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This is a question Shops and Supermarkets

I used to work in a supermarket where the girl on the deli counter cut off the top of her finger in the meat slicer, but was made to finish her shift before going to hospital. You can now pay £100 to shoot zombies in the store's empty shell, haunted by poor dead nine-finger deli girl. Tell us your tales of the old retail experience, from either side of the counter

(, Thu 10 May 2012, 13:50)
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This question is now closed.

Dream shopping
I often have dreams in which I'm doing a bit of shopping in Tesco, but something goes wrong and it takes much longer than it ought to, or I can't find (or remember) anything on my shopping list, leading to greater and greater panic as I stare at increasingly longer, emptier shelves.

Once, years ago, I woke up chuckling from one of these dreams after having said something really funny - unfortunately I didn't recall it afterwards and couldn't manage to remember the details until very recently, when it just popped back into my head and I remembered what I'd said.

I'd been looking for cake ingredients and I'd got the butter, the eggs and the flour, probably some chocolate as well, but couldn't find the last thing I needed so went to the till to ask where I could find it.
I spoonerised my request, which meant (in the dream) I'd asked the lady at the checkout "Where are the shags of bugger?"
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 17:35, 9 replies)
Sometimes, being the IT geek isn't as good as it was cracked up to be.
Years ago, when the web was just starting, I was working doing the whole shelf-stacking shite a lot of us end up doing at some point in our lives. So far, so dull.

That was, until the boss got wind of the fact I was good with a computer, and wanted a website making for the shop so he could get his "business out there". My protestations of this being pointless back in 1998 fell upon deaf ears. Ah well.

So, nutting up and shutting up, I learned html, and more importantly, the joys of comment code, which thankfully the boss was too daft to spot. I've just looked at the old website, and it's still there, with the comment code intact.

Why not take a look?

(, Thu 10 May 2012, 17:20, 27 replies)
what bill hicks refers to as 'pockets of humanity'
This took place, in a Morrisons in Whitley, Reading. a fine, upstanding place, where the local citizenry will happily give a lost maiden directions and assistance, and you can wave your iphone 4s at the local kids with impunity, parked cars retain their wheels, and.. oh no that's somewhere else. whitley is a fucking cesspit with cul-de-sacs. no really, it's mostly built on an old sewage works. presumably they just paved it over, built the houses, and left the drain lids off for the first week until the houses were all 'inhabited'

for the record, this is the same supermarket that found fame of late as the employer of the middle aged lady who now owns a set of beautifully inked tattoo portraits of THE ENTIRE FUCKING CAST OF TWILIGHT on her back. so a classy joint.

I was shopping on my lunchbreak, and saw the best example of parenting i've ever seen. (this is a pea, from the 'bad parenting' qotw. what? fuck you. thursday at 5pm, you're lucky i'm semi-coherent.)

Dad. shaved head. grubby white polo shirt. grubby blue jeans. grubby white reebok classics. midday, on a weekday. one grubby kid running round shrieking like a ferret on meth. dad is holding a crate of stella firmly in both hands. dad is ALSO 'holding' an infant in nappies, tucked loosely between his torso, and his arm/elbow,in the manner you might hold a newspaper or jacket while rummaging through your bag for your bus pass. PRECARIOUS.over a hard polished lino floor. #priorities
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 17:16, 6 replies)
Oh Aldi
As some of you may know, bargain bucket "super"market Aldi doesn't just deal in vaguely unsettling cooked meats, cider made entirely from drip tray drainings and baked beans.

No, Aldi sometimes sell wonderous items. Things that you'd never see at Morrisons. Things like telescopic walking sticks, paddling pools in the shape of Bratislavan superheroes and all manner of shoddily made tools.

Which is why, having been dispatched by her indoors to fetch a loaf of bread and some frozen chips, I was questioned by a police officer as to just why I was walking through Eccles carrying two large axes and and a job lot of folding camp chairs.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:56, 7 replies)
There was a time
When i worked in retail for a local game store in the city centre. It might sound like a dream job buying and selling lots of electronic goodies and being able to purchase stuff at staff discount as soon as it was released but it definitely had its down side.
Aside from the obvious long hours and low wages you would expect being a till monkey in a less than glamorous industry the customers are what made it truly pants at times.

