Friday, 21 August 2009

It's here.

The Christmas cards arrived today. At the first glimpse of those ominous cardboard boxes, I turned into a crabby and irritable humbug. The poor DHL man. Though I'd have had a little more sympathy for him if he'd actually helped carry the boxes through to the stockroom, rather than dumping them by the back door and watching me and another spindly female member staff cart them up the stairs.

16 boxes of Christmas cards. 16! In August. Ye, we have to put them out right away. We were meant to have the sale cards out already, but I've been quietly ignoring them for the last couple of weeks in the hope that no one would notice. My area manager has been in twice and not said anything, so the plan seems to be working.

The giftware arrives on Wednesday. By a cunning and entirely unpremeditated (I kid ye not!) coincidence, I am going on holiday for a week, starting Wednesday.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Stalker alert!

A customer has attempted to 'friend' me on Facebook.

A month or so ago he came in and asked what my surname was so he could look me up on there. I politely declined, but it seems he has persisted with the plan anyway.

Needless to say I not only ignored the request but proceeded to remove all personal information (including my work details) from my profile and veto my appearance in searches even more stringently.

It's definitely time to leave.

The not-so-great unwashed

I'm not a person particularly given to washing too frequently, but there are limits. We have numerous unwashed and generally stinking customers, some of whom are regulars, some of whom are shoplifters (sadly these are mostly drug addicts and alcoholics), and some of whom are disabled in which case they are exonerated from perdition due to it being no fault of their own. This kind of goes for old people too. There's one old man, a frequent browser and occasional purchaser, who smells like death. I don't mean that in a comparative sense, I mean it in a literal sense.

The crux of this post.

Due to the above, I expect to have to spray the shop periodically with perfume or air freshener (products normally abhorrent to myself), especially after a visit from one of the above. Yesterday I checked the fitting room for hangers after a suspicious-looking female tried on two pairs of trousers and a blouse (I couldn't tell if she'd come out with the same number of items as she'd gone in with). No hangers, but a powerful and inhuman smell pervaded the cubby. A quick squirt of 'clean linen', no problem.

About half an hour later, one of my volunteers comes into the office grimacing, gingerly holding a pair of urine-soaked jeans out at arms length. She said she'd smelt wee by the trouser rail and then found them on the floor. My suspicions about the woman were confirmed. The swap job is a common phenomenon, finding that some nice person has taken an item of ours and left their own minging trousers/tshirt/jumper in its place, but usually we are at least spared this much! At least I can recognise her next time and bar her. Often I'm not so lucky!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

They're in my brain...

Last night I was dreaming about shoplifters. I just can't get away from them! And I didn't remember the dream until I got to work and started rotating the dresses - the armful of clothing sparked a flashback. I'd found a huge pile of empty hangers in the fitting room and then I discovered one of our known shoplifters with stock shoved up his jumper - but not just a little bit of stock, he looked like the michelin man with all the stuff he'd got. And then he denied that he'd taken anything.

Bizarre. Well, it would be if such happenings didn't occur on an almost daily basis (thankfully on a smaller scale!).

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Grindstones, millstones, and so on

Whilst these days for the most part I do a lot of whinging about how I have to get out of this goddamn shop, how endless it seems, etc, etc - yesterday I had a small revelation. Well, not a reveltion per se, because it's something I've known/felt for a long time, but lack of perspective seemed to have buried it somewhere.

How do people spend their whole lives mindlessly and soullessly slogging their guts out? Excepting the lucky few, the majority of the 'developed' world work 9-5, 5 days a week, about 340 days a year for nearly 50 years. And mostly in jobs less interesting than mine. Caged like battery hens in offices and call centres, with people they don't really care about, doing things they don't really care about. When did this become normal, acceptable and, in fact, expected? And why, more to the point, whilst everyone complains about it and fantasises about, to quote Lester Burnham, a life that doesn't so closely resemble hell, anyone who actually puts these fantasies into action is labelled lazy, peculiar, having a crisis, or 'terribly alternative' (thanks mum). Even my job is perceived by many as terribly alternative, despite the regular hours, salary and near-corporate whoredom.

Remembering this (which I have been keen to avoid since the dim realisation of what lay before me in the misty realms of Adulthood and Responsibility) has made my current line of employment seem entirely more pleasant. For the time being, at any rate.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Monday morning mountains

To the generous person who left the vast pile of (extremely heavy) bags outside my shop some time before 9.05am this morning:

Thank you for improving my Monday morning experience. The best way to start your week is by scraping sodden and filthy items off the street... Not only could I barely open the door for the mountain in front of it, but the bags were a) so heavy I couldn't lift them, b) partly split and strewn across the pavement from the usual bunch of rummagers and c) FULL OF RUBBISH!!!

Childs potty, anyone? Mangy old car seat? Box of crappy plastic £1 shop hangers? Hacksaw? Thought not. Later on when I came to sort through the bags I discovered why they were so heavy - the clothes were sodden. And stinking. God knows where they'd been, but I can tell you, once you've smelt rotting textiles you'll never forget it. Almost akin to that sweet, fetid smell rotten chicken gives off.

I can only hope that the passers-by who see me almost daily performing this task (generally worst on a Monday though, due to our being shut on a Sunday) are inspired to not repeat the folly of the guilty party.