Prior to the sudden emergence of his true colours, however, there was only one vaguely interesting subject for blogging that linked to him. That was his perception of me. Which, I later discovered with horror, had been shared by most of the staff in Food Place at some point. He said he was "a bit scared" of me, that I was "kinda intimidating" and "thundery". And there's me thinking I had been successful in suppressing the aggressive side of my personality.
Of course, when you discover something like this about yourself, you tend to go around and ask for other peoples' opinions. First stop was Terry, the store manager. He confirmed what Alex said. My natural facial expression, he reckons, is "very frowny and confrontational". He did, thankfully, redeem me by saying "it all vanishes when you get talking to you though". Well, at least that's something. All snarl but neither bark nor bite.
Back to the point. What happened with Alex that's earned him the dubious honour of a dedicated blog entry? He's shown himself to be nothing but an immature little boy that's never got over having to leave his former profession of class clown. That's what.
It started one day last week. Me and Steven were in the staff room, eating dinner. I was engrossed in the newspaper, Steven was listening to his iPod. Don't you just hate people who can't respect other peoples' right to a bit of peace and quiet? Well you wouldn't like Alex. He came blasting in and started twittering away. And it wasn't the sort of twittering that you can just allow to fade into the background. He kept asking questions and demanding our attention. OK, minor irritation but he's bound to shut up soon.
But he didn't. And when the responses from me got drier and drier, he turned his attention to Steven. Now, Steven is a very quiet, sensitive sort of person. He wouldn't say boo to a goose, generally, and only comes out of his shell around his friends (like me - we've known each other for years).
So, anyways, Alex suddenly tore one of Steven's earphones out, put it to his own ear and shouted "what's this shite?". Steven's face flared bright red and he didn't answer - I saw red and felt my face forming the death stare at Alex.
He noticed and made a mock scared voice: "Ooooh Andrew's giving me the evils, doing his tough look".
I got madder. But, at the same time, I knew I had to be very careful. Being a supervisor, whether in the staff room or not, you can't react to things like that the same way you could outside of work. For that matter, none of the staff at Food Place can.
"If he wanted to share his musical taste with you, he'd bring a stereo to work. He's wearing earphones, so it's none of your business what he's listening to." It was the best I could come up with, but I delivered it with the death stare still in place. Alex's face looked a little flustered - he really doesn't like anybody coming back at him.
He tried to play it down. Maybe I did overreact a little bit to what he did and said, but it's one of my pet hates. People slagging off other peoples' choice in music or clothes. It makes the veins in my head throb. Smarmy little asses going round mocking what other people like. Don't you just want to knock their two eyes into one?
Alex didn't give up however. He tried to argue it out with me and it resulted in him asking me what music I liked (trying to move away from the mini-argument). I told him and added: "are you gonna slag that off then?" He gave me the 'is this for real or are you just joking?' look. He carried on trying to get me to be nice to him for a bit longer before leaving the room, under the pretense of going to his locker, and sitting elsewhere when he came back in.
That wasn't really a major incident. He did something, I thought it was out of order, stood up for Steven because I knew he wouldn't do it for himself and gave Alex some dirty looks. But the whole thing put me onto a bad footing with Alex.
[The song at the centre of this debate was Close to Me - The Cure. Had I known that at the time Alex would have got a tirade from me for bashing a brilliant song]
Throughout the rest of last week my dislike of him blossomed and bloomed. I started noticing small annoyances about him. His hairdo for one. It must take him hours to construct. And then I overheard him boasting to Lisa: "I can't even remember how many women I've slept with!" (He's 17!) He obviously thought this would make him look like something he isn't. Thankfully Lisa knocked him down by remarking that he'd made himself sound like "an easy man-slut".
And then came our public clash. On Saturday it was very busy and I called for till-trained staff. When only one person responded, I glanced up the aisles and called the names of the first staff-members I spotted. Alex was one of them. He came marching down.
"I'm busy, you'll have to call somebody else."
BUSY? You're facing-up dog food for Christ's sake! "Sorry Alex, there is no busy. If you're needed on tills, you're needed on tills."
"Well you're not doing much, you sit on."
"Alex, I'm a department supervisor asking you to get onto a till to get the queues down. If you have a problem with that request, then speak to Terry. He'll also tell you why designated front-end key holders can't sit on tills. Till six please."
Small tip: never get me on my high horse about till-trained staff calls. I won't stop rabbiting on for hours. And NEVER argue with me in front of waiting customers. Sit down, serve and shut up. This little disagreement took place right next to customers who were waiting for him to get on a till and serve them. If looks could kill, Alex would be dead.
Alex muttered "fucks sake" under his breath" and sauntered off to till six. He was trying to take his time removing the grab-lock, probably hoping the queues would vanish, but I went waltzing across and herded the customers over "TILL SIX IS OPENING! TILL SIX!"
When he got off the till, not five minutes later, he gave me a dirty look and said "see, you didn't even hardly need me."
"Alex, that's the point of calling all till trained staff. Everybody jumps on, the queues are gone in seconds and everyone can get back to their jobs."
"But I was busy."
"Well you'd better get back and get on with it then if it's so pressing and discuss your issues with Terry later..." ...so he can tell you it's part of your job, like it or leave.
So he's well and truly riled me. Right up there with Cynthia now. Ugh. Enough about him.