With 76 staff at Food Place I couldn't name them all, so only the characters that I feel are most likely to feature in future blogs are here. Notice the disproportionate number of women mentioned here - indicative of the gender imbalance at Food Place.
He's our General Manager. (Terry is such a managerial name isn't it?). We could do a lot worse, but he certainly has his fair share of short-comings. For a start he's all talk. He berates us supervisors for being too soft on the staff yet he seems terrified of checking the outrageous behaviour of the department managers. He loves his catchphrases and buzzwords, "we'll have to suck it and see" and has a track record of making a fool of himself in front of the area manager.
Is a Department Manager. I say manager, but actually he doesn't do very much at all unless he feels like it. When he's in a good mood he's a great motivator who is passionate about retailing. On a bad day he's hung-over, or even still drunk, and sits around eating whilst leaving the workload to his team. Looks like an egg and has a tradition of crashing through glass doors whilst drunk.
One of our Department Managers. Like Will he only cares about the job when he wants to. He uses his team to cover up his own incompetence by increasing their workload and messing them around with their hours. Despite his laziness he is a very funny and likeable person. He doesn't have a bad word to say about anybody and you can tell him anything, safe in knowledge he won't tell a soul. He's addicted to ProPlus.
A supervisor who, like me I suppose, puts up with everything and is rarely seen to get mad (the real ugly stuff goes on behind the scenes). She works about 300 hours a week without lunch breaks. She is, however, wasted completely on the job and should be doing something much better with her life. Or, at least, working for company that will value her input.
Cynthia & Sandra
Are the resident shit stirrers. They were born to poke their nose into other peoples' affairs and have a bigoted opinion about everything. They wouldn't hesitate to step on anybody to better themselves. Cynthia is a hypochondriac who also invents illnesses for her children to fall victim to. She has no manners, butts into conversations, bursts into private meetings and, realising it's private, makes any excuse to periodically re-enter and overhear as much hot gossip as she can. Sandra is just vile and looks like a bulldog. She's everyone's best friend to their face and bludgeons them behind their back. She desperately wants to be promoted and isn't happy unless she's a victim of something or another. She picks out weak colleagues and manipulates them to think like her. Both of them never seem to stop talking about Polish immigrants.
Catherine & Gina
Without them, Food Place wouldn't be worth working in. They're absolutely stark staring bonkers. There will be many a story about their latest shananigans. It's not unusual to walk into the office and find them both weeping with laughter, barely able to move.
Marge & Jane
The two morning shift ladies. They've worked at Food Place since 1500BC, still follow the rules and procedures as laid down in their 1942 Food Place Handbook and are absolutely terrified of technology (including the tills they work on). They're fiercely territorial about the confectionary - nobody is allowed to touch it and customers get tutted at for taking things off their displays.
Somebody who comes in three days a week to dolly about on the dairy aisle. She searches for short-coded food and reduces it to sell quickly. Occasionally she finds something out-of-date or a new product and takes it around every member of staff in the store to show them: "Oooooooo look!" She's one of those wonderful people who's interminably happy and finds the most mundane things hilarious. She can wet herself laughing just telling you about the time she had to change a light bulb.
Is a supervisor. She would do anything for anyone but she calls a spade a spade. You don't need to wonder whether or not she likes you, you just know. Woe betide you if you upset her. All you have to do to stay in her good books is be a decent person - and then you'll get along just fine.
She can't get through a sentence without swearing and if she was subtitled it would look something like this: "So I went to the f*****g council office and f*****g got the useless f*****g c***s well and f*****g truly in their f*****g place! The total w*****s!"
Is one of the people I like (there are a lot of them, believe it or not, they're just not as interesting to write about). He's another silent bitcher like me - we whinge away like a couple of old women when we're on breaks (which aren't whenever we fancy them like SOME staff).
It's always the quiet ones. She doesn't say a word all day and then suddenly, while we're eating lunch, starts rhyming off a list of people she knows, as fact, to have done a number 2 in the staff toilets. Despite her disgusting fascination, she's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.
Debbie & Hayley
Two evening staff who are hilarious. They are both thirty-something mothers and wives but they haven't really gotten over their childishness yet. And I hope they never do. They're the sort of people that, if you went round to their house, you'd sit having bizarre, surreal conversations with them until dawn.
She's my soul-mate in there. But she's the sort of person that has hundreds of soul-mates of her own. She doesn't dislike anybody until they've shown dislike for her and has time for anybody. She's absolutely hilarious and her sense of humour clicks perfectly with mine. We can spend hours howling with laughter at - well nothing. Once we managed to find it hilarious that her name would be Kat without the 'e'. I know. There's lots of aspects to her personality I'll never understand, but I'd never judge her for any of it.
The Ellenfoot Food Place (the name, obviously, invented to conceal our location)
Not a person, but our neighbouring store. They're like Ms Poppins - practically perfect in every way. If our waste is £1000 a week, theirs is 10p. They're smaller than us but consistently take more money. We hate them.
And then of course there'll be the day-to-day cameo appearances from the rest of the staff and visits from every stroppy customer in the UK because, after all, they seem to hold their daily complain-fests in our branch of Food Place.
An ex-department manager who, I shall be frank from the outset, I hated. He gave me so much material in his ten months of working at Food Place that I'm likely to be writing about him this time next year.
He was everything you don't want in a manager. He was self-serving, unscrupulous, dishonest, unprofessional and a total arse. If he made a mistake he'd blame the first person that popped into his head. He had a 'hit-list' of people he didn't like and he attempted to make their lives hell until they resigned. But he was extremely sneaky. At first glance you'd think butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Nobody ever dared to actively accuse him of the things they knew he was up to because he was so good at talking his way out of things. But talk was all he was.
I can't divulge the exact circumstances of his departure, but let's just say he's cutting hedges for a living now.