I would like to point out before this turns into a rant that most of our customers were perfectly fine and I was happy to spend time assisting them. But one or two could really boil your piss. Aside from the usual school kids who were 18 honestly and besides had their mums permission to buy the latest Grand Theft Pimp Meister 5 we would get people who would bring in bags of utter crap from 5 years and a console previous and get mortally offended when it wasn't worth the 30 quid per game they paid for it in the first place.
One or two people do stand out amongst the crowd though.

We had the guy who came into the store one busy Saturday afternoon. He seemed a respectable enough chap being suited and booted and browsed the aisles of shelves for around 5 minutes before leaving. It was only after he had gone that people started leaving looking disgusted and the smell wafted our way. What he had done, upon further investigation, was relieved himself onto the floor but instead of doing it just in one place had let a bit more go every time he had stopped so we were left with fragrant little puddles on the carpet all around the place. Whether he was demonstrating his superior bladder capacity and control learned through years of just wanting to finish a level before going to the toilet we will never know. My two co workers turned a delicate shade of green when it came to clearing it up and were having none of it. Having a new born at the time had made me more or less immune to caring about wee so it was left to muggins here to get to work with the mop and bucket.

We also had a guy who came into the store one extremely dull and dead Monday who we knew was going to be worth a laugh. He tried to engage us in conversation in what had to be the worst, most indecipherable Irish accent since Brad Pitt tried his hand at it in Snatch.
When we had worked our way through his mangled attempt at conversation he then proceeded to try to return a wireless pad sold as it didn't have a wire with it. We asked him if he meant the charging wire but no he said it wouldn't work as it didn't plug into the Xbox. We had to tactfully explain how it worked and the guys face was a picture when we tried it on the demonstration machine and it worked. The same guy then asked us on a later visit if Halo 3 was the third game in the series.

So please be nice to people who work in customer facing environments. You might be perfectly reasonable but they have to deal with an awful lot of numpties that aren't
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:55, 3 replies)
Awkward Christmas mornings
When I was a student I had a weekend and holiday job at a popular chain of catalogue-based retailers. There were many low points to the job, but the lowest of all was the horrendous Christmas period. It was insanely busy beforehand, with queues out the door and an endless stream of parents who got very unhappy when you told them the 'in' toy that year was out of stock. Then, once you had survived the pre-Christmas period, you got the influx of people bringing unwanted junk back.

After going through this cycle a couple of times, in the third year I decided I was going to get some revenge on Joe Public. I used to work all over the shop, sometimes on the tills, sometimes on the collection desk, but it was when I was working in the stockroom that my opportunity presented itself.

One of the big toys that year was the 'Magna Doodle' - a drawing board kind of like an Etch-a-sketch, but with a pen (and therefore more chance of producing a legible drawing) instead of dials. We had LOADS of them, probably thirty or more, in a great pile in the stockroom. One Sunday morning, in a spare bit of time before the doors opened and the crowds descended, I found myself in one of the toy aisles and noticed the Magna Doodle boxes were not sealed at the end, meaning one could extract and replace the toy with no sign of tampering. My plan was formed.

Initially, I removed one, wrote a naughty word on it, and carefully placed it back in the box. My crime complete, I was pretty satisfied, as I thought about little Johnny opening his present on Christmas morning and asking his parents what WANKSOCK meant. But then, the excitement of it all got the better of me. In the next ten minutes or so, I defaced every single one, starting with rude words and then progressing into drawings of an ever increasingly explicit nature.

