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Friday, 19 December 2014


This is a true story - I was that retail soldier - and, a little reminder of the kind of thing shop staff have to put up with at this and every other time of the year.

I was managing a food/non-food superstore a few years ago and a customer asked to see me.  I found my way to the customer service desk and, although I am six feet tall, this guy seemed to tower above me.  His girth was wider than mine too and as I looked up at him I prayed that this was not going to end in tears - mine.

I stuck my hand out to shake his but he ignored it and started bawling: "Lime marmalade. You've got none."  I went through the motions of saying that I would check for him but he told me that someone had already been to the stock room. "Why haven't you got any?"  I told him I didn't know but I would find out and let him know by phone that afternoon.
"What?" he bellowed, "I am not leaving this shop without lime marmalade."
"But we haven't any in stock, sir."
"Don't call me sir. Stop patronising me."
"I'm sorry, I don't mean to patronise you. I apologise for not having lime marmalade in the store but I will have to contact the buying team in head office to see if they can get it on the inventory."
"Ridiculous," he shouted and with that he threw the empty handbasket he was carrying at me, told me to stuff my shop up my arse and stormed away.  The wire basket struck my chin but, heroically, I didn't wince.

In a mid sigh as I watched him leave, I spotted that he had turned round and was heading back my way. "I'll be back tomorrow at 10 o'clock to buy a jar of Rose's lime marmalade and you better have it or I'll not be responsible for my actions."  He turned on his heels and walked briskly out of the door.  I sent someone out to a rival supermarket for a jar of lime marmalade and kept it locked in a drawer.  The next morning, the clock ticked in High Noon fashion.  10 o'clock, no customer. 10.15, no customer.  10.30, nope.  12.00, nada.  He didn't show up at all, ever again, to my knowledge.  "What a (s)lime ball, I thought, in a moment of retail blasphemy.

People in shops have much to put up with day in, day out.  

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