What a boring day!
Sundays have gone from, pre-Christmas, being so busy we can barely move, to providing us with nothing but a steady trickle of customers. We're still taking quite a lot of money, and the store reports say we're serving more customers now - up to 25,000 each week - but it just feels dead! We seem to spend all day pottering around doing the little jobs that usually get neglected.
Today, it was scraping dried up crumbs and dust from the conveyor belts and obscure little corners on the checkouts. We blitzed the back-stock of impulse confectionery, re-laid the magazines to planagram, went on a paper and sundries ordering spree, tidied up all the junk behind the kiosk and corrected the bookstocks on cigarettes and tobacco. Oh, and I remodelled the cash office - again. Yet still we wandered aimlessly for most of the day.
And the customers weren't in particularly agreeable moods today either. Everybody seemed utterly miserable or hung-over. In fact, I'm a complete hypocrite for saying that because, by rights, I should have been miserably hung-over but, for some bizarre reason, wasn't. I normally feel rough the morning after eating a Wine Gum! So, there we all were, mysteriously happy, and we had to deal with a barrage of horrid customers who were wallowing in self-pity because they had to come shopping with a headache. Try being us lot that keep the bloody place running for you!
The cretin finally decided to grace us with his presence this week. He turned up, bright and cheery, and asked to speak with Terry. I led him upstairs and tried to poke about for a bit of information:
"So, where you been then Robs?" I ask, overfriendly, to-the-point and utterly two-faced.
"Oh, you know."
"Nah, not really, that's why I asked."
With this conversation yielding nothing, I deposited Robert with Terry in the stock-control office and hurried next door into the cash office. If you climb up on the worktop, you can put your ear to the vents in the wall and hear what's going on next door. Well, you can only hear muffled snatches of whatever is being said, but that would have to do. Here's what I caught:
Terry: "Almost can't believe *muffled* bloody cheek *muffled* say for yourself?"
Terry: "Oh don't fucking *muffled* that."
Robert: "*muffled* hard time mate..."
Terry: "*muffled* fucking mate me! All the chances I gave you, *muffled* fool I was to actually *muffled*"
I think you get the idea. The exchange continued in this manner for some time. Suzanne walked in at one point and, obviously as intrigued as I was, also climbed up to have a listen. Every time either of us whispered something, the other hurriedly shushed them. We needn't have bothered. There was very little to hear: Robert was sent numerous letters asking for him to get in touch, the last of which informing him his employment at Food Place had been terminated. Terry had nothing more to say and Robert left.
Terry then came into the cash office, forcing me to pretend I was up there looking for something on the top shelf, and told us everything that we'd just strained to hear; we had to act surpised. Much choice-language later, we were fully up-to-speed on what had gone on. It would seem that Robert just needed to 'get his shit together' - God I hate that expression.
So we can turn a new leaf and look forward to his replacement starting within the next two weeks. I'm not sure whether this calls for hopeful anticipation or complete dread. We might end up with somebody much worse than Robert, heaven preserve us!
My Shoplifter Heroism
As I've said before, I'm usually very lax about shoplifters. I'll only jump in and stop them if I'm 100% convinced that I've seen them conceal things and 100% certain they won't attack me. I've no desire to end up losing my job and garnering myself a criminal record, thus damaging my future career prospects, for brawling with a thief!
But this was one different. I knew I was onto something with her. I'd watched her loll her way around the store - in a random rather than organised fashion, always a giveaway, filling her trolley with all the expensive products that people tend to buy only when absolutely necessary. Typically, there was nobody else around to assist - I could have gone into the warehouse and got somebody but I wasn't taking my eyes off her. I perched myself beside the kiosk and watched. Usually, I would simply let them know I was watching because this usually results in them aborting mission. But this day I had a hunger to catch somebody.
She drifted her way over to the DVDs and began to weed out ones without electronic tags on them, filling the front compartment of the trolley with them. Gotcha!
I did a discreet call for Terry to come to the kiosk for a customer service issue and when he arrived we stationed ourselves just outside the doors and waited. There was no way on earth she was intending to pay for all that, so we knew she'd emerge. And she did, not two minutes later. Terry took her upstairs and I took the trolley.
Normal procedure when you catch somebody shoplifting is to take the goods to a vacant checkout and scan everything through the till in training mode to find out how much they were going to steal. This took me a good ten minutes and the total was a staggering £536.00! All in one trolley!
And what happens when the police arrive? Spot-fined. Eighty-miserable-quid. She was one lucky bitch, that's all I can say.