Newsagent State of Mind Pt2

Chocolate will make you feel brand new, chewing gum will inspire you. The unglamorous yet intriguing life of a station shop shiftworker.
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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 it's 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 Haribos 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 BBWs 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.

"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!"

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 it's 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 Rizlas. 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 James 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 it's “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.

"One of these BBWs 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."

Sandy Gall bags was really bubbly as usual but she’s no 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 OAPs 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 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.

"I think I may be a sex addict because every attractive girl that i serve sends my stomach fluttering."

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. It's 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”.

It's 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 MILFs.

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 may be 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 it's 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 asked 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.

Missed part one of the PLC Insider? Click here to read it.

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