Thursday 17th June 2010 - Day Off
Friday 18th June 2010. 8am - 4pm
Within moments of arriving my new best friend, the Cockney Scrubber, came over to me even more fearful than usual, "someone from head office is coming to visit..."
That means its all hands to the pump. Suddenly I noticed every senior employee was present and extra staff had been drafted in to cope with the visit of well fed area manager. I saw him on my first week, he's a rotund man with ill fitting suits and a foul temper. The pressure he must be under isn't worth contemplating.
The Algerian was in a dark mood, his shirt was untucked and he was unshaven. He was just ferrying extra products back and forth in wheely cages and was getting more and more angry. He didn't even want to talk about the big game. Tall Indian supervisor who can't say his Vs properly said, "we have a wisit make sure the cigarette counter is full with no gaps."
The King was scurrying back and forth with a trail of supervisors running behind him and fawning to all his needs. Lots of clipboards were being utilised and he was even seen pushing a trolley, that's how serious this visit was. The culture of fear had been increased several notches. Every minute a supervisor was on the scene preening the displays. I worked with a cool graphic design graduate who played the game with the females.
The punters seem to be more tired on Fridays which is understandable with it being the end of the week. The American girls are the easiest victims on the TPS because they are just so up for a laugh and a bit of surrepticious piss taking.
At the end of the day i don't think the visit even took place, I maintain it was just a bluff from head office to get the store looking good. As serious manager told me rather proudly, "we're the highest grossing store in London so they pick us out for visits".
I tried to get some crucial info out of her for tax credits but maybe today wasn't a good idea. My neck has been really hurting me since I've started doing manual work again after a long absence so off to the osteopath after work.
Saturday 19th June 2010 2pm-10pm
After coaching a group of 6 and 7 year old boys I arrived at 2pm and immediately regretted my decision. I knew this would be a very hard shift and they have different staff at weekends but Somalian Security was there and he broke the ice with me on the common ground of the World Cup. It's amazing how unifying football is in any situation.
Now, the weekend staff are a clique of non whites who seem to get a kick out of the fact that they are weekend staff. There is an Asian married woman who dresses immaculately with lots of makeup and appears very jolly and up for a laugh. Then there is a very attractive girl who could be Polish but wears the full Muslim headscarf and has a diamond ring on her wedding finger. I can only assume she married a Muslim and converted because there is no way she was born Muslim.
Tall Indian was there and he asked me if i wanted to work on Sunday. The response was "I need to have a day off to play cricket". I'm trying to arrange a friendly cricket match with his team who play in Ilford and i reckon are quite handy Asians.
"I knew this would be a hard shift but Somalian Security was there and he broke the ice with me on the common ground of the World Cup. It's amazing how unifying football is in any situation."
I haven't really gone into the eating habits of the British population especially the young women. It's normal to see young girls just eat a bag of Gok Yan crisps and have a fizzy drink, they are the ones who are worried about putting on an ounce of weight. Then we have the opposite end of the scale, the fat birds who have doughnuts, crisps and chocolate. This is very worrying in view of the increase in obesity cases in this country. I am genuinely concerned but still don't hold back of TPS when i see a single overweight woman. The dynamic on Saturday is different, the punters are more relaxed but you get a lot more Brits who complain about the extortionate prices for cigarettes. I take pleasure in reminding them it's a bad habit as well as expensive.
There was a very officious weekend Asian supervisor who was on my shift. You know the type, rimless glasses about 30 years old and face never cracked an inch. Fair dues he's trying to do his job properly but once again the culture of fear remains but of course these Asian supervisors are very friendly with the Asian staff. Being a white Brit I felt out of place but the Gay Boy from my interview was there today, seeing him made me feel better. Also, the Bangla Boy from the interview was there, he now calls himself Russell, but we had a good laugh working together until he smashed his head on one of the cash holders but he wore it well.
On a more serious note, I saw one of the female staff sobbing in the staff room. I tried to assist but she didn't want to tell me what was wrong. It transpired that her brother had died. She had to contact serious Indian before leaving work just in case she got the you know what.
The French single girls are really nice especially when I attempt my pigeon French on them but of course they appear briefly and disappear just as quickly.
I can't work this late shift on a Saturday again its too demanding so on Monday I will let them know. Hopefully, I won't get the boot but my good TPS should bail me out.
Monday 21st June 2010.8am - 4pm
Arrived slightly early and was as stiff as a poker. My cricketing exploits yesterday with the bat meant that my muscles had tightened overnight and my mobility was severely impaired.
