Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The beginning of the job to present...................

Friday 28th May 2010

I had been told to meet outside the employers store at 11am for my induction at a mainline London station.The nerves were on me as I arrive 30 mins early and proceeded to walk around the unit 4 times before recognising a young homosexual who was at the interview last week.I then met another lad a Bangladeshi who gave his name as Rohit but it could be a made up name as guys from Asia who don’t speak very good English tend to do that.

Then,at the main entrance of the store i caught sight of three ladies with we’re here for the induction written all over their fearful faces.However,one of them introduced herself and we followed her into the bowels of the station as her hijab fluttered in the wind.
Finally, we arrived in a converted railway arch and were subjected to 2 ½ hours of mind numbingly boring but essential health and safety information and lots of paperwork signing which basically covered the asses of the company so they don’t get sued.
The highlight of the session was a line in the staff manual which said ,”when faced with a blind customer don’t stroke the guide dog”!!
There was a tap which dripped continuously ,when i asked the supervisor can it be turned off the reply was its been like that for 2 years.What they can’t get a plumber to put a new washer on the tap with a billion squid a year turnover!!
Make sure you’re at another London station by 2pm for your till training was the parting shot of hijab lady.
Till training here we go,one of my adult ambitions about to be fulfilled,working on a really big cool till with lots of bar code swiping.Hello,my name is tall Asian follow me for some till training.Would i get found out as an overqualified fraud just there for the ride?
“Ok,who wants to go first and don’t forget your till point sales".I will ,10 minutes later after selling 3 bars of Cadburys Dairy Milk and a packet of Haribo sweets I’m hooked and tall Indian says wery well done are you sure you haven’t done this before?Yes,i’m in.

4.30pm word is spreading that the till training will now become a full shift until 8pm on the bank holiday weekend and the first day of half term.Her in doors (HID) is more excited than me when i tell her that i’m working a full shift.
8pm buzzing as i catch the bus back home dreaming of my first day working at the PLC.Feet need a good soak and my hands need a good wash.

Bank Holiday Monday 31st May 2010

High noon kick off for me,very nervous which is to be expected in a new job.The Algerian supervisor,escorts me to the unit I will be working in on my first day,en route i ask him how long he’s been there.At the PLC or in the UK he replied.

The big unit as its known with bright lights and every square inch taken up with products lots of shiny products,is there anything they don’t sell.Straight in at the deep end i believe they call it learning on the job.Yeah,I know how to swipe something and press the sub total key but price override and modify item they are out of my comfort zone.Its complete bedlam a combination of half term and bank holiday is probably the reason or maybe its like that all the time.Nice lad for company on the tills,young black boy with an earring in each ear who is obsessed about working for 3 consecutive days.My oh my its true what they say about the microwave generation,they really don’t like to work.The kids are away at the outlaws all week so don’t need to rush home so soak up the atmosphere at the station before catching the bus home.

Tuesday 1st June 2010

Pinch punch first day of the month.

8am start,my first stop is the managers office for my official t shirt with the chewing gum endorsement on.Thought to myself don’t be seen with that t shirt on you’ll never live it down.Then the reality of what i’ve got myself into hits home like a Hot Shot Hamish thunderbolt,just keep your head down stay out of trouble and do the best you can and remember don’t forget the till point sales (TPS).Different staff today at the unit gonna have to have a great memory for names because none of the names are English apart from gay boy.The staff room is the size of an en suite bathroom in a desirable piece of real estate not for 65 staff working from 5am – 10pm.Don’t let the staff get too comfortable and whatever you do don’t let the staff room be too clean the PLC says.
French queen is pleasant i attempted some broken French on him knowing that keeping the queens on side is always useful in any job.The Algerian is hovering and i know that if i don’t carry out TPS regularly then its the boot.Too many void transactions is the boot,incorrect attire is the boot,keeping £20 notes in the till is the boot,leaving more than 3 tenners in the till is the boot,is there anything i can do.
Some of the Eurostar dollies have serious potential is it the uniform or the accent.I don’t care what it is but this job could be just what i need after being a househusband for 18 months.

Wednesday 2nd June 2010.

