Monday, 29 August 2011

4 Alarms and 39 Missed Calls Later and I'm Raring To Go.

Another blog and it has only been 9 days since the last one - who am I anymore?! Do not panic though (I know all of you were), I am still the queen of procrastination. In fact, in writing this blog entry I am actually putting off the tidying of my bedroom, which has been a giant mass of clothes and banana peels for the last three weeks and is probably now home to a variety of new parasites. Instead of cleaning though, I have just decided to start eating fruit with an edible rind and re-wearing the clothes that are already on the floor, all the while trying to convince myself that it is, in some way, a form of recycling. (I am aware that it is not).

Work has been incredibly slow-paced this week (I know, how fast-paced can a deli really be? You'd be surprised) so I have mainly been spending my time practicing my ambidexterity whilst writing Eat Today labels and seeing if the ticket machine remote control can work from inside the fridge. It's a walk in fridge, by the way, just in case anyone thought I was some kind of freakishly small and freakishly flexible being that had the ability to get into an average size fridge, which I'll admit I am now tempted to try. Thankfully, I am incredibly skinny, so this should not be a problem..

Although I regularly get told that I talk too much whilst working, a customer the other day told me I had exceptionally good manners. I think a lot of people tend to confuse good manners and politeness with Mystery Shopper Paranoia, which I am a victim of at least three times a day. I'm starting to think I maybe have some underlying trust issues - as soon as a customer asks any kind of question about our produce, I am immediately alert and on the ball with all these suspicious thoughts flying around in my head, "why are you asking that? No one cares that much about meat, DID SOMEONE PUT YOU UP TO THIS?!" Instead of firing accusations, however, I keep calm and proceed to be as polite and obsessively helpful as is possible without making myself look like a creep (a battle I fight most days, to be honest). Knowing my luck, the mystery shopper will have been the woman I served whilst having a laughing fit and telling one of my colleagues that she bears an uncanny resemblance to Po from Teletubbies...

This week hasn't just been fun and games in the deli though, oh no. I have had three days off since my last blog, during which I have welcomed my old university lifestyle of getting spectacularly drunk with open arms. Friday night consisted of Lauren and Kelly's 21st birthday celebrations where I got very drunk but thankfully managed to stay respectful and did not attempt to grab the microphone from their parents as they were making a speech, something I attempted during my mother's speech at my sister's 18th birthday party where, thankfully, I was restrained and minimal damage was done. I also went out on Saturday night with Megan and some people from work which is somewhat more of a blur apart from a vague memory of being lifted into a taxi and sent home. Respectful, as ever. I paid for it the next morning though as I managed to sleep through all four of my alarms and 39 (39!) telephone calls from my father trying to wake me up, only succeeding when he rang Kezia and had her come and kick me out of bed and into work.

During my days off I also ventured back into Bradford city centre, which was as wonderful as ever. Within 100 yards of my house I had already witnessed a woman screaming "I HOPE TO FUCKING GOD YOU FALL!" as her small child ran full pelt away from her with a Satanic look in his eyes (no doubt inherited from mother dearest) and a bus driver shouting, "Oi! Tosser! Go back to your own country!" at a man from Denmark who was refused from the bus after trying to pay an 80p fare with a £50 note - the driver then gave me a look as if to say, "hey, nothing wrong with a little bit of casual racism on a Sunday morning!" I gave him a look back which I think said something along the lines of, "I disagree, but the next bus isn't for another hour, so I'm just going to stare at you and then sit down silently".

After a few more sightings of racist numbskulls and profane parents, I headed back home and spent the rest of the day Googling song lyrics after being unfairly mocked because I used to think that the Tracy Chapman song Fast Car said: "your arms and legs wrapped 'round my shoulders". I  remember wondering as a child how that could be possible, especially sat in a car, until someone corrected me and told me that what it actually said was: "your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulders". An easy mistake to make. I started to wonder what else I had misheard after realising that the Toto song Africa probably didn't say: "I guess it rains down in Africa" when, quite clearly, it does not.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Unexplained Riots in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds... - They Probably All Just Got Ticket Machines

Work has been relatively interesting this week, mainly due to the arrival of our new ticket system. Not such a big deal, I know, but to the hoards of 70 year olds that make up the majority of our customers, it is a huge change - and not a welcome one. Despite the thoughts of whoever decided to install this chaotic new addition to my life, it does not work well. Instead of simply shouting out the numbers to have an obliging customer stroll up to the counter with matching ticket, it mainly consists of all of us running up and down the counter shouting, "are you number 53? Are you number 53? Who's got 53?" only to find that the next ticket is actually 64 due to the fact that a hoard of annoying children have walked past the machine, each in turn taking a ticket and then proceeding to laugh as they watch the entire deli staff fall to pieces. The customers are not taking well to it either - the first couple of people I told were so outraged that some of them actually bypassed the counter altogether, mumbling angrily to themselves about how they only wanted a pork pie anyway and deciding that the strenuous task of taking a ticket from the machine would be too high a price to pay for one. Then there are the "well, it wasn't there last week!" people, who continue to stare blankly at you as if expecting a full account of how, when, and why this annoyance appeared in their lives. After the tenth person to say this, I was strongly resisting the urge to snap, "well it's there now" and stare just as blankly back. I refrained, however, as I felt it would be treading on thin ice after having already been told off by the manager once that week already. I was hauled into the office and told that I am spending too much time talking and telling stories and it would be appreciated if I 'calmed down' a little bit and basically wound my neck in. I don't think my internal argument that I was just trying to raise morale would have been appreciated. (To be fair, the other day I did spend 15 minutes off counter talking to the person running the children's bun decorating table and playing with the helium balloon machine, so I can sort of see where they're coming from). I did feel a bit like a naughty school kid when I got told off though - even more so when I got home later in the week to find my mother fuming over the fact that I had dyed my hair red in her newly decorated bathroom. I didn't get a speck of it anywhere, but apparently The Great Hairdye Disaster of '09 is still fresh in her mind. (This basically consisted of my sister running down the stairs to get a snack mid-hairdye, consequently dotting my mother's cream staircase with various blotches of colour. We then spent the next week trying to concoct a story strong enough to ensure we avoided any punishment. Given that one of the contenders was to cut out cardboard monster feet and place them all the way up the stairs to my mother's bedroom, strategically covering hairdye stains in the process, it is safe to say that this did not work.) I got my comeuppance though - I was washing my hair last night and momentarily forgot I had dyed it, thus when I looked down at all the red in the bath I had a sudden panic attack and thought I was hemorrhaging.