Things back to normal today, back into the smaller unit where it all began. It was good to see the French Queen and the long serving Somalian. The Algerian was walking around pulling everyone's shirts claiming that was an impression of all the England players in Friday's game. He did this all day. Eventually I told him it's not funny but he still kept on doing it."Why are you pleased with a draw, you will never have a better opportunity of beating England" I said."Our striker hasn't scored for 6 months" he replied."Sounds like Heskey" I replied.
When I start till-work the Queen and the Somalian go into huddles near the fridges and complain about everyone and everything. They are obsessed by cages. These are the large metal variety on wheels that transport the stock around the station. They couldn't stop talking about cages.
"It's normal to see young girls just eat a bag of Gok Yan crisps and have a fizzy drink, they are the ones who are worried about putting on an ounce of weight. Then we have the opposite end of the scale, the fat birds who have doughnuts, crisps and chocolate."
I'm beginning to think that the Queen could be bi-sexual. He has been watching the actions of a Polish blonde and told us that she sometimes buys condoms and could be a "Tom". For those of you who don't understand, Tom = prostitute.
The King surfaced at lunchtime with his assistant trailing after him which is the normal process. She walks with arms folded over her breasts, in fact that's the only way she walks. "It's a stock take today so get all stock out to the front and clear any old supplements from the cupboards. "I put in a serious stint in clearing out the weekend supplements and putting them on the cage. They are very impressive specimens those cages, no-one messes with you when you're wheeling one of those around.
2pm, Fat Indian Bird arrived, she's completed her work for the MBA. She has the largest ear lobes on a woman I have ever seen and of course has the standard hairy lip which glistens with sweat when its busy.
I tried to get some payroll info from the King's assistant but she was too busy with the stock take. I told her it's really important but she wouldn't back down. Another day completed with my sanity intact.
Monday 29th June 2010.8am -4pm
7.30am arrived and the station felt flat, the country is depressed. It's a shame because a good run in the World Cup would have given us a bit of national identity back.
Summoned to the usual berth, French Queen in Belgium for 2 weeks and long serving Somalian is de-mob happy. There's a new deal today and its quite complex in terms of the till operations and everyone is panicking.
"Do me a favour they are very busy in the large unit please go there for the rest of the day", the Algerian grunted.
Now that's a result, reunited with the Cockney Scrubber and an opportunity to work with a company legend, the hooded Gooner. Hooded because he's so knackered he slouches at the till with his eyes half closed. But he's a gooner so i wasted no time in telling him we bat for the same side. This guy even knows more than i do about the Arsenal. He knew that the Nigerian isn't buying Lady Nina Bracewell Smith's stake and apparently Eduardo is off to Lyon. However, he is a big cynic of life.
"Private doctors are butchers" he wailed.
"My nephew nearly died and we're suing them" he continued.
"The World Cup has been good for Arsenal because all the players will be back for pre-season on time apart from RVP."
The King was very agitated today because the new deal wasn't working properly and he was probably getting pressure from head office. The King's assistant was under severe pressure as well and of course that filtered down to all of us.
The Ginger Ginster arrived, he is the man from Ginster's who produce all the pies. We do a reasonable trade in packaged pies.
I then made a mistake which could have resulted in the boot.
This guy from Ginsters was an absolute classic nerd, a cross between Jasper Carrott and spoke like a paedophile.
" I need someone to sign for the Ginsters" he demanded.
"I'm beginning to think the Queen could be bi-sexual. He has been watching the actions of a Polish blonde and told us she buys condoms and could be a "Tom". For those of you who don't understand, Tom = prostitute."
"Ok I'll do it" i replied enthusiastically.
We walked over to the fridge and he had a large box of Ginster's and one of those gadgets that couriers make you sign.
"Ok I'll count you check the list" he said.
"4 chicken and mushy pies, 3 steak lattice, 6 Cornish, 5 steak and onion...." he loved it. This bloke is made for counting pies. I signed the remote gadget and thought nothing of it. We were short staffed and the Slim Indian Cricketer was showing signs of a sub conscious melt down.
"Who signed for the Ginsters" The King demanded.
I ran over to the fridge and saw all the Ginster's in a box on the floor in 30 degree heat. I shoved them in the relevant sections and off i went. Still no break and 5.5 hours into the shift.
" Why did you sign for the Ginsters" the king said aggressively.
"Tell me the exact process with the ginger Ginster".