Another 8am start have realised you don’t get brownie points for arriving early,the PLC doesn’t care about that only, “If you don’t empty your locker after your shift then guess what,yep its the boot”

The supervisors make sure that you get your break at the right time but is 30 mins break for an 8 hour shift legal?I must check my rights but somehow i don’t think that will help.French queen is in fine fettle today he’s only criticising half of the workforce today and he’s annoyed with me because i threw away his woollen glove that he uses to pull the stock cages along.Apologise profusely and foolishly tell him i thought it was rubbish.Met a new member of the team today,overweight Indian bird she has her own hand cream and bottle of mineral water.Blimey she’s taking a risk.She’s doing an MBA in Human Resource Management what a place to learn about that.
I’ve spotted some regular customers and of course they are Eurostar dollies and one brunette in particular with an ample chest is mesmerising.English girls just don’t have the sophistication of these ladies.The Algerian completely lost the plot today and bollocked rasta boy in front of all customers and staff for not wearing the correct shirt.Clearly they don’t teach management skills at the PLC.
Stroll into the staff room to be followed in by Somalian security who garbles something along the lines of,”empty your pockets please”.Excuse me i said who do you think you are taking to you long streak of piss,i was born here you’ve been here 2 minutes and you want to do that.I turned out my pockets and it was witnessed by token English dog and that was that.Somalian loped off with his tail between his legs and I am seething,but remember keep your head down son.

Thursday 3rd June 2010.

Day off

Friday 4th June 2010.

Thinking it could be absolutely mental today last day of half term and very warm what a recipe that is.By now i’m becoming a robot but keep telling myself don’t subscribe to the culture of fear.These staff will do anything to keep their jobs even if they are treated like animals.

The Algerian likes me because i talked up Algeria’s chances in the football and even asked him where he is watching the game next Saturday.Every day there is someone different i work with ,the only consistencies are French queen and fat Indian bird.I apologised to Somalian security but it fell on deaf ears.There is this pig ugly woman who works in the station who keeps on waiting for me to serve her,typical the worst looker is the one who likes me.She’s got hands like a carpenter.

There she was again the French brunette with the ample chest striding into the store i went weak at the knees as she purchased a packet of 20 Marlboro Golds.The Scot assistant manager seems really friendly but she’s got bags under her eyes like Sandy Gall bladder.

Everyone is scared of the cash office we had to order 2 floats today and apparently you can get the boot for that.The lady from the cash office turned up with the float,I introduced myself and went to shake her hand and apparently that’s very formal!!

It seems busy today but can’t wait to get out of here and see her indoors and the kids.

Saturday 5th June 2010 2pm-6pm

After 2 hours coaching 9 year olds how to play football i had foolishly told PLC that i was flexible at weekends so at 2pm on one of the hottest days of the year i arrive for work.

The weekend supervisor collars me in the bathroom en suite (staff room) and tells me i’m on my own upstairs.
Basically,i’m next to the Sheffield platforms and i later find out that i have to put out my own stock.So half way through the shift a huge cage of stock turns up and they say its all yours mate.

I spend the next 3 hours running between the counter and the cage and at the same time i bring all the old stock forward just like they taught me at catering college.Stayed 15 minutes late and told them i expect that extra time to be reflected on the wage packet.The supervisor laughed nervously as i faced the culture of fear head on.An uneventful day.

Monday 7th June 2010.8am-4pm

Felt cream crackered like most of the customers looked today.French queen was waiting for me as usual and i met another Somalian today he’s been there 5 years and only works Monday-Thursday 6am-2pm.Him and the queen are the longest serving staff at the PLC and i need to be careful with them.Get your head down son.Long serving Somalian is just completing accountancy exams and he has ambition,i respect that.

French brunette appears but goes straight to the other till despite my best efforts to finish serving the customer in front of her but she had a big grin on her face,I wonder what she got upto at the weekend!!

Americans are always a laugh you can really push them on the TPS and engage in banter with the girls.I looked up and saw 2 gorgeous American girls standing in front of me but when one of them talked it was really strange she kept on saying “thank yoi” bit of a shame really maybe she was an actress.Ex big Brit Pop bloke turned up with oriental wife and son didn’t want to break his anonymity as his son bought Panini World Cup football stickers.

I was about to finish my shift when a call beckoned me to see the boss,he is the main man according to the staff he can make or break you.He is the general manager of all the stores who never says hello to his staff and stays in the office all day but he must be quite good at what he does to be in that position.

At 4pm presicely i ventured into the back of house area and met the boss with a middle aged blonde who didn’t introduce herself.Now there’s a bit of a problem he began,you were angry at being searched by the long streak of piss what’s your problem.I thought that bastard is so insecure he has got brownie points by telling the boss that i objected to being searched.Anyway,i told the boss how it was for me and there’s no hard feelings.He shook my hand and got my name wrong twice.
As i waited for a bus I made a decision to keep all these colleagues at arms length and be very careful who i talk to because they will knife you in the back to keep there £5/hour job.

Tuesday 8th June 2010.8am-4pm.

