The New York Times probably wasn’t expecting a Twitter sensation on the morning of Thursday, December 13, when they casually asked their followers if they’d ever encountered a petty crime in London.
But they certainly got one.
The Times took to Twitter and posted:
“Have you experienced a petty crime in London? Click to tell us your story.”
“(Your submission may be selected for publication.)”
Have you experienced a petty crime in London? Click to tell us your story.— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 13, 2018
(Your submission may be selected for publication.) https://t.co/MRvmXdlYC8
Little did the stalwart American publication know that their question would quickly take on a life of its own.
Twitter users from both sides of the pond decided to use this opportunity to take a massive swing at British stereotypes.
My trusted valet Jenkins witnessed a scuffle between an errant ne’er-do-well and a learned pig over who would eat the final chestnut at the frost fair, and he was most alarmed that the pig uttered several barbed insults in the Latin tongue, but using the vocative. Most unseemly.— Greg Jenner (@greg_jenner) December 13, 2018
My gentleman’s gentleman was accosted by some young hooligans outside my club. “I say, those are some rum plus-fours, old chap,” they said. He was terribly shaken and had to take a half holiday. I had to pour my own pink gin this morning— Tom Chivers (@TomChivers) December 13, 2018
Woman 1st off the Bakerloo line tube at Piccadilly this morning walked up the stairs still looking at her phone. Chaos. Police nowhere to be seen.— Chris Williams (@cjrw1981) December 13, 2018
It’s amazing the things that are considered a crime in “high society.”
Someone once refused to thank me after I held open a door for them.— ... (@peterbarnes_) December 13, 2018
Somebody put a poster up on a tree on my street, advertising a local school fair, and they used drawing pins.— Bond Vigilantes (@bondvigilantes) December 13, 2018
Someone spoke to me on the tube last week. Still haven’t recovered.— Christmas Niamh (@buckbeakbabie) December 13, 2018
What’s this world coming to?
About to catch a train home once, I offered a guy at the ticket machine in Euston my travel card, it was 2 PM. He declined and bought his own. #Stunned— Gareth Browne (@BrowneGareth) December 13, 2018
Sometimes people do not KEEP LEFT in tube stations, despite signs clearly ordering the contrary— John P (@jdp80) December 13, 2018
Someone on the Thameslink into London Bridge was watching Mrs Brown's Boys on their phone with the sound on. Loads of people saw it happen, nobody intervened. City's gone, man.— Rob Davies (@ByRobDavies) December 13, 2018
someone stood right in front of the open carriage window on the tube taking all the cool air while it was a really hot day— Joseph Cox (@josephfcox) December 13, 2018
Well, that’s a twist…
I was once pickpocketed by an old man and his gang of orphan children— Mollie Goodfellow 🤶🏻 (@hansmollman) December 13, 2018
References to British popular culture abounded.
My children were abducted by their nanny and discovered cavorting with a troupe of dancing chimney sweeps.— Chris Smith (@itschrissmith) December 13, 2018
In 1964 a dancing chimney sweep committed a brutal assault on the English accent. Despite frequent police reconstructions on television every Christmas and Easter, he has still not been found.— Julian Shea (@juliansheasport) December 13, 2018
Some of these crimes aren’t exclusive to Britain.
Went on a date with a man who didn't text me back but still likes all my instagram photos.— Sarah Rappaport (@SarahRapp) December 13, 2018
I was in my local London eatery and they’d run out of boiled mutton and porridge. I was furious and reported them to the police.— Simon Neville (@SimonNeville) December 13, 2018
someone clipped me with their trolley in Waitrose the other day and only apologised once— Josh Barrie (@joshbythesea) December 13, 2018
These make you wonder how society even continues to function smoothly.
yes, a newsagent tried to charge me 30p for a Freddo.— Hanna 'Noble Warrior Hero' Flint (@HannaFlint) December 13, 2018
An American talked loudly on his mobile in a restaurant then drank red wine with a fish course. Gave him an extra loud tut.— Jacob Rider (@Jacob_Rider) December 14, 2018
Chap wearing a brown belt with black shoes on Park Lane. This is the End of Days— Dan Kaszeta (@DanKaszeta) December 14, 2018
Increasingly people respond to the question 'How are you?' With 'I'm good' instead of the grammatically correct (and far more polite) 'I'm very well, thank you.' It's only going to escalate.— Kim Easton-Smith (@Kimberlarly) December 14, 2018
I did once see someone get off a bus without saying thanks to the driver. I didn't bother reporting it as I know the police are overwhelmed.— Peter Savage (@pcsavage) December 14, 2018
They’re almost too horrible to believe!
There's one quite hench squirrel that sometimes comes into my garden that has an undefinably surly attitude about it. Police have asked me to call again if it starts getting more aggro— Wrestle Me (@wrestlemepod) December 13, 2018
But then, with a single question, it all began again…