I’m looking for alternative employment. Nothing wrong with the job I have, there are no problems at all, it covers the bills (which is what it was supposed to do), it involves no work-at-home stuff (also what I wanted) and it has gained me the retail experience I was lacking. I like working there, the job is easy, well, it’s a doddle compared to cat 3 lab standard cleaning (you do not let general cleaning staff loose in there and specialists are expensive) but it’s time to move up a notch. Time to move from cleaning to actual shop staff.
What I want is something in the gadget/tool shops. Homebase or B&Q would suit me. I checked Comet, they are looking for staff, but the appliances shops always want you to push the extended warranties. I won’t do that, it’s dishonest and it gets my back up when they do it to me. So, more in the power tools line than the fridges and computers line, then. A staff discount in such places would be very interesting.
The tobacco counters would suit me but I’d be dropping hints about growing and curing and shredding… I’d either get fired or put the tobacco counter out of business!
Increasing salary in Local Shop is unlikely. It’s a small shop. They just can’t pay any more than they already do. There’s no ‘open all hours’ here, we close at 8 pm (earlier on Sunday) and are shut Christmas day and Boxing day entirely. So not even extra hours or overtime – there isn’t that much more to be done.
There are bigger ones locally, there is a Tesco that is bigger than the town I grew up in, there is a Morrison’s and a Marks and Spencer food-only shop and there are the ones I like, Lidl, Farmfoods, Poundland. Of those, so far, only Marks and Spencer have decided to commit commercial suicide.
For me, I want to work in a non-food shop for practical reasons. Food regulations are necessary but they are a headache. Food spillages make a hell of a mess. I had some experience in Local Gadget Shop when their janitor was on holiday and it’s a much easier game. I don’t want to be involved in selling food for many reasons – you can be dropped in it from a great height if someone gets sick and can blame you, you can be prosecuted if a council forty-year-old posing as a twelve-year-old succeeds in buying booze from you, and much more. Selling boxcutters to trainee pilots is a much safer option these days.
See, if you don’t want to work with food, there are other options. My position is currently pretty good. Getting a job when you already have a job is far easier than when you don’t. It’s on record that I am never late, never absent, never sick, even that I worked for six weeks last winter with a cracked rib. If you’re unemployed you don’t have that record.
Also I can bargain on wages – ‘Nah, I get paid more than that where I am’ is always a good one. I’m not far above minimum wage but I’m above it. I don’t want to get too much further above – I don’t want to pay any more tax than I can help paying – but less hours for the same bill-covering income would help with my other interests.
It is therefore baffling to me why those who claim they can’t sell people pork or alcohol because they are Muslim even look for jobs in shops that sell those things. If they are so horrible to their religious beliefs that even touching the outside of a bottle or plastic cover is evil, why look for a job where they are sold? There were no staff beyond plain white folk in Comet last time I looked and the same is true of the local Homebase. All the local Muslims (there aren’t many) work in food shops, or have their own businesses.
Some of those businesses sell alcohol.
Marks and Spencer are expensive. They are high quality it’s true, I used to be involved in food testing and M&S standards were very high indeed. People shop there because it’s expensive and high quality. I don’t shop there because I don’t get paid enough to shop there and because Lidl have the weird stuff. Lidl have to work to the same food regulations, it’s just that M&S exceed all regulations.
Those who complain about Muslim checkout staff refusing to run a bottle of wine or a ham sandwich over the scanners will be accused of being racist. Leaving aside that a religion is not a race, this is not racism. It is now the week before Christmas. Most shopping trolleys will have booze in them and those little sausages wrapped in bacon that modern people are too damn lazy to make themselves. Even if they’re not, they still have to buy the sausages and the bacon. There are queues at every till.
Put one of these fundalmentalist loons on a checkout and every single customer will have to re-queue to pay for half their shopping. How many times would you do that, in a busy shop at Christmas? Especially since you can join another queue, wait ages and find that this one’s a Muslim too. You cannot tell someone’s religion by looking at them.
How many times would you do it? My answer is ‘none’. It would be the same as if I was ever faced with ‘I cannot sell you this whisky, you don’t look old enough’ (it’s not likely to happen).
I would respond ‘You don’t want me to pay for this trolley full of shopping?’
‘No, I just can’t sell you this one thing’.
‘This shopping is one unit. I do it here or elsewhere.’
Then I’d leave it all and go elsewhere. Marks and Spencer would do well to note that many people have already done exactly that as a result of checkout staff deciding what they are and are not allowed to have. The M&S ruling will serve only to amplify the effect. Those who are tee-total but like some bacon will soon know exactly how it feels.
Some time ago, Apple decided that their warranty did not apply to smokers in case there was a tiny bit of smoke residue inside the device and their technicians were exposed. I have never bought an Apple device and never will. They’ve gone quiet about it now, they have never issued an apology and I neither expect them to nor care whether they do. They will never see a penny from me.
M&S are about to experience the same on a much bigger scale. It’s not just smokers and drinkers this time. The M&S customer base is largely middle class shoopers who hate to have to queue once. Now they will have to queue twice.
I bet Tesco are busy in the new year…
UPDATE – The story in the link has already changed. M&S are now trying to backtrack. Good luck with that, Marky Sparky. The damage is done.