I strode into the unit with a spring in my step and a mohiccan hairstyle to hide my age.
Experienced Somalian and French queen greeted me and I told them it was my birthday.

Very early on French brunette turned up and we engaged in conversation for the first time and i realised that actually she’s English with a bit of French glamour.I told her it was my birthday and she thought i was 28,”that’s very flattering but i’m 37”I replied.”What are you doing tonight” she said,foolishly i said going home to see the kids.She walked out in shock and that could be that.

The Algerian was subdued today looking tired and unshaven but paid me a compliment by calling me a “player” this means i’m in there with the hierarchy.Good news should be ok from now on.It was quiet today lots of interesting MILF’s and reasonable TPS’s today.

The Actor was doing the books again.He’s a 27 year old bloke who wants to be an actor but has worked at PLC for 2 years.Every day i see him i take a genuine interest in his future career and ask him what he’s doing about his acting ambitions and every day he says “i’m working on it”.
Such a shame how people just can’t get themselves together and follow their dreams but i can’t look after everyone.He got flustered today when a woman complained about an International Phonecard.She was a fiery Spanish tourist who spoke acceptable English I suggested how he dealt with it and at one point actor Dave looked like he was going to cry.

4pm finish off home to enjoy what’s left of my birthday.

Wednesday 9th June 2010.8-4pm

“Bonjour Patrice,comment allez vous?”
The French queen absolutely loves that when i arrive for work,you know pay him a bit of attention but making sure I mention the wife and kids a lot just in case he thinks i bat for both sides.
I told him to practice French on me because it will help me get more TPS out of the French women.
Experienced Somalian was complaining as usual and i’ve noticed that he doesn’t look properly for anything,damn frustrating he’s like my 5 year old boy.
Now then Wednesdays are a huge day because its book change over day,its all hands to the pump all the new paperbacks arrive and immediately go on special offers,how do publishers make any money?
The Algerian was very friendly but i need to be wary of Algerians bearing gifts.Slow lad was doing the books another whinger but remember get your head down and get those Haribo’s sold.The TPS table was on display in the staff room and i came really low down on the list for 7th June,very disappointed with that.All morning i was expecting English brunette with French glamour to turn up but as time progressed i could see that she wouldn’t show.Oh well have to focus on someone else today.Flirted with a woman who turned out to be a journalist who was all giggly and excited because she was in the Guardian today and it looks like The Guardian is the best selling paper in the unit.

What about buyers of top shelf titles?What is the profile of the buyer?
They are normally middle aged and probably divorced and can’t get a lady if you know what i mean!!
Today i established that large breasted women are more friendly and confident and hold eye contact.
I suppose that comes from their teenage years when they were fully developed and more aware than other girls.One of these BBW’s walked up to the till bold as brass and asked me where she could buy some stockings.Wow,even my own wife wouldn’t do that to me.I had spotted La Senza,the well known purveyor of upmarket lingerie,and suggested she goes there but with a caveat it may not be her cup of tea.”If not,you can always try M & S” I ventured.She had cougar potential and laughed on her way out.
The other fact I learnt today is the absolute lack of commitment the staff have.They don’t think twice about sending punters to other competitors for similar products even though they could make a sale if they could be bothered.I’m pleased they don’t work for me i wouldn’t have a business left if i employed this lot.
I’ve decided to take notes during the lunch break but i must be very careful that i don’t get collared.
Relations with Somalian security are at an all time low,this is so against my spiritual principles but i have to watch my back.I walked past him several times today and ignored him,not good behaviour really.

English men take themselves far too seriously and look like they have the whole world on their shoulders maybe they have but foreign blokes have time to be polite.I never thought i would say this but the French are actually very polite and well mannered.

Fat Indian bird arrived at 2pm,I like her she’s sensible and knows the score but has been corrupted by the PLC regarding the fear of the boot.She is very organised and turns up with a bottle of mineral water and flavoured hand cream.The phone went,it was skinny Indian supervisor regarding the refund for the Spanish couple who bought the wrong size SD card that i sold them and cut the packet open.I blamed them and managed to survive another day.Phew,that was close you can’t get anything past this lot.

As i depart for home Sandy Gall bags shouts out “Hi,xxxx how are you today?” “Fine thanks” what a lovely woman.

Something weird happened whilst waiting for the bus home.
A clinically obese Black female aged approx 15 turned around and said,”What are you looking at old man,you are perving me out”

After composing myself for a few seconds I replied “Don’t flatter yourself darling I wouldn’t perve out on you if you were the last woman on earth”.
The banter continued with “Didn’t your mum teach you to show women respect old man?” she continued.
“She obviously didn’t teach you manners” I countered.Bloody hell,i must be starting to show my age but the English brunette with French glamour said i looked 28.

