No announcement yet.

From ages past

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • From ages past

    I found some old files of tales from my days in retail. I'll copy and paste a few here. These are all from the second half of 2003.


    Today's interesting customer for me was a classic. You know how I feel about people wasting carrier bags? Well, you do - read any of my posts about it.
    Someone refused a carrier today on the grounds that they had one in their pockets. They brought it out. It had a slit down the side - not just any slit, but one sealed with safety pins.

    She put her purchase in that and wandered off, pausing outside to bring another bag out of her pocket into which she put the first bag.

    Eyebrows were raised.


    An early one, before nine bells had been struck, was the refuse collection agent (binman to we mere mortals). I'll have to explain a little of the history.
    The local council had to put out its contracts for services, as per the law, and this included the refuse collection. This is divided into two sections - household and commercial. For many moons, the council has competed against the local businesses and constantly won the contracts from itself. Last year was no exception, for the council did indeed win its own contract.

    It refused it.

    I kid you not - the council gave the lowest bid to itself to get the contract, and then they decided to allow commercial refuse collection services to tender for work on an individual shop by shop basis (household is still council - for now). In short, they had bid far too low - from incompetence or deliberate actions, I know now, but I know which theory I prefer.

    We banded together on our parade and arranged a discount with one company - or at least most of us did. A couple of places went their own way, which meant that we were going to have several wagons instead of one. After a while, our company decided that it was not making enough and sold its round to the other, who already did two of the shops. That's the potted history.

    Our bins are emptied on a Tuesday. The others are emptied on a Thursday - by the same company. The Boss collared the driver of today's emptying wagon and asked him about this. Why didn't he arrange with the other driver to merge the work into one person's? Why didn't they arrange it all to be on one collection?

    The driver earned his Jobsworth wings by saying that they didn't want to put too much extra work on either driver.

    The Boss looked at the bin the man was emptying, and then at the fifteen foot distance between that bin and ours.

    The Jobsworth had the decency to blush and promised to look into adding one part of one round onto the other.

    I like people who think for themselves.

    We usually end up thinking for other people.


    The customer is not always right.

    Anyone who has read this thread knows this. Anyone who has served people from behind a counter knows this.

    Some people who come in the door refuse to accept it.

    Today's evolutionary throwback was right - oh boy, was she right. She wanted black peppercorns, so the Boss took her to the correct shelf and brought out the appropriate drum.

    "Those aren't black peppercorns," the woman said.

    The Boss pointed out that it said 'Black Peppercorns' on the label.

    "They're not!" she protested.

    With little sympathy for the woman's sensibilities, the Boss opened the drum, breaking the seal, rendering it unsaleable from that point on. "What are those, then?" he demanded.

    "Those aren't black peppercorns," the woman sniffed, barely glancing at the contents. "Black peppercorns taste different to those."


    I got dragged into this one.

    The Boss was serving someone on the Deli counter as I was working at my side. His customer looked over at me with interest.

    "What are those bones you are working on?" she asked.

    "Pork spare ribs," I replied.

    "Is that where you get rack of lamb from?"


    So far today, we had a chap who asked where the yoghurts were. The Boss led him, gently I might add, away from the bananas and pointed him at the milk fridge.

    It's a rather nice fridge. It's one of those where the cold air rolls down from the top and is taken in for re-chilling and sending back up by grilles at the bottom. It's a lovely OPEN FRONTED fridge, one WITHOUT DOORS, the sort you see in many places.

    The chap pondered for a moment. "How do I get in this?" he asked.

    I've been practicing my mimes since then.


    I don't like cutting ham thinly.

    It's a philosophical objection of mine. See, I've tried ham sandwiches when the meat is cut thinly and layered many times. It feels less substantial than a single thick slice, and it causes me more work to cut it off the piece. You can't get away with a layer of mustard as thick as I prefer, either.

    "Can I have four slices of ham please? I need it thin for sandwiches," a woman said today. This is not an unusual request.

    I did them as requested, but she decided to add something that I appreciated for all the wrong reasons.

    "I need it thin," she said, "because I want it nice, but not too nice, if you know what I mean."

    I thought about this for a moment, which was more than she had done. "No, I don't," I replied.

    Flying in the face of the evidence, and any available common sense, she persisted. "You do," she said, effectively calling me a liar before going off to the other till to pay for it.


    It's too early, but then it's always too early. (originally posted at 8:46am)

    I got called away from the laptop as I was downloading my mails at work.

    "Two slices of bacon please," said the CTEF (Customer that Evolution Forgot).

    Was it worth washing my hands for? I shrugged and brought the bacon out, as a good butcher should. I was about to put it on the machine...

    "I'll just go to the bakery, if that's all right," he said.

    I stopped putting the bacon onto the machine. I stared into middle space. I didn't look at him. I grunted. It was the sort of grunt that could easily be translated as 'yes' or as 'you ignorant bastard, if you go elsewhere then I'll wait until you're back before continuing'.

    Fine, if I have to bone out a shoulder of lamb or something. Maybe even if I have to get something out of a cryovac packet.

    Two slices of bacon when the roll is about to be set on the machine?

    He caught my grunt and pained expression.

    "Ah, I'd better stay," he said, realising that two slices of bacon was not going to take very long.


    I'm enjoying myself too much. The Boss is on holiday. I can bugger off home when I want. I can eat takeaways every night.

    Someone noticed my cheerful expression and decided to take offence.

    Whiny customer: English strawberries are *reeeeeeallly* expensive, aren't they?

    I glanced at her designer-wear, her flash car, her pert plastic-surgeried buttocks. Never waste a good glance.

    Me: Yes, they are, and in twelve hours it will be November.

    She wasn't happy. I was. Balance was restored.


  • #2
    About the peppercorn lady--

    It hurts enough just reading about it. I can't imagine the horror of actually *being* there.
    Unseen but seeing
    oh dear, now they're masquerading as sane-KiaKat
    There isn't enough interpretive dance in the workplace these days-Irv
    3rd shift needs love, too
    RIP, mo bhrionglóid


    • #3
      To the peppercorn lady--

      .................................................. .................................................. ...............?

      That is all!