The Strange Case...
There was a bizarre customer today that seemed to have a split-personality.
She'd gone to Cleo's till just as she was opening it up at the start of her shift. Most supermarket shoppers will know that it can be quite a pain if you've got a big trolley load and you're the first customer there - you don't get time to get everything onto the belt before the action starts.
Seeing that this lady was going to fall behind with the packing, I went over and started bagging things for her whilst she finished putting her shopping onto the conveyor belt. When she'd finished, she seemed delighted at this help:
"Oh my, oh thank you so much! You've made my day!"
She watched me packing for a few moments before suddenly exploding:
"Don't put all that in there! It'll be too heavy and I can't lift it!"
Taken aback, Cleo and I shared a puzzled glance with each other. I don't think the lady noticed this but, nonetheless, she swung back to her former self:
"Oh, how ungrateful of me to complain when you've been so helpful!"
My God! What is this? I was thinking to myself, almost too scared to speak in case she burst into another furious rant. In the event, I didn't need to speak, she did it of her own accord.
"NO! That's still too heavy, I'll never get that into the car!"
Miffed at such ingratitude, I reorganised the bags a little so the weight was more balanced.
"Oh, you're ever so kind, thank you."
But seconds later...
"I'll never get all THIS into the car!"
And then, she flipped back once more...
"Thank you very much. At least I've got a good strong husband at home to help me get it all back out again."
By the end of that encounter, I didn't know whether I was coming or going. Cleo was just as baffled as I was. Perhaps you couldn't appreciate how unnerving this customer was without seeing her. She literally veered between being so smiley and chirpy it was intolerable to being so full of rage and hatred she was shaking and spitting as she yelled. Perhaps she was doing it on purpose to make my day interesting?
A customer telephoned the store today and when I answered, I got perhaps the longest query I've ever come across. "Oh, hello, my name's Madeleine Hayes, and I'm just telephoning you because I thought you, or one of you staff, might be able to assist me in discovering whether or not you might sell such a thing as an electrically operated toaster?"
So, basically, "Do you sell toasters?"
I mean, come on! It was as though she was asking for something completely bizarre that she'd never heard of before. Have you ever come across a device for toasting bread that isn't electrically operated? Apart from a spit for holding bread against a fire, I doubt it. And since when was it necessary to formally introduce yourself to shop assistants?
Still, I suppose I shouldn't be complaining because she was, at least, polite about it.
An incident today has given me the opportunity to have a good old whinge about people who think they're important and should have priority over their colleagues when it comes to booking holidays.
Today's event involved a team member requesting 25th August off as holiday because it's their wedding anniversary. They were told, quite rightly, that two weeks' notice was nowhere near enough and that because so many other staff had already booked holidays over that week, the only way they'd get it off is by asking somebody to swap a shift.
They went off in the huff at this and stomped off to Terry's office to complain. But they didn't just complain about the holidays not being granted. The complaint was made personal towards the supervisor who had refused the holiday request.
Just who do people think they are? It's made perfectly clear in the company induction and in the terms and conditions handbook, issued to all staff, that the company's standard notice period for holidays is three months. In our store, we say give two months' notice to be guaranteed the dates you want. You can ask at shorter notice and you will get the holidays if they're available. If not, tough.
There's just no fairer way of doing it than allocating dates on a first-come-first-served basis. Which is why I got so annoyed at the team member's reaction to being refused. It's not as though they didn't know when their own anniversary was and they should have booked it months ago. It's no good asking for time off when the schedules are already compiled for that week. As it was, that particular week has been booked solid since March.
When this colleague finally found somebody who was willing to swap a shift, they then started moaning that they'd need to get a babysitter for their new shift. Well Christ almighty! Did you want your anniversary off or didn't you!?