I need a meeting its been a week!!

Thursday 10th June 2010 Day off

Friday 11th June 2010.8am-4pm

Normal weekday shift and arrived 30 minutes early and just sat in the dirty staff room and met a couple of the graveyard shift lads.These fellas work 2am-10am Monday-Friday and put the newspapers and magazines out,they are hardcore Algerians in their mid to late 40’s who you wouldn’t want to take liberties with.I introduced myself and talked about football and let them believe that the England World Cup group is very tough and wide open.

On Fridays,French queen and experienced Somalian don’t work so I was greeted by young Raff,who i have met before, and a jolly stubby Asian boy with big teeth and wide grin.
The jolly Asian has been there a year and is about to complete a degree in computer science and has phenomenally cheesy TPS lines like,”you can eat some chocolate whilst reading your newspapers or magazines” he tries his best though.

There is a music festival on at Donnington Park this weekend and the morning was spent engaging in chat with stereotypical ANZAC’s buying Red Bull and Rizla’s.No sign of English brunette with French glamour.

The day picked up when whinging Chris arrived and we had a pleasant 2 hours working together with him complaining about the job and his ambition is to become a driving instructor.Problem is that its £4k to take the course and qualify,yes that’s a problem if you’re on £7/hr gross and unwilling to work more than the bare minimum.

His world was turned upside down when the boss made a call and told him to go home and get his special red T Shirt advertising half priced books.He came off the phone seething and unleashed a volley of abuse and parted with “see you next week”.

We now have different products to sell at the till.Swiss chocolate,Fruitellas,Chewing Gum and Lucozade shots.
I heard a woman laughing like a witch on her mobile phone with a genuine cackle and thought this sounds promising.I engaged her in conversation at the till and made her laugh again just for me to have a laugh at her laugh if you get the drift.

Every so often you get stereotypical couples and today was no different.He was a Jamews Hewitt lookalike and she was a Sloane Ranger with a Coutts Private Banking debit card.His card didn’t work so he used hers and her only comment was,”where’s the champagne bar?”

I’m becoming ruthless on these TPS’s i caught out of the corner of my eye two absolutely humungous individuals who were ripe for some serious chocolate,sweets and chewing gum.I thought this could send my daily sales figures into Orbit (ha ha ha).It was met with a stonewall no and they bought the currant bun (Sun) and a tiny packet of chewing gum.

The other group I target are stressed out mothers with screaming kids.When they arrive to pay they will do anything to shut the brats up so its”can i interest you in some quality Swiss Chocolate for a pound?”

Fat Indian bird kept me company for the last 2 hours,she’d had 2 hours sleep because of her assignment deadlines for her MBA.

Sandy Gall bags was really bubbly as usual but she’s not an oil painting.

Saturday June 12th 2010.6am – 2pm

Up at 4am with the sun rising across London town and had a lovely walk from Kentish Town to work.It took 45 mins,London early on a weekend morning is a great sight just mini cab drivers,clubbers,and drug addicts on the streets.

The staff room was buzzing,the hardcore Algerian on the night shift was in his usual place with his eyes in a permanent state of closing like a heroin addict who has just had a fix and is in that space between planet earth and outer space.

Off i went to the unit and was paired with jolly Asian, as soon as the doors opened at 6am the crowds were all over us like a cheap suit because of the early train to Paris.A different crowd on weekends more OAP’s and loved up couples living the romantic dream.Lots of hangovers so i started taking the piss out of them by using their fragile mental states to sell them the £1 specials.Stroppy Asian with the whole world on his shoulders started having a go because we had no carrier bags.

At last a Polish blonde arrived to work with me,I’d seen her name on the rota and was curious to see if she was a goer or not.I used to have a Polish girlfriend,who i lived with for far too long and i thought she was the only one who could talk for Poland but this one couldn’t stop talking.

Very thin,blonde,no chest and Sarah Palin glasses but you never know!!
Unfortunately the phone went and she was beckoned elsewhere and off she went never to be seen again.She had a brain on her just got a degree in Business Administration.

The rest of the day was spent with quite possibly the thickest person i’ve ever worked with.Put it this way he normally deals with the newspaper deliveries but today was on the tills,when i said something that made him laugh we kept on punching hands like batsman having a mid pitch conference between overs.Lovely bloke and is a father of a 40 day old girl.

