Monday, 10 November 2008

Shop Girl Does It Old School


My Shop is like a village shop.
We do village things, like chat with the postman and make tea for upset locals.
In the upmarket estate agents where I once worked, such things were not tolerated.
I used to exasperate my boss because I was too friendly to the telesales callers. She once sat me down and tried to give me a lesson in being abrupt. The lesson was interrupted by a lost elderly tourist.
“Turn left,” my boss barked, not even looking at him.
“There,” she said, once he’d gone. “You see how I dealt with that.”
“Wasn’t it right?” I mumbled.
“What?”
“You said left. Didn’t he need to turn right?”
She looked like she wanted to hit me.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s left or right! The point is you must block out any interruption!”
It soon dawned on me that Life is made of up of so many interruptions and fighting them all day was making me miserable.
I didn’t want to feel I could only smile if I was getting paid for it so I handed in my notice and went back to the shop.
The shop isn’t anything as efficient as the estate agents.
We’re old school. We let customers pay off for things and keep count on a handwritten receipt.
Mr Roberts keeps adding items to his; it gets so messy we have to start a new one.
“Now come on, what do I owe you?” he says.
“I’m not sure anymore,” I say.
“If you don’t know how am I supposed to know?”
“Don’t you have your receipt?”
“I don’t know but I’m here now.” He takes a wodge of cash out of his pocket. “Come on, what have I got to give you?”
I fumble through a drawer in search of a carbon copy.
Another regular customer comes in for a bulb. Mum jumps up to help him and lets him in on her low-energy lighting conspiracy theory, for free.
“It says sixty,” I say, when I find the copy. “But then you transferred your wife’s deposit.”
“So what is it now?”
“Thirty,” I say, scribbling the amount in.
“But I want another picture frame.”
“So it’s forty two.”
“For my cat.”
“What?”
“The picture frame is for my cat.”
“Ah.”
“So tell me what I’ve bought.”
I run my finger down the page.
“A brass bell, a coal skuttle, two picture frames and two wall brackets.”
“Have you counted the other picture frame?”
“Oh, no...”
“Start again then.”
My mum’s customer is visibly amused by our retail version of ‘granny went to market...’
“A brass bell, a coal skuttle, THREE picture frames and two wall brackets.”
Mr Roberts frowns.
“Is that all?”
“And you’ve got the chandelier.”
“I don’t have it.”
“I mean I’ve got it but you’ve paid for it.”
“So who’s got it?”
“I have.”
“Right...So, start again, what have I got?”
Mum and her customer are now both laughing out loud.
“See him,” Mr Roberts says, nodding in their direction, “he was miserable before he came in here.”
In which case, I’m glad I didn’t learn my lesson in abruptness.
It wouldn’t have had the same effect.

2 comments:

Oli said...

HAHAHAHAH absolutely brilliant!! please publish them all in one boook, these stories have made my dayy!!! You are awesome shopgirl!

Hunt and Gather by Tina Ziegler said...

Truly a great writer!! Your so funny, you have made me laugh!!
and yes,, publish a book with all of them!! your fantastic!

keep them coming !!