Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Loo-Roll Woman & Tricia

Yesterday a lady came storming into the store, went to the kiosk and demanded to speak to a manager at once. She was carrying an opened pack of Charmin toilet paper, with one roll missing, under her arm and looked like she really meant business.

Gina didn't argue with the lady and called a manager to the kiosk. I happened to be nearby when Robert arrived to handle the situation. When I heard what followed, it made me very glad that I hadn't jumped in and tried to help...

"I was in here doing my shopping last week and I put into my trolley a 12-pack of Andrex bathroom tissue - the one I always buy."

"Uh-huh," Robert went along with the story.

"As I did so, a man in a shirt and tie approached me and said, 'do you know that the Charmin is on promotion? Same size pack, half the price' and proceeded to force me into putting the Andrex back and buying this!"

She was clearly referring to Terry. He's always stalking the customers, watching what they buy and talking them into getting the special offers.

Robert continued to nod along whilst, in the background, I made an effort to look busy so I could listen to the rest of this encounter.

"Well, I got it home, used it and I was very annoyed to find it's the shoddiest variety of bathroom tissue I've ever had the misfortune to use!"

I was already smirking away to myself at the way she said 'bathroom tissue' rather than loo-roll. Perhaps she felt better about standing in the middle of a supermarket ranting and raving about the stuff if she didn't refer to it as bog roll.

"Oh I see," said Robert, "What appears to be the problem with it?"

"It has a very rough texture and it's flaked everywhere, all over my bathroom!"

I ducked under the kiosk counter to have a good giggle to myself. I mean, honestly! If you were so peeved off about a pack of loo-roll, you'd return it and pretend the sheets were splitting or something; save yourself at least some embarrassment. She might just as well have brandished it in Robert's face and screamed: "It's like wiping my arse with sandpaper!"

When I first started at Food Place, there was a lady on the checkouts called Tricia. I didn't really see much of her - at the time I worked around my school hours and she mostly worked mornings. I'd actually completely forgotten about her existence until Susan, the new woman on the tills, mentioned her today.

Susan said: "do you remember that woman on the tills here that used to be so unbelievably slow, it looked as though she was about to stop?"

I had a think about it and Susan helped me along with a description before I finally placed this woman as Tricia. Susan was laughing away to herself as she did humorous demonstrations of how Tricia used to work. By the end of it I was peeing myself laughing - but I think that had more to do with me being extremely tired. I tend to react quite hysterically to the slightest amusement when I'm tired.

Basically, Tricia was so slow that it could only have been deliberate. Nobody could ever work at a pace like that naturally and she certainly didn't dawdle around when it came to home-time.

She would turn to the conveyor belt. Examine the items nearest to her. Carefully select one. Inspect it very intently, taking so long that she almost had time to read the complete ingredients list of the product. Turn the product around to look for the barcode. Grip the item with both hands. Present it to the scanner. Shake it around a bit if it didn't swipe first time. Listen for the bleep. Carefully pass the item to the waiting customer. Repeat the process.

It's very likely that readers won't see the humour in this. You have to have seen this woman in action to realise why she was so funny.

It was partly to do with her mannerisms and facial expressions. Her eyes were always narrowed to slits and she would move her gaze, slowly of course, around the area. She would always be chewing gum - but very very slowly. Grinding it in her mouth - combined with her general lack of haste, to look at her you could almost believe your vision had switched to slow-motion mode. And she never laughed. If a customer made a small-joke to her, she would stick on a wide grin and loll her head from side to side - as though simulating laughter.

Not content with reminiscing about this character, we proceeded to do impressions of her. We all sat ourselves on tills, dying for the next customer to arrive. Just so we could serve them Tricia-style. I found it impossible - I just could not go that slowly! And I ended up bursting out laughing in a customer's face and having to spend the rest of the transaction apologising and murmuring that "something tickled me earlier".

That's what the monotony of working at Food Place does for you.


James UK said...

"If you were so peeved off about a pack of loo-roll, you'd return it and pretend the sheets were splitting or something; save yourself at least some embarrassment."

I was hoping she'd have said to him "My finger went right through it! Look!" and thrust the offending digit in his face!


"And I ended up bursting out laughing in a customer's face and having to spend the rest of the transaction apologising and murmuring that "something tickled me earlier".

I think doing impressions of work colleagues must be the number one thing we all do at work! And I'm sure I've been served by many a "Tricia" in the past... I don't know if I'm an exception, but there is at least 4 checkout staff who'll I'll avoid in sainsbury's for various reasons, and a couple are because they are "Tricia"'s.

Do you find you can't help yourself laughing specifically when it's a situation when you mustn't ever laugh? Like in a job interview, wedding etc. That's when I used to find myself cracking up uncontrollably.

Al said...

We have a few people who are a bit slow but nobody like that. I scan quite quickly myself, even when I'm trying to take my time I ind myself speeding up without realising.

My local Somerfield has someone exactly like that though, not called Tricia though.

I'm glad to see we're not the only ones who get customer complaints like that.

Pizza Hut Team Member said...

We do that too! No one is particularly slow but sometimes if it isn't busy a few of us will just go "Shall we do the slow thing again?" and proceed to examine and gently handle everything. Laying individual napkins out on trays, getting single coins out handing them one at a time and naturally your voice gets slower. Customers don't say anything just stand there staring with confused faces.

We have another game where we are so helpful and happy it is sickening, but we prefer the first.

AggressiveAdmin said...

Ah bless, she was a lovely woman was Tricia. Just slow motion, that's all.

When you're being paid next to nothing, I suppose she had the right attitude. If your employer is going to treat you like a moron, act like one :)