In strode an immaculate blonde with great figure,a tracksuit and shades.”How are you today” I asked.
“I think i’m still pissed from last night,didn’t get to sleep till 6am” she replied in a thick Sheffield accent.
“Maybe some chocolate will bring you round” i quipped.
“I need more than that love” she continued
“We don’t have what you need in store at the moment”
“Nice try darling,i’ve got a train to catch”.

That’s the thing with this job,people come into your life for a short time and then they’re gone.
I get on well with thick Ethiopian because he doesn’t understand anything i say and laughs at everything.

2pm arrived and off i walked into the bright sunlight thinking about the immaculate Sheffield blonde.

Sunday 13th June 2010-

Day off

Monday 14th June 2010-8am – 4pm

Sat in the staff room 15 minutes early and the Algerian gladly informed me that i’m in the biggest unit and i had the pleasure of working with the cockney scrubber.

She’s loud,thick,ugly and has no manners.It was bearable for a few hours because i had slow boy with me and i was pushing him into engaging with the attractive females,he thinks he’s a player but he came up short in that area.

After my break i noticed a well dressed lady from a large company who shall remain nameless.She drew the cockney scrubbber’s attention to a plan of cigarettes which wasn’t being followed.
The scrubber then turned around and thrust the layout plan into my face and said to the well dressed lady “leave it to him he’ll deal with it”.
That was the final straw i said”you need to learn how to behave,you’re obnoxious and badly behaved and completely ignorant”.

She was stunned and came out with the classic line “it’s ok if you don’t like me and i admire your honesty”.I apologised a few minutes later because its a spiritual programme.
Its good though she knows the score now and won’t mess with me again.
2pm the bloke who was present at my induction who we’ll call fat Indian bloke turned up.He is clinically obese and has his own little patch that he stands on and goes about his business with the minimum of effort,”I had you down as a Tory MP for Bexleyheath” he quipped,”with your brains you should know how this whole business works”.

Its steady all the time in the biggest unit just steady all the time.

Tuesday 15th June 8am – 4pm

Looking forward to seeing cockney scrubber to see her reaction but you know these types they don’t care what happens and she’ll never change,what’s that saying? You can only change yourself.
The early shift means that its difficult to achieve good TPS early in the day because people are grumpy first thing especially the MILF’s.

A group of Americans presented lots of Krispy Kreme doughnuts at lunch time and i ventured “having a healthy lunch then guys” one of the girls was sweet with braces and a nice smile.I think i maybe a sex addict because every attractive girl that i serve sends my stomach fluttering.

Driver boy is a good laugh he spent 2 hours with me and he was mightily impressed at my ruthlessness at TPS,the old career stood me in good stead for flogging swiss chocolate,fruitellas and chewing gum.I’ve noticed that the store cupboards behind the tills are dangerously full of stock which for some reason unbeknown to me keeps on getting filled with stuff we don’t sell like shampoo and toothpaste.There could be a compensation angle on the overfull cupboard falling on my head and i take the PLC to court and win a few grand.I’ll look into that tonight.

You see more staff in the big unit because its close to the management offices and all they seem to do is go on fag breaks and wheel in more stock.It was very embarrassing because a lady asked for a gift card and i passed responsibility onto one of the Asian supervisors who couldn’t sort out a task as simple as a gift card,as the customer walked off she could be heard saying “the service is scary”.That says it all,at times this place resembles a disorganised piss up with it somehow all coming together but it always feels as if we’re one step from disaster.Maybe that’s how all these mega PLC retailers work.

A bright spot was the comedian who made it to the final of Britains Got Talent bought the Sun,i sked him if his career had taken off since the final and he replied positively.He was a top bloke with a smile on his face and i thought deserved to win it because his impression of Phil Mitchell was very good.

Wednesday 16th June 2010

The cockney scrubber is eating out of my hand and she has an admirer, he's maintenance for Network Rail and looks a bit simple,he knows her name and clearly fancies her.I questioned her on this and she agreed with me that he's a nice bloke but she doesn't find him attractive.There was a management meeting yesterday and all the supervisors are on the ball this morning.The supervisor i've had this week is a very quiet pleasant bloke but has no personality and absolutely no people skils and that doesn't take into consideration is very poor English.How do these people get these positions?Maybe i could have a rapid career path if i play my cards right.

Obese Indian bloke arrives after lunch and we have a laugh he knows the score but i have to be careful with him because all the management like him.The lottery is a big event on Wednesday's and i am hopeless with the machine and in the end send people away telling them the machine is broken.Big mistake could have got sacked for that.

I'm settling in nicely and its exactly what i need at this stage in my life.I remember the comments of the bloke who interviewed me,"we call the staff at the stations hardcore" how right he is.

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