Amazingly, this really was the perfect crime as there was zero fallout afterwards. No-one ever brought one back, or complained - maybe older brothers or sisters got the blame instead. I still smile when I imagine all of those awkward Christmas morning discussions.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:52, 4 replies)
my first repost.. copy, paste, win!
I used to work in a supermarket chain.. I worked on the petfood aisle.. Stacking pet food.. It was the crappiest job ever.. The worst part was the grocery dept 'huddle' where the recent sales and wastage stats were discussed.. And I quote... 'hello team! Are we ready for our huddle? Great! This week we have done really well! We sold 2 percent more grocery goods than last week... But we did produce a bit more waste than last week.. No one had any days off and you're all great... Now then... Lets go and display some veg for sale! And keep those aisles tidy! Off we go team!' I don't think that anyone in management had sussed out that anyone who stacked dog food from 8pm till 6am whilst being forced to listen to the punishment that is dasda fm really doesn't give a flying fuck at a twunting doughnut about sales stats and just wants to start on the 3 tonnes of bakers complete that are waiting in the stores... I got sacked from there- mainly for 'not giving a fuck', although they didn't quite word it like that. Funny eh?
Face stabbings = appropriate really...
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:47, 2 replies)
Wandsworth Sainsburys (the big one. you know. on Garratt Lane. Opposite Neros)
The till staff, despite having to deal with sarf lahndans finest, are some of the nicest most polite people I have ever had the joy to experience in retail environs.
Its worth taking the time to say hello to them.

Waitrose staff inside the 'southside (arndale)centre' , you know, the one next to the escalator for cineworld at the back of the main mall, are all cunts.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:39, 6 replies)
This ones about a number of shops.......
A good 20 /30 years ago (God I’m getting old) I had a part time job as a night-time security guard at a mall and this QOTW is perfect for me to shoehorn in a couple of mundane stories that vaguely fit the topic. The job was pretty cushy; check the entrances and loading areas, walk through the empty complex and check the outside areas for anything suspicious (Laughable for the area the place was situated- we got the odd skateboarder or bored teen but that was it really).

One night I was doing my rounds and saw a large van pull up, treating it as a tad suspicious I decided to keep my eye on it. My suspicions that I was going to have to call 9-1-1 subsided when I realise that it was E driving the van. E is a local old duffer, slightly senile in my opinion but totally sweet and harmless. A couple of minutes later another well known local nutcase turns up (He looks ok at first but theres a rumour going around that the mother likes to do more than kiss him to sleep at night if you know what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Chuckling to myself I decided to carry on with my rounds and keep checking on them rather covertly each time I passed.

Halfway into my circuit I heard a screeching of tyres, nothing too bad thinks I, probably someone accidentally wheelspinning a car on the main road. Then it sounds like all hell breaks loose, an explosion followed by what sounded like gunfire! I panic and sprint back to the nearest window facing the parking lot and cannot believe my eyes. The two local nutters were packing up the van and one of the kiosks out front was on fire with what looked like the remains of a car smashed into it.

I ran to the exit and grabbed hold of E. He totally feigned ignorance and said he was working in the van when it happened and his mate just juddered a little. I was pretty pissed, what the hell was I going to say to my boss, I had a burning kiosk and the bodies of a few dead Libyans to sort out. I tried to ask them more questions but E mentioned he had to go grab the Delorian that had been left behind in the city centre and got the hellaway from the scene before the police arrived.

Come to think of it, I’m sure they did something to the Mall sign too as I’m sure it was called Twin Pines at one point. Meh.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:27, 9 replies)
It's the way I tell 'em
I was an assistant at a B&Q garden centre. Old woman approaches me:

Woman: Have you got bird nuts?
Me: No - it's just the way I walk.
Woman: Eh?
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:24, 15 replies)
Buying Stilton at Morrisons
Lovely blue-veiny (oo-err) cheese. The lass at the till scanned it, then stopped.

""ere, you wanna tek that back? It's mouldy innit!"

Bless her.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:18, 1 reply)
When I was 15
I worked in a grocery store in an outpost on the edge of the arctic near Hudson Bay.
The store was 5 ATCO (industrial trailers) units made up in an H. One of my jobs was to shove the garbage out the door into the alcove in the middle. The first day I was greeted by 6 big malamute dogs, like huskies but at least 1/2 wolf. They weren't really friendly. I never saw them again.
When I asked about it the manager said the constable had shot them all. 2 weeks later we loaded all the garbage into a dump truck and sure enough there was a carcass that had been missed, and several bullet holes in the skirt boards.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:15, Reply)
While on holiday in a tiny remote part of Scotland
A very small me found myself nearly at the front of a little queue in little shop. There was an old lady at the front of the queue perusing the counter, and asking for "A wee bit o' that cheese, aye, and a loaf o' bread uh-huh". After a moment more consideration she added

"Aye, and that ham you've got looks good Alastair, I'll have a wee bit o'that too."

