It's seven-fifteen in the evening and I'm getting very annoyed. We've been two members of staff down all day and haven't been coping particularly well. But all my hopes have been pinned on the trade dying off at around 6:30pm, as it always does on a Saturday. But not today.
It's got to seven o'clock and the tills are still ringing. Since we were short staffed for the kiosk, I've ended up stuck on there helping Kate get the lottery queue down. We're both very clearly stressed and tired, but we're doing the best we can. So the last thing we want is rude customers coming along and trying to centre all the drama on themselves...
Attempted Queue Jumper
This man appeared in the corner of my eye standing at the end of the kiosk. He waits for about four seconds before beginning to tap his fingers on the desk. This riles me. How DARE people behave like that! Use your manners and say 'excuse me' if you want something! I presume he's waiting for change for a trolley or something and once I've finished serving the customer I'm dealing with, I turn to him. "Can I help at all?"
"Twenty Lambert and Butler."
God damn it! I've tried a million times before to come up with a polite way of telling somebody they need to join the queue like everyone else, but it just cannot be done: "I'm sorry, you'll need to join the queue."
"If you want to buy cigarettes, you'll have to wait in the queue until your turn to be served." I'm trying to be nice, but I don't know why. He can see the queue. He knows he should be in it. He just thinks he's better than everyone else.
"F***s sake! I've been standing here waiting!"
"I'm sorry, you've only been there for thirty seconds - these people were here first. There's two of us serving, it'll only take a couple of minutes."
"Shove it up your f*****g arse!" He bangs his fist on the desk to emphasise his rage and stalks off.
The next part is a bit of a blur. The next person to come to my till from the queue is giving me the 'oh God, I feel so sorry for you having to deal with people like that' look but makes a supposed-to-be-funny remark about the lottery ticket they're handing me. I do the polite fake laugh to humour them and suddenly there's a loud voice in my other ear.
It's the queue-jumper. "Don't laugh! Don't you f*****g laugh at me!" He's pointing and giving me the death stare.
I was too stunned to muster up a response. What? The cheek of it! How dare he? I'm not even laughing at him!
"Looking at me like that you f*****g arsewipe, you'll only f*****g cross me once!" He starts to back away muttering obscenities under his breath.
Far from being intimidated I'm merely thinking Woah! I can blog about this! The people in the queue are surprised I'm not really reacting to being verbally abused in the middle of a supermarket. Meh, been there, done that, a hundred times.
Mrs Snot Mk2
But these things always come in twos. A few minutes after this drama - and a brief lull in custom for me and Kate to have a Megabitchfest about the guy - it's approaching 7.30pm. Which means one thing. The lottery is closing. Der, Der, DER! A fresh queue congregates all waiting to for their last-minute stab at being a millionaire.
We work our way through the customers but, inevitably, 7:30 comes and the lottery closes. It does this unceremoniously, as always, and simply refuses the first ticket we attempt to process after the closure. Kate is the unlucky one who has to break this to a waiting customer.
"Dang, sorry you've missed it, it's shut off." She's very to-the-point.
"I'm sorry?" It's a snobby woman. She looks like she's had a day of it and has been waiting for something to kick off about.
"The game closes at 7:30, you've just missed it I'm afraid." The other customers in the queue hear this and resign themselves to being workadays at least until Wednesday. Most of them depart.
But Snotty isn't giving up. "Well I'm very sorry madam, but I was standing in this queue at twenty-five-past, so you can just get it put through." This is a blatant lie. She's only been in the queue for a minute or so. And who does she think she is, calling perfect strangers madam in that tone?
Kate is apologetic, yet firm: "I can only apologise, the machine will not print tickets after seven-thirty."
"So you are telling me I can't put these on?" SHE CLICKS!
"I'm afraid not no," I chip in. There's no more customers and I have nothing better to do than get involved in other peoples' squabbles, "there has to be a deadline for it, and it's set at seven-thirty."
"So it's my fault you don't have enough staff on and I had to queue for ages?"
"There's only two tills on this kiosk, and there's two of us here, we couldn't possibly go any faster" Kate re-enters the debate. She's dropping her customer-service tone by now.
"Well I think this is terrible. You're being so petty-minded. I was here before the deadline, and you knew it! And you still closed it down on me!"
Is this woman bloody deaf? "We didn't close it. It closes itself, and there were other people behind you in the queue too." What, do you think we've just done this for a laugh?
She promises we haven't heard the end of this matter and leaves. Megabitchfest II time!