Newsagent State Of Mind Part 7

It's a miserable old time at the PLC, the Afghan's back is screwed and the Algerian is suffering from fasting. Thank god for the passing American women.
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Friday 6th August 2010. 6am-2pm

As I entered the station I saw one of the boys pushing a cage full of newspapers and he said "You look younger every time I see you, what’s your secret?"

"Lots of exercise, no drinking, no smoking, and lots of sex" I replied.

I was banished to the small unit at 6am where I was joined by: The female Terry Thomas, Slow boy and Actor Dave.

Terry Thomas was only with me for an hour before The Algerian moved her to another unit. Slow boy did his usual thing which was unload the sandwiches and smoothies, prepare a list, go to the stock room, bring the stock back on a standard issue cage and then distribute the products. He returned at 10.18am.

The Friday early morning business was steady but manageable which gave me time to prepare an impressive selection of TPS on my section.

More importantly actor Dave was with me for the first time since I began work at the PLC.

We discussed several important subjects such as, French women, fake tan, sun beds, single English women and obesity.

When one has the pleasure of working with slow boy and actor Dave one has to have patience and tolerance because they haven't got a brain cell between them.

Once again the actor was making "arrrgh" noises when faced with tricky punters and under pressure. In all the time I have been at the PLC I haven't seen him have one conversation with a female.

He told me that he maybe moving back to Norwich with his parents soon which is where he was born.

"How long have you been working here?" I asked the actor.

"3 years in October" he answered.

"You need to get out mate and move on with the rest of your life,” I countered

"Aaarrgh" he grunted.

I intentionally tried very hard today to try and help the actor learn how to engage in conversations with members of the opposite sex.

I told him that if I was single and much younger I would be in utopia. The sheer volume of females that we meet every day, albeit for a short time, would result in at least a few dates.

I showed him the way and told him to look at their wedding ring fingers and assess the shop to see if there is a boyfriend/husband hovering in the unit.

Ensure that you greet them with "Hello, how are you today?" or "Bonjour, comment allez vous?” Of course the French greeting can only happen if you are certain they are le Francais.

"Once the ice has been broken you can then ask them whether they are travelling or on their way to work. If they are still talking at this stage then you're in with a chance,” I explained.

It must have worked because a miracle took place, within 2 hours he was talking to women for the first time in his life. I sense of fatherly pride engulfed me.

On Friday's the Algerian loses the plot. He has worked so hard all week and by the time we reach the end of the week he becomes increasingly abusive to the staff. He went on the Tills today which were a first and I had a good laugh watching him trying to show us how to undertake successful TPS with an Algerian accent and 4 days growth.

He knew I was taking the piss out of him but he was in a different world by now. They called me back into the big unit for a final 2-hour blitz. It was manic, the King was even behind a till at one point dealing with a problem. He may be incredibly rude but he is very calm under pressure and deals with problems methodically.

2pm was here and off I went passing the evening crew and exchanging brief pleasantries.

On Friday's the Algerian loses the plot. He has worked so hard all week and by the time we reach the end of the week he becomes increasingly abusive to the staff.

The mobile went at 5.35pm and it was the King "Hi, i was hoping to catch up with you after your shift. You know how you always work Saturday's but you're not down to work this Saturday can you work tomorrow?" he requested.

"I've made plans already sorry I can't help you" I replied.

The King only talks to us if he wants something, that’s his management style.

Monday 9th August 2010.6am - 2pm

There are lots of staff away at the moment and somehow I found myself volunteering to "do" the magazines.

That involves cages and serious physical graft. I distributed hundreds of magazines ranging from Vogue to the Investors Chronicle. It was a good opportunity to have a look at the hundreds of titles that the PLC stocks. Every taste is catered for from Tattoo addicts to Wine buffs.

This task took approximately 5 hours and part of the process is to remove the out of date publications. Once the returns are dealt with they have to be boxed up and labelled.

Gay boy was on board with me today in the big unit and he's on the level. We had a ball today. For an 18-year-old kid he is very well read and seems totally different from most teenagers. He watches old shows like Blackadder and is a budding journalist.