"Och no, Morag", says Alastair, "Ye don't want that ham, it's not very good. I just get that in for the tourists. See the pinkness of it! Och it's not right at all; I couldn't sell you that"

"Och right" says Morag, and paying for her bread and cheese she headed off.

"Now there Sir" says the shopkeeper to my dad as we are promoted to the head of the queue. "You're enjoying yourself up on holiday? Aye the weather's been very kind, aye, so you'll be wanting things for a pic-nic no doubt! Now: how would you like a lovely bit o' ham for yer sangwidges?"
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:12, 5 replies)
I'll just nudge it out of the way...
It was a few days before Christmas several years ago and snow was on the ground (this was in the North, obviously). I was temping at a large and very busy supermarket working 'on the back door' dealing with burly delivery drivers and their large lorries. One of them was in a particular hurry and decided that as manoeuvering round the small car parked near the gate would cost vital seconds, he would 'just nudge it out of the way' with his 40 tonne truck. The sobbing of the staff member when she was told her car had been demolished against the wall went on for days, I was told.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 16:10, 2 replies)
When I used to get the bus, I'd hang around by the Aldi car park next to the bus station, so I could avoid the majority of the mentalists.
A few things I saw there -
• 2 kids deciding to push trollies at full speed into one another. I think they both lost teeth, and were seriously winded. Gave me a good laugh though.

• Multiple people try to go into the store through the 'OUT' door, meaning the sensor didn't work, and they'd just splat against the glass.

• However, my favourite was the young lad (probably about 18-19) running headlong out of the store, having just stolen something. As he made it out of the doors, he turned to give the staff the fingers, and ran bollocks first into a bollard, collapsing over the top. That one nearly killed me with laughter.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 15:43, 3 replies)
As a young child I used to wonder why shopping trolleys in my local Co-op had tall metal bars welded to them.

I understood why when I witnessed someone trying to run out of the store with a trolley full of wine, only for the bar to meet the wall above the door. This led to the trolley stopping very quickly and as a result the thief flew head first into the trolley, breaking his wrist and rendering himself unconcious in the process.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 15:38, 6 replies)
mmmmm, hairy
there used to be a little sweetshop close to my mum's house, which was owned by an old lady. not many children ever went in there, because she let her cat sleep on the penny tray(that sectioned tray the penny sweets were kept in, for those of you under 30) and hairy aniseed balls are just wrong.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 15:28, 2 replies)
Meat Slicer
I used to work on a supermarket deli counter too. One day I stuck my knob in the meat slicer. The bosses found out and sacked me, I couldn't believe it. They also sacked the dirty minx of a meat slicer too.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 15:22, 4 replies)
Local shop
Where I used to live there was a big Tesco, and nearby a row of small shops. One day I just needed a couple of items so I went into a grocer's on the row. There were about 2 tins on the shelves and a bag of rice. I asked for a bag of sugar and a tin of cocoa (or something - it was a long time ago). The little old lady looked over the shelves, told me to wait a minute, then went over the road to Tesco and came back 10 minutes later with what I wanted.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 15:16, Reply)
'Investors in People'
I had an evening job stacking shelves in Safeway when I was 16

My boss was a middle aged bloke called Steve, and I normally did shifts with another teenager called Chris.

Steve was obsessed with the internet (back when that was still fairly unusual for a normal middle-aged bloke) and talked mainly about violent computer games and conspiracy theories. He once told me about how he had a working handgun and a shotgun inherited from his Uncle stored in the loft at home that he was 'saving for something special'. I've always expected to see him in the news one day for massacring his colleagues, or shooting up the post office, or something. He was a very angry man - I once watched him deliberately ram into an 80 year old woman with a shopping trolley after she'd failed to hear two 'Excuse Mes'. He was also questioned by the police once after threatening to throw a 13 year old kid he'd caught shoplifting a bottle of wine into the cardboard baler. His best mate was a man referred to only as 'Chunk', who worked in the bakery and reputedly possessed the largest collection of hardcore pornography in the region.

