Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Welcome to my blog and a very happy New Year to you. I hope it's a good one.

Well here in the IRoSB, it's snowing. Our snow was a bit laid back and arrived way after the rest of Shoreham's. It must be feeling a bit guilty now as it's furiously trying to make up for lost time. Tomorrow the kids will be off from school again and it'll be very exciting until you try to get anywhere. Having said that, I bravely battled my way to Holmbush before Christmas so I reckon nothing can stop me now, unless of course, I fancy a little nap.

Having spent the last 6 weeks rising at Sparrow's gasp, I've re-learnt that I can't survive on little sleep. I become all martyrish. When I started the contract, I imagined I'd be like one of those women in novels by Ruth Gaskell and George Elliot. I'd meekly and selflessly go about saving the family from ruin, telling no-one why I'd suddenly taken to early morning drives. The reality was somewhat different. I continually complained about the early starts and touch of arthritis from the chillers, and rather than squirrelling away my paltry earnings, I spent them on the shop floor.

That's the trouble with turning up to work when you should be fast asleep, you believe that the food will look like the photograph. Thank God I never worked in the lingerie department.

Disappointing pork joint aside, I did enjoy my brief flirtation with retail. The staff and customers were great. During Christmas week some had to be reminded that it wasn't a catastrophe if they didn't get their 50 piece party pack, and on the first day of the sales I was astonished when a customer asked if a sales cardigan came with different buttons. Didn't she remember that normal service is suspended during the sales? On sales days there are;

1. stand-offs between buggies and a trolleys
2. people pinch stuff out of other people's trolleys
3. customers strip off to try on clothes.
4. There are queues as long as the London train.
5. Ladbrokes takes odds against you getting the garment you want in the right colour and size.
6. You meet someone like me in knitwear.

It was in knitwear that I encountered the buttons question. Deciding that honesty was the best policy, I cheerfully explained that I'd been drafted over from foods knew precious little about jumper buttons but if she had a question about turkeys, I'd be happy to help. She didn't so we parted company.

Aside from the dreadful hours, (I had to be up at 4.30 each morning y'know) and aching knuckles, I enjoyed it. I admire how M&S has grown from a market stall to a global brand, but sometimes I wanted to give it a shake. It's demoralising to be told en masse that you are unproductive and your work rate will be checked when you all know that the message is only intended for the 3-4 people management aren't prepared to tackle.

Nevertheless it was a pleasure to work at Holmbush and although I would not return unless compelled, that's only because I'd have to forgo my writing and my sleep.

I've met some fascinating people with interesting stories to tell. I wanted to tell those stories as I peered at sell-by dates and froze off my proverbials in the chillers. Writing's for me, not stacking shelves. That's why it's a pleasure to be writing this blog. But you can have too much of a good thing and as I'm still catching up on my sleep, (was up at 4.30am for weeks y'know), it's time to sign off.

I'll see you again next Wednesday and in the meantime take care of yourselves in this fiercesome weather.

No comments:

Post a Comment