Was actually quite painless, I'm very pleased to report. For once, Terry managed to keep the whole thing running at just under two hours. That might sound hellish for some people, but believe me, for Terry it's actually quite brief. The last review I had commenced an hour before the end of my shift ("I'm sure we can squeeze it in," he said) - he ended up having to pay me two and a half hours overtime for it!
The main criticism I got from him is one I entirely accept. I don't throw my weight around enough. Perhaps that makes it sound bad, but the way he put it across, it sounded much better. He said something along the lines of: "you're far too willing to accept other people not supporting you like they should and instead of getting mad and putting your foot down, you take on their share of the work and try to do your own as well, which leads to things falling apart occasionally". This is true. It was a bit rich of Terry to point this out, however, considering he's the main culprit for not supporting me. I mentioned this and he accepted that, yes, sometimes he does tend to overlook my department - but he assured me he only did so because he was always so confident that I'm more than capable of managing. Which, I suppose, is nice. In a way.
On the plus side, he had plenty of positive comments to make about how the department is running. He's "over the moon" about the low discrepancy figures and commented that, of all the departments, checkouts and services feels the most upbeat and has the best morale. Which is all down to me and Wendy's hard work. Aww.
The best comment of all was "I think you're easily the most customer-focused person in the store." He elaborated that, throughout his Food Place career, he's always found cash office, personnel and admin people to consider themselves "back of house" and tend to have as little to do with customer service as possible. He said he was surprised, when he came to our store, at how much time I spend on the front-end and how I "never lose sight of the needs of the customers and plan my days to make sure I'm always around the checkouts at the busiest times".
Ironic really that he should say things like that when I actually spend so much time slating the customers on this blog!
I'm surprised I managed to get my head out of the door when he'd finished with all of that praise. I was so pleased to hear things like that. I thanked him for such positive and warming praise but, never missing an opportunity, I pointed out how much better it would make me feel if he told me these things more often.
So, on the whole, it went extremely well. If I've learned anything it's that, in order to get more support from Terry, I need to give the impression that I'm incompetent and need help (tehe, sarcasm).
Kiosk Annoyances Part Two
So after listening to all that praise for how "customer-focused" I am, I went back down the front and spent the last two hours of my shift getting irate with stupid customers.
I jumped onto the kiosk to get the queue down and immediately found another gripe to add to my list in this post. It fits in with a theme I already discussed - requests. Why can't people just ask for what they actually want without muddling the issue? Today, a lady asked for "Twenty Lambert and Butler and twenty Mayfair". So I turned round and grabbed twenty of the standard L&B (in a silver and blue pack) and twenty standard Mayfair (dark blue).
"I don't want those ones, I want menthol!" She snapped after I'd scanned them through the till.
I felt like blasting: "well you didn't ask for menthol did you!?"
Not long after her, another customer arrived that reminded me of another kiosk moan. People who have their own special names for the brand of cigarette they smoke. Names that aren't printed on the packets and have no fathomable origin.
This lady always says, "twenty B&H red please."
I remember the first time I ever served her because I couldn't find what she was looking for. I was thinking to myself I know there's a B&H gold and silver, but red? What makes this lady more annoying is that she's asked for "B&H red" for years now and, every time she gets a new kiosk assistant, she can clearly see that it causes some confusion - because they don't exist! Yet, she doesn't bother to learn the correct name. She actually desires "B&H Superkings" which are just a longer version of "B&H Gold". But she stubbornly persists that they're subranded as "red" when they aren't.
I always, after picking them off the shelf, deliberately say "Twenty Bensons Superkings was it?". She always looks quite annoyed, but she won't be stopped. We've all just got used to her now.
Another regular is the lady who requests, in the poshest voice you could imagine: "twenty Silk Cut silver cigarettes please." I think she believes that smoking Silk Cut Silver puts her a class above other smokers. Curiously though, for somebody who takes such pride in her brand, she's quite shifty. She shoves them straight into a carrier bag and always glances nervously around - probably checking to make sure nobody she knows is watching.
This is a phenomena usually only seen in the younger smokers that you have to ask for proof of age. Their eyes always dart to the back of the queue whenever somebody else joins and you know they're thinking "Oh my God, is that my Auntie Ally, is she gonna see my buy fags?"
Another kiosk moan emerged soon after; people who trespass behind the counter. This was never a problem before as the old kiosk had a huge heavy counter-flap for access. But the new one has a small door on the front next to the lottery terminal and unauthorised, uninvited access is becoming an increasingly frequent event.
Naturally, the Nosey Woman, discussed in this post, is the most frequent offender. Whenever she's paying for lottery, she pushes the little door open and leans over the counter, gawping at what's underneath. I often wonder why she goes to such effort when she could just stand by the wall and get a perfectly clear view of the back-end of the counter.
But there's other unwanted guests. Lots of people now, upon spotting the door, walk through it and start scrutinising the products on the shelves behind the kiosk. Picking up packets of cigarettes and inspecting them. The kiosk staff just ignore them and hope they'll go away, but I barge right at them screaming "I'm sorry, you can't come behind here, staff only! OUT!" Well, maybe not that blunt, but I certainly show them the door!