The cockney scrubber was also present but she was snowed under with 12 skips of books to distribute.

At around 11.30am the big Pakistani unit who runs the stock room handed us a box of Crest toothpaste. The tubes weren't travel size they were the size you find in Morrison’s. Gay boy collapsed in a fit of laughter which lasted 5 minutes. He found the whole situation very amusing that the PLC sells toothpaste even though Boots is 2 doors away.

He was fascinated by the size of the tubes which could last every holiday for the rest of your life.

The rank curry I consumed at "Curry Asia" last night was repeating on me and I had to run to the WC for a rapid clear out.

Business was steady and time was flying by. A squat muscular Yank arrived at the till with a Citicorp credit card to settle a £15 bill. Gay boy tried to process the payment but couldn't do it. He called me in for assistance and even with manual input of the numbers it was "declined".

"I'm from the US military and they have given me an allowance for 3 days of travelling" he said.

"Unfortunately, the card has been declined on several occasions and I suggest you contact the issuing bank" I replied. As Uncle Sam walked away sheepishly, Gay boy remarked "Is this how the US military treat their soldiers?"

She was actually attractive in a strange way. Ample bosom, dark hair, early 20's,big booty and child-bearing hips. Her personality was attractive.

The King was buzzing today and he summoned me for a meeting, my stomach turned over. I thought I had been rumbled. It was a chat to confirm my working hours for the previous 2 weeks.

I finished at 2.05pm and went to meet HID to collect the keys for our new abode.

Tuesday 10th August 2010.10am - 4pm

An unusual start time today but needed the lie in after the 6am starts.

The Algerian is in serious physical pain, his back is crumbling under the stress of the job and excess weight but he still soldiers on for his £7.50/hr. I have been trying to help him by suggesting exercises and strengthening techniques.

I was given a skip of paperbacks to distribute in the small unit. Ginger nut was there and he congratulated me on the writing. He is a budding journalist so I took the compliment as genuine. After that menial task and covering his break I was unleashed in the large unit.

That means cockney scrubber and a fringe member of the Pakistani mafia for company. The Mafioso is clueless; he needs to be told what to do every step of the way. When the tills are quiet he stands there doing nothing. The key to running a tight ship is to utilise quiet moments by tidying up behind the tills, preparing a tobacco order, checking the floats in all tills, ensuring the security register is signed.

I ushered him into the unit and forced him into physical graft. He always brings his own gloves. I took over the tills and was in a TPS mood. It’s Galaxy, Skittles and Starbursts this week. They are a good combination for easy sales. The obese punters lap them up; it’s like giving candy to a baby.

The Algerian revealed to me a shocking fact today. The PLC doesn't pay for 95% of the stock. I have always known that newspapers, magazines and books are on sale or return but at the PLC most products are. In fact the suppliers pay us to stock their products. What an incredible business this is. They don't shell out any cash and just sit back and get fat on the sales.

Last month we made £131,00 net profit in our units. Now I know what they discuss in their management meetings. They had one of those today. Sandy Gall bags, the slim Indian cricketer and The Algerian were present.

A bouncy American girl responded enthusiastically to my, "Heehaw are you?"

"I'm fantastic, how are you?" she replied eagerly.

"Do you fancy a Galaxy with your Vogue" I pressed.

"Yes, why not I’ve got lots of change to spend" she answered foolishly

"I think you could do with a packet of Skittles and a Starburst" I went for the kill.

She was actually attractive in a strange way. Ample bosom, dark hair, early 20's,big booty and child-bearing hips. Her personality was attractive.

She was on her way to Paris for 3 days with a friend. The friend purchased some postcards and unfortunately it looked like they could have been a pair of Dick Van Dykes".

The unusual shift time meant that I overlapped with the evening crew including Rasta boy, the DJ, Bollywood Princess, fat Indian bird.

Fat Indian bird had phoned in ill. The supervisors were concerned that they would be short staffed for a change. Then at 2pm I saw her arrive for work with a walk that resembles a hunchback. She had a bad back probably caused by overeating and lack of exercise. The King failed to call her back earlier in the day and therefore made her feel guilty about taking time off. Furthermore, she soldiered on without knowing that they had already replaced her with a last minute stand in. What did she expect? We're just a number with no meaning.

