Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Supermarket Jokes

Anyone who works in a supermarket will know the extent of hell you experience while being there. Time drags to lengths you have never experienced. The place is windowless and perpetually lit by a grid of flimsy light fittings above you, row after row. Everything is uniform, repetitive, and the constant fluorescent din leaves you void of any sense of night or day. It’s like Vegas but with ugly people and you can buy soup there.

And the most depressing part: the patrons. A sense of “the customer is always right” morphed and exaggerated in their annoying skulls, they have no worry personally berating any employee they can find, for something usually stemming from their own error. Knowing a man in front of me is a stupid piece of shit, I have many a time smiled at a flurry of abuse centred on my own apparent stupidity.

They creep around the place either smelling like piss or yelling at their 6 kids as if it was their own living room, and the most predictable thing about them is their mathematically repetitive jokes. Every joke seems to be on a slow moving conveyor belt, and like clockwork, customers will tell me the exact same jokes at various times in the day. The phenomenon is the only interesting thing about a supermarket, and I took it upon myself to record them.

"I only came in for one thing."

It’s funny that they make that joke because they’re oblivious to the extent they’re actually being robbed at that very moment. You don’t even need to know anything to figure out that no large company is genuinely interested in giving you cheaper shit. They just want to con you into buying more. “Ooh I’ll have that it’s buy one get one free!”, wake up, you didn’t want it in the first place. You only came in for milk and now you’re spending 20 quid on angel cakes and Muller yoghurt. So ha ha, by the way I’m laughing at you not with you.

"Smile/cheer up!"

Whether I'm in a supermarket or not, I've always hated this, it's insulting. It implies that my face looks shit, and in the mood I get into while stuck in a place with no windows for hours on end, I vehemently take it on as a breach of my human rights to be told to move my face unnecessarily. It also takes up valuable energy I could spend doodling on a receipt, as well as the fact that a weekend job is all about doing as little as you possibly can.

"I thought I'd come to you 'cause you look bored/lonely!"

I am bored, and will be bored whether you’re here or not. Your presence doesn’t figure slightly on my general experience of working here, unless you’re shouting at me. This is interesting because although the customers can subject employees to high levels of anguish, the unpleasantness of sitting behind a till for hours on end is not altered slightly by the presence of anyone else. The routine becomes so deeply engrained and automatic, that you’re basically having a nap for 4 hours. Except it’s a nap where someone is shining bright light in your eyes and moving your arms around against your will.

"I'd like help carrying them home/paying for them!"

This is usually said to me after I’ve offered help with packing their bags. I always have to pretend I’ve never heard the sheer hilarity of it before. But no, dear customer, I don’t do that and that joke isn’t funny.

"Of course I don't need help, I'm not that old/only bought a few things!"

This is another common quip delivered shortly after offering bag packing. It is generally a waste of energy because it is annoyingly ignorant of them to assume I’m asking because I actually think they need help. My dear, I don’t even look at your face, I’m just reading a script.

"Thanks/see you later ANNA!" (Sometimes followed by a wink.)

Oh you’re clever aren’t you, you took the time to look at my name badge then wittily used it as you leave. I’m bowled over. Especially if you’re a middle aged man and all you’re buying is vodka and tampons for your wife (yeah, these men still creep on me).

"Not got long left!"

This is a sweet remark usually made by old people. But I don’t think they understand that it makes no difference how long I have left, every second is as excruciating as the last. A supermarket is the only place I’ve been in my life where it doesn’t matter if you only have ten minutes left, it’s still horrible.

"These machines are fucking rubbish!" (Self scan)

They’re not rubbish, in fact their biggest flaw is that they’re designed so precisely to negate human error, that they give alerts every single time YOU do something wrong. Which winds you up and makes you shout at me. The machine is perfectly fine, you’re the idiot.

Another fun thing about this is that they tell me they’re just going to go to Tescos. Please, if I can ask you one thing, if I was dying and I only had one last request, it would be that you PLEASE, I BEG OF YOU, just DON’T go to Tesco instead of here! No please, wait! I’ll do anything! Noo!


Anna xxx

1 comment:

Chelsea.x said...

This post made me very happy. All of these things also count when you work in a pharmacy. I also frequently get "Oooh, you've got a cough/sore throat/headache? Well! You're in the right place, aren't you!" No. I'm not. You are giving me the headache. When i leave the pharmacy, and go anywhere else, my headache goes also. Damn public.