Chris was 17 but looked 40. He smoked non-stop, drove a pimped-out Mini Metro in which he'd installed bucket seats (meaning he could barely see over the wheel, since he was about 4 foot 8 tall), and mainly entertained himself by creating improvised contests, which invariable led to breaking stuff. The highlights were a whole pallet of toilet paper which he flattened by using it as a landing mat for a 20ft dive off the top of the store room shelving, and several bottles of whisky he managed to veer a pallet-truck into one Christmas Eve whilst taking part in a stock room pallet-truck Grand Prix. His favourite day ever was when we had to get rid of a load of roast chickens that were past their sell-by date, and him and Steve had a competition to see who could chuck a chicken into the skip from the furthest distance using only a spade to flip it. His break-time snack of choice was an Aero eaten dipped into a vegetable cup-a-soup, which is obviously hugely, hugely wrong.

I left that job determined not to work with similar people again, which didn't quite work out. On the plus side, though, I did win the Pallet Truck Grand Prix.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 14:55, 2 replies)
Supermarket Meat...
From the age of 17 to almost 21 I did time in a Somerfield store. All the usual was here, crap pay, crap hours, department supervisors who acted like they owned you, uncaring management, and of course fuckwit customers. I'll not bore you with this and instead proceed to some of the 'highlights'

My role at the supermarket was split between 'grocery replenishment' (shelf stacker) and keeping the warehouse tidy.
At the back of the warehouse was the butchery preperation room. I got on well with the lads who worked in here, and the head of the department was 'D' who was in his early 20s, and was very honest and candid about his sexual encounters. If you didn't know 'D' you would assume he was talking bullshit about the things he got up to, but with him it was always the truth.
So... 'D' gets into a relationship with the grocery supervisor 'C'.
'C' was in her late 30s, mother of 3 and is not particulary attractive, but as their relationship progressed she became more interesting to us as it turned out that 'C' was up for pretty much anything sexually. One of the funnier experiences he told us about was when he bent her over the meat prep counter and in his words: "did her up the ass and she loved it". Turned out that backdoor was her thing and 'D' often went for a ride up the marmite motorway.

There were many other classy moments in the butchery prep area. As an example, one of the other butchers seemed to relish 'fingering' joints of meat that vaguely resembled vaginas. Don't think he took it any further but it really wouldn't suprise me if he did.

It's fair to say that I advised friends and relatives NOT to buy meat from Somerfield!

Other minor highlights included trapping someone under the electric roller shutter door and watching him flail around like an upturned tortoise, racing pallet trucks around the store after hours, and occasionally shutting people in the deep freeze store.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 14:42, 1 reply)
I can't imagine I haven't told this before, but...
...when I was 16 I worked in Martin's the newsagent in one of the even less classy than the other non classy parts of Essex. I watched as a tarty looking woman (think stereotypical leopard print skirt, tight short skirt, tits struggling to stay in a too small top, excessive make-up and peroxide hair with dark roots) reached up to the top shelf, took a few copies of Fiesta and then came and plonked them down in front of me to ring through the till. Copies of Fiesta that she was the cover star of.

No, she was not attractive. Yes, I stole a copy and wanked myself stupid over her anyway.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 14:34, 3 replies)
Working for Boots in the stockroom
if it was a slow day, I'd pick the product that we sold which contained the most solvents, then "accidentally" break it and spend the afternoon cleaning it up, while breathing deeply.

I finally got busted when they found me asleep on one of the shelves at the back, just out of view of the internal CCTV
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 14:23, 2 replies)
Tales from the Zombie Supermarket of DOOM
My student years were effectively paid for with a job at a supermarket that is now a zombie shoot-em-up venue. Ironically, the shop's most loyal customers were the winos and derelicts of Reading, taking advantage of our low prices, proximity to a warm underground car park and no-questions-asked cider sales policy, so one group of shuffling undead has merely been replaced by another.