I spent the last 2 hours replenishing the big unit with drinks and sweets.

Off I went to meet the Lithuanian builders at our new abode.

Wednesday 11th August 2010.10am-4pm

Trying to arrange decorators whilst working at the PLC isn't an easy task, in fact it’s exhausting.

The first duties of the day were "break covering”. That means I act as a trouble-shooter and relieve staff to allow them to take their breaks.

So first up was my favourite unit where I covered the breaks for the French Queen and the Algerian albino with the severe facial ticks.

I held all the punters at bay until 7am,when the albino Algerian with the facial ticks surfaced.

Business was steady but when they move you around from unit to unit its difficult to build up any momentum and any TPS enthusiasm. The Algerian asked me if I could stay an extra 2 hours because Fat Indian bird was ill again. Probably a bad back caused by obesity.

Actor Dave was on the books upstairs making his usual "aaarrrgh" noises and I’ve noticed he also says "yes" all the time. He answers every question and ends every conversation with a "yes".

I gave him a hand, which enabled him to complete his book change without working too late. Every Wednesday he finishes late because The Algerian will give him a bollocking if he fails to complete the task.

Finally, I was sent to the big unit where I was with Bollywood for a while. She is definitely going back to university in January to finish her paramedic degree.

She is going to be measured for her uniform and I passed a comment about how nurse’s uniform is much nicer. She giggled and then started complaining about her feet again. Its so refreshing to meet a girl who is so green and naive and not well used like a lot of young women seem to be.

The last hour was spent replenishing the tourist section with London keyrings and St George mini football boot keyrings.

Thursday 12th August 2010. 6am - 12pm

Spiritually refreshed from H & I service, I arrived 30 minutes early and just sat down outside the station watching the sprawling metropolis come to life.

Ramadan started yesterday so both Algerians are partaking and when I saw the Algerian's face at 6.20am I knew this was going to be a tough day.

I held all the punters at bay until 7am,when the albino Algerian with the facial ticks surfaced.

He is a big unit and a smoker so appears to be really suffering with the fasting. I was feeling resentful towards the Algerian today, maybe it’s the cultural differences surfacing again.

I volunteered to do the replenishment in order to give the albino a breather due to his lack of solids. Admittedly, it was a sparse list I prepared and it lacked my usual precision.

When i arrived back at the unit the albino took a phone call from the Algerian.The contents of the call are vague but basically he saw me arrive with the cage and it was a "crap pick" according to the albino.

That was it, i was furious at the Algerian telling the albino that it was a "crap pick".When he arrived in the unit he stood in the middle and looked in an exagerated manner at all the shelvesd with an angry look on his face.

"Why don't you be a man and tell me to my face it was a "crap pick" I began.

"Hold on a minute, I am a man and i'm not scared of you" he replied eyeball to eyeball.

We continued outside the unit and i told him that if he has a problem he should speak to me directly not his fellow Arab.

It was now getting personal and I realised i needed to rein this in otherwise I could get sacked on the spot.

"I asked the albino to do the pick and he failed to carry out the instructions. He was asked to do it because you have never done a pick in this unit before" he replied.

"I'm sorry for being rude to you but I didn't know you asked him to do it" I countered sheepishly.
That was that end of story but I was pleased that I stood up for myself because he does bully a lot of staff and I've laid a marker down now. At the same time,i felt him watching me closely for the rest of the shift, looking for ways to have me over.

The cash office rotweiller is back from Bangladesh and he is upto his usual rude tricks like not saying hello when he walks past.The king was interviewing staff this morning who were mainly Asian. I was listening to his interview techniques whilst pretending to work on some stock near his offices. He was coming out with complete bullshit and telling the poor buggers that training is really important to the company.

His assistant is still away but when I was in the office speaking to the King about my hours he was on the phone to her berating her for making a mistake with the rota.

He was calling her "mate".

Rasta boy was late again, they let him cruise in 15 minutes late every day without disciplinary action.

Big day ahead after work to deal with the Lithuanian decorators who I'm worried will shaft me.

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