I have a day off work tomorrow (finally) and I am worryingly excited about going somewhere, anywhere, that does not involve ham, cakes or pasties. The other day I saw a sign saying Home Sweet Home and for one terrifying moment I read it as Home Roast Ham. I think this definitely calls for a day off, even if I am only spending it by going to the bank and then hastily buying birthday presents for Lauren and Kelly for their birthday (obviously) next week. I'm excited to go out and get drunk for it, something I have missed dearly since leaving university. Saying that though, I did go on a pub crawl last week with some people from work, which was good fun. I'm going to have to learn to get used to drinking in places without hoards of students though - I've realised that using your elbows to get to the bar is only acceptable in places like the Student Union and tends to be frowned upon elsewhere. It was a good night though, although I did wake up in the morning wearing a pair of slipper socks I've not seen since I was about seven years old. I couldn't understand what was happening at first when my feet were sticking to the kitchen floor (they're those slipper socks with grips on the bottom) and for one horrifying moment I thought maybe I had urinated on the floor in a drunken haze. Thankfully not though, and just for the record, I have never done that. Not in the kitchen, anyway.

Friday, 5 August 2011

If you see a tramp sat in a pub in Chester playing with a pack of porn star cards, wearing a green cardigan and a Primark bra and brandishing a HSBC letter addressed to myself, claiming to be me - it isn't.

Well, haven't I had a laborious week? The answer to that is most definitely a yes, beginning with me and my housemates attempting to empty and clean our entire house in the space of half a day. (We did originally have a whole day, but we wasted the morning fannying around complaining, then decided we'd had enough and went to McDonalds leaving us with just a few short and stressful hours in the afternoon to complete our task). Over the course of the day, many items that should probably not have been hoovered up ended up being so, thus by the time my turn came to use it I found myself sat on my bedroom floor speaking words of encouragement to our little Henry whilst picking up various small items and feeding them into the nozzle. In hindsight, I could have just thrown said bits away, but my bin was downstairs soaking in the bath and I felt that given it was my last night in the house a little bit of ingenuity in the name of laziness was a fitting tribute to the way I have lived for the past 3 years. (I don't know why I thought leaving university would make me less lazy - I found myself nursing a hangover in bed the other morning whilst trying to will it away with brain power instead of having to go downstairs for some paracetamol).

At least someone benefited from our house clean though - after all the work was done we went into the alley at the back of our house to find that all the bin bags we'd put out earlier had been ripped to shreds by someone we assume to be a tramp. Naturally, most of the stuff was mine and as such a variety of items ranging from old bank statements to a pack of porn star playing cards Megan bought in first year (don't ask) were strewn all over for the whole world to see. As me and my housemates stood staring at a collection of my bras and knickers, I started to regret throwing out the bag of laundry that had been under my bed for a year. Apparently the tramp was pleased though as when we went back to check later a cardigan and two bras were missing from the pile (and probably a few bank statements, too), so if you see a tramp sat in a pub in Chester playing with a pack of porn star cards, wearing a green cardigan and a Primark bra and brandishing a HSBC letter addressed to myself, claiming to be me - it isn't.

I had one last day of freedom with Jayne during which we went to see Harry Potter and then I was back to laboring as I began a horrid 59 hour week at work. I am only into day 5 and already my feet hurt and my body feels like how I would imagine an over-worked coal miner's would. (That is probably a bit dramatic - I don't even do that much work, I spend most of my time walking from the deli counter to the walk-in fridge or going for a wee because I am bored). I have found, however, that now I've finished university a lot of people expect me to be doing something incredibly interesting, or at least more interesting than selling pork pies, anyway. The other day a woman from down my road came in and asked me what I was doing now - I must admit, I did feel a bit of a tit handing her some ham and just saying, 'erm... this...'. (To be fair, at the time I had a massive label gun stuck to the neck of my apron as I'd put the neck through it and then realised I couldn't get it back out, so that was probably the main reason I felt like a tit...) I am already starting to get rather frustrated with the general public though - especially those who assume we are all intellectually stunted because we work in a supermarket. I had a customer today come up and ask for 'four slices of ham'. We sell about six different types, so upon my asking her to specify a type she simply stared at me and said, very slowly and clearly, "FOUR." For a moment I considered just giving her four slices of beef but I refrained. I could not stop myself, however, staring in awe at a customer who asked me if I could take the peas out of the keema and peas curry. I don't know if she expected me to put on a pair of gloves and individually remove each pea or what, but she did not look too happy when I asked her if she wanted the onion taken out of her onion bhaji. Really, though. I also spent ten minutes yesterday explaining to a woman that her kitten would not die a horrible, painful death if it ate ox tongue but, just to be on the safe side, recommended she buy ham instead - or even push the boat out and buy it actual cat food. Why people spend so much money on the most expensive meats for their pets, I will never understand. I imagine domesticated animals to be somewhat similar to myself - if they are fed, they are happy.