Tuesday, April 07, 2009


A fair few moons ago I was working in a shop in Ealing.
It was one of those ill-fated shops that sold hippy-trippy crystals, whale song and rain forest music, candles, tarot cards, and a whole load of other stuff that people generally buy for family and friends when they're stumped for ideas and can't afford anything from M&S.

The main reason it was ill-fated was that it was run by people who had no business acumen whatsoever and employed management with the personalities and nous of your average sherbet dip, but other than that, it was an alright place to work for a while.

Thinking about it, there were some really fun times, such as the day the bailiffs came in to close the store down and the manageress had a panic attack and had to hide in the loo while I made the bailiffs a cuppa, called head office, and managed to get the nasty men with the repossession order to go away for another three weeks or so, so that me and the rest of the staff could carry on getting paid until the end of the month, and the time the security alarm instructed us that there was a bomb alert in the shopping centre and we were under instruction to quickly scan the store and report anything unusual before preparing to evacuate, and I called the centre management to tell them that we'd had two customers in the store the whole day and one had only come in to ask where M&S was.*

Oh, and there was also the time that Christoper Ryan came in and I 'think' flirted a bit with me, and also the time they fired me because they thought I was stealing from them but I wasn't, which they realized when the thefts continued but too late, I'd gone wishing them bad luck after the way they treated me and they finally closed down after another three weeks.

Ah yes, happy days.

But this story is about one of the times the manageress was off work, and as I was the oldest and had the most experience, the other girls working in the shop decided that I was in charge.
It was on a Monday, and I'd had the weekend off while the rest of the staff got ready for a sale which was to start that day.
All the stock had been counted and signs and stickers had been written out and stuck onto the sale items by the manageress and the bods from HO.
As per usual, I was the first one there and after waiting twenty minutes or so for the manageress to turn up to let me in, I at last began to start doing something useful rather than lurking outside the shop and watching Noel Edmonds glare menacingly at the Mr Blobby display of merchandizing tat in the card store opposite.

The day was even more dull than usual; barely any customers came into the store, and those that did caught a whiff of the honeysuckle and parsnip incense which sent them straight back into the fresher scent of happy shopper.

I'd been keeping myself amused by taking a stock check of the overpriced pebbles crystals, when an officious looking man coughed loudly at one of the girls who were gathered together by the essential oils, and demanded to see the person in charge.
As they'd decided that I was the person to talk to when the management were AWOL, they sent Mr Snotty over to me whereupon he introduced himself as one of the partners in the company.
After I checked his ID and confirmed who he was with HO, he told me there was a problem in the store and asked me if any of us had a brain between us.
Fighting the urge to tell him to go fuc answer back, I asked him what was wrong, whereupon he showed me a sign that someone had written informing customers that the organic-tofu-and-rhino-dung writing sets were at half price, had been spelled incorrectly.
Glaring at me as if I was to blame, he pointed at the sign that read in big red letters, 'Stationary!'
I looked at the sign, then looked back at him and replied

"Is it moving?"

Officious twat = stuck for words?


*It was next door.