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» Jobsworths

Fame and celebrity...
One of the few perks of working on a motorway service station is the chance to meet many celebrities and famous faces.

The beauty of this is that for every genuinely impressive celebrity you meet, an equally random yet amusing z-list celeb will follow them in. So, for every Jarvis Cocker, Dave Grohl or Helen Baxendale you meet, you're just as likely to come face-to-face with a Russell Grant or (my personal favourite) a Chuckle Brother.

Ironically however, the celeb who came in the most was also the most famous of all; David Beckham. We were based just down the road from his Beckingham Palace, and most people at work had served or seen him at least once. Sometimes he'd be driving, sometimes driven, and on special occasions he might also be accompanied by the spotty mess he calls a wife.

On one such occasion Becks came in to fill up with petrol on a blazing hot but quiet Monday afternoon. Festooned in his traditional beenie (in case he was spotted), he strolled down from his meaty 4x4 and into the shop to pay. At the time, I was working with a lovely, bright and hard-working Indian lad called Sandeep. As nice a colleague as he was, Sandeep (bless 'im) had very little knowledge of footy.

Although I was desperate to serve Becks so I could try and engage him in some amusing football based banter, he went first to Sandeep who was oblivious to who he was serving. Becks cooly peeled a fifty note off the roll to pay for his forty quid's worth of juice.

What happened next deeply amused me, as Jobsworth Sandeep reacted as if he'd been given a hand grenade. He suspiciously eyed Becks and proceeded to go through the entire rigmarole we'd normally reserve for some pikey handing us a fifty note to pay for a Mars Bar. He checked for the watermark, made a small rip to check for the metal grain and finally ran a special detector marker pen over the note, all as an increasingly tiresome Beckham looked on.

It's with no small pride that I chose the moment to take my chance to engage David, as I said loudly to Sandeep: "It's OK mate, I think he's good for it", and then winked at Beckham! And you know what? He loved it.

Normal apologies apply.
(Fri 13th May 2005, 10:40, More)

» Petty Sabotage

Service Station Tills
Whilst young and stupid my friend and I would amuse ourselves on the ancient tills we used at a certain BP Service Station.

We quickly discovered how to change the names of any product, having been given the access key by a painfully naive manager (who never made the same mistake again).

We renamed loads of everyday items, sniggering as they flashed up on the tillpoint in front of bemused customers.

Looking back, they weren't all that funny, but a few I remember converting are:

Beef and Onion Crisps - "Bunions"
Salted Peanuts - "Salty Nuts"
Sanitary Towels - "Jam Rags" (please forgive me)
Cigarettes - "Bifters"
...and my personal favourite...
Milk - "Cow Juice"

And that loud pop you hear is the destruction of my b3ta virginity.
(Wed 4th May 2005, 16:38, More)