"He counted the pies and I signed for them but realised that they weren't put back into the fridge just now" I replied confidently.
"Right you aren't qualified to deal with the Ginsters, you've had no pie training" he said straight faced.
"No-one tells me anything, however i'm sorry i won't touch the Ginster's again" i ventured.
"He's had us over" the King told me.
20 minute break because i'm a team player and i like the Slim Indian Cricketer and he scored a century yesterday.
At 2pm my day got a whole lot better. The Asian Babe who i had clocked last week joined me for the final 2 hour slot. I'd been very curious about her and couldn't believe my luck.
I introduced myself and started the standard banter of all members of staff.
"What are your hours, how long have you been here etc etc".
She is about 20 years old, 5'4, immaculately dressed with long black hair and an ample young firm bosom and has brains.
She was complaining about her feet hurting so I suggested a pair of gel heel inners and inner soles. She liked that. The area behind the till is very narrow so we bumped into each other a few times. I told her my career plans and she told me hers (medicine) and foolishly told her i had 2 kids!
The Fat Indian arrived and winked at me in the normal way. The new deal was becoming a fiasco. Asian Babe had a problem executing the instructions and it took the King and 4 cohorts 20 minutes to give a punter a refund and people wonder why the level of service has declined dramatically over the last 15 years.
I looked at the till it was 4pm,the afternoon had flown by.
"Have a nice evening" she said.
"Its been a pleasure working with you and hopefully we're working together tomorrow" i replied.
Tuesday 29th June 2010.8am - 4pm
8.20pm the phone rang in the small unit."How many staff are there at the moment mate?" the Algerian had spoken.
"Too many" i replied manipulatively.
Ok go to the other unit please, the first part of the plan had worked. Get myself into the big unit so i can work with the Asian babe later.
I joined the Legend at the till and today's theory was, "If i win the lottery I will buy my own club and sack all the players" he said.
"Who would you play instead?" I enquired.
"'Right you aren't qualified to deal with the Ginsters, you've had no pie training' he said straight faced."
"Fill the team with hungry youngsters, they'll do the business" he replied with certainty.
He makes ridiculous jokes with the punters to try and get them to buy the TPS.
"Its pay day tomorrow i will buy up all the chocolate so save some for me" he attempted.
I have noticed how he gives a sly look to female bottoms when they turn and walk away from the till. The Cockney Scrubber, since the incident, is very friendly but still piss ignorant.
The King's assistant gave me the information i have been waiting a week for and i sorted out next weeks hours because i've got lots of other stuff going on.
A flashily dressed black man strolled up to the till wearing a £25,000 Breitling and one of those high fashion T shirts.
"20 Marlboro Lights please" he requested.
I knew he looked like William but couldn't be sure. His face is more pockmarked than Manuel Noriega and Nico Claesen. He pulled out a large footballer's wad and paid with a crisp tenner.
The next punter remarked that the previous bloke looked like a French footballer and found £30 on the counter.
The punter gave me the money and I left it on the till. My mind started playing tricks with me like it used to back in the day when my behaviour was defective.
That money would come in useful, I thought.
When the legend finished i pocketed the cash and totally forgot about the CCTV!
2pm Asian Babe appeared and looked a little bit under the weather, "How are you today" I enquired.
She was wearing a black dress with a tight large buckled black belt and I reckon is totally unaware of how attractive she is.
"I've got a belly ache" she said.
"is it something you have eaten?".
"No" she replied.
"Women's stuff?" I ventured.
"Yes" she continued.
"Time of the month is it, you know Holland and Barrett do starflower and agnes castus which is very good" I said.
We then had an exchange about PMT and how it affects her. How we started having a chat about her PMT after knowing each other for about 4 hours was weird.
I made a decision that I would hand over £20 and keep £10,therfore putting the whole job at risk over a tenner.
The management all disappeared for a meeting and when Sandy Gall Bags appeared I gave her the £20 and told her the story behind it. However,she noticed i had another note in my pocket.
10 mins later the Slim Indian Cricketer called me into the staff room for a chat.
"What else have you got in your pocket" he squirmed.
I felt my mouth going dry and my eyes darting from side to side.
"I have £10 of my own money" I stammered.
"Do you know that you aren't allowed to carry any money on your person" he continued.
"I had no idea that was company policy" I lied.
He wrote out a file note in poorly spelt English which I signed.
That was too close for comfort. The wind had been knocked out of my sails and I continued the rest of my shift very sheepishly.
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