Highlights of my years at Presto include:

* The time Denise on the Deli cut off her finger in the meat slicer. I LOVED YOU, Nine-Fingered Deli Denise

* The time Mr Norton the manager parked his Reliant Robin in the delivery bay, only to have it completely destroyed when a lorry reversed over it

* Taking part in the Great November Staff Rebellion, when the Christmas music tape was taken round the back and burned. Head office sent a new one within a week

* All the times I had to wrestle tramps to get our trollies back

* The time I got stuck in the lift up to the car park, and got propositioned for sex by a customer. I declined

* All those Friday evenings when my "trolley round" comprised standing on the top floor of the multi-storey, watching some bloke in the office opposite boning his cleaner over his desk

Never take a job in a supermarket, unless it has zombies.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 14:17, 1 reply)
Fast runner
I worked for a well known purveyor of sports clothing, the one the rioters really like. A fella came in with a pair of trainers in a box that he said were faulty. However, before he would show them me he said that they were his sons, and his son doesn't lie. Ever. So before I look at them I have to understand that his son is telling the truth. Ok, says I, lets have a look whats happened.

He took out a shoe that was pretty much brand new, no damage, bit of muck on it but otherwise fine. Then he took out the second shoe. This looked as though it had been attacked with a blowtorch. The sole and midsole was totally melted. You know when you have a pizza, and lift a slice up, and the cheese goes stringy? There were whisps of rubber like that. This was a pair of Nike running shoes, visible air bubble and all. It was completely gone.

He said his son was running in the playground and decided he needed to speed up to overtake his friend and he must have gone so fast that he melted the sole. But just one of them. As you can imagine, I'm struggling to remain professional here. Theres a grin creeping up on me that is getting hard to resist. I asked how old his son was, 15 was the answer. So we've got a potential Usain Bolt on our hands here it seems. I pointed out that world class sprinters would wear shoes of this ilk and that wouldnt happen, but no, his son doesn't lie.

20 minutes later I'm still not getting through to him that some external heat source, other than friction, must have been applied to it. We'd been round and round and round and he was starting to make a scene, telling other customers that I was selling defective shoes etc. So I said as a gesture of goodwill I'd send the shoes of to head office for them to inspect, maybe they could send them to Nike or something. He agreed to this.

Fast forward 3 days and the bloke at head office is on the phone pissing himself at the story. They're not getting swapped so they're coming back to the customer. I rang the guy when they arrived and far from being angry with me, he was very cordial and almost sheepish. He agreed to come and pick the shoes up. When he arrived he said his son had a confession to make. Turns out his mate had nicked his shoe during a lesson and hidden it. On top of a boiler/radiator or something. It had melted the sole and keen to avoid a pasting from angry dad, he'd made up his sprinting story.

That was one of the saner customers we used to get.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 14:17, 1 reply)
B n Q
Worked in the paint dept.
Woman asked for Acrylic paint.
Showed her it but she thought it was expensive.
Told her it was because they made it from Acrylics which are like south american guinea pigs.
She didn't buy any and said she would write and complain.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 14:06, 4 replies)
don't take men shopping.

We don't bloody like it.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 14:02, 11 replies)
At the tender age of 16 I had a Saturday job in a now defunct DIY store chain.

The manager, a greasy haired overweight 40 something (aren't they all?), asked me to change all the blown bulbs on the lighting display but failed to tell his assistant.

When the erstwhile assistant came back from lunch, he noticed the lights were out and promptly switched them all back on just as I was trying to find the hole (oo-er missus) on a particularly tricky garden light.

Cue 240v shock up the arm and a 12 foot journey off a stepladder and down the aisle.

I remember thinking the buzz was quite good for about 20 minutes, but then vomited violently for the rest of the afternoon.
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 13:55, 1 reply)

EDIT: Hurumpf
(, Thu 10 May 2012, 13:54, Reply)

(, Thu 10 May 2012, 13:54, 2 replies)

This question is now closed.

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