Diary of Jo Public

A recount of some of the true incidents that Jo witness's during her anything but normal day


3. A Career Change?

My week of rest and relaxation is over, well thats what the powers that be call it, quite frankly I'm pleased to be going back to work for a rest!  Oh my Friday night boogie I hear you cry, well it started off with just 2 of us going instead of 3, and kinda went down hill from there.  3 acts on the bill, over the years I have become a convert to the first act who in all fairness was great. The middle act who I never liked even in the 70's, that 1970's not the 1870's, were very loud, but 1 thing in their favour they do have a great Fan website, I've been monitoring the thoughts of their fans during the week, well being flat bound there was nout else to do.  And the fans seem to of nailed this concert to the wire.  The 'headline' act was, hmmmm how to put this tactfully.....sorry them words are not in my vocabulary, rubbish (for want of something better, but not knowing who maybe reading this).  Now this is a group I have been a true follower of for 30 years, My absent son having even been on stage with them, heck I've been with them longer than hubby, I wished I'd followed his lead, or maybe that of past shows where the audience left after the first 2.  So no real boogie, Just a little thought saying maybe next time they are in London, I need to be washing my hair. I leave the other half to Tom and Jerry, who claim to be finished by wednesday, but which Wednesday???  I escape back to the insanity of work heart singing.  Normality resumes.  Tuesday comes and goes with all the speed of a tortoise.  Wednesday after getting in at 8 and doing the returns, (these are items left behind by our great customers for one reason or another.  As a store we have 5 colleagues that are employed as returners but there is more than they can cope with, that plus combined with their speed of ultra slow or dead stop.) I grab my breakfast break.  Now I'm not one to buy food from our canteen, but brekie is usually ok, they can't mess about to much with bacon and rolls. she says thoughtfully.  I wander back down, so you do, just fast enough to avoid any customer looking for help, but slow enough to prolong it.  While waiting to be allocated my till, well it lets the feel important if they tell me where to go and I usually then proceed to tell them  .  Tracey was trying to make sense of her list, the fact shes been doing the job for 15 years still don't mean she knows what shes doing.  Although a very clever woman, she has perfected the same act I have, how to walk about with a bit of paper looking busy, so management leave you alone. Just as we agree a till, funny its the same 1 I set up camp on with my stuff on at 8am, James came scuttling over.  Too late, caught empty handed! . He needs me, yep and I need him like a hole in the head.  I get dragged off to 'assist' him much to the delight of everyone else who kept their heads down, well I haven't got eye in the back of my head now have I?  We proceed to customer service where we join Brain, minus for once his clipboard, and a strange looking individual, 'Good, I need a woman,  come on' he says.  Now I have to choices, to bolt for the door which is to my right and head for the hills, or follow.  Well yep my curiosity had the better of me, so we set off in a kind of conga. James leading the way, Brain and this woman in the middle, followed by me and Elvis, our security guard, for want of a better title.  We head to a little room just behind the checkouts.  The 'holding room' . In we all train, once the door is shut, Brain starts the interrogation, I look round for the spot light.  The room is smallish, but filled with a lovely scent of Eau de Ineedabath, It appears even to my untrained eye that this lady not only does not speak English, but also does not have any money to pay for what she hid in her bag. 2 bottles of white wine,  not your cheap plonk, oh no this stuff is like £6.99 a bottle, must be good coz they didn't invest the money on the label.  Having no ID and little english, Brain is starting to strut around like a male peacock, alot would say all cock and no pea ot even all pea and no cock, but hey this is my boss, I wouldn't dare think such a thing.  The lady, again my grammar lets me down here,  doesn't speak english but understands enough to know shes in it up to the tide mark on her neck.  Elvis has disappeared now back to his post, Brian decides as she has no id and claims to be homeless to call the police.  He leaves James and I in the pungent room.  I'm there to back-up James as its a woman, well we think, neither of us want to get that close.  Wasu, the boy genius from personnel sticks his head in, good job we'd open the door slightly, and take the wine off to be scanned, upon his return he gleefully informs me that I need to search her coat! sorry but my arms aren't long enough, strange she seems to understand this and undoes her jacket.  Well not wanting to look a complete twit I start to 'pat' it down, very gently while trying to look like I know what I'm doing,  seems fine, even if I felt something I wasn't going to investigate. James and I start talking about anything to take our minds of the odour, we discuss what we would do if it had been food and a little old lady, not some mid 40's european alcoholic.  Tricky this 1, as theft is theft and without it, prices would be lower, we both agree that we'd probably pay for it ourselves.  A sense of mutual comradeship develops.  Our prisoner by now is giggling about indicating she need a bathroom break, we both hope for a wash but seems unlikely.  James summons Elvis and we set off in a 3 person conga to the toilets.  James leading to block any escape route, I have to 'accompany' her into the facitilitys, once shes done, go in and make sure nothing has been discarded that we could use as evidence. Oh the glamour of it all.  We dance our way back to the holding room.  James has a go a 'fixing' the air conditioning, it helps slightly,  Our guest sits on the floor, James hovering by the doorway is now on lookout for any sign of the boys in blue.  Only we need a female as well, which seems to be the hold up, they can't find one.  While on sentry duty he is fair game for all staff, he can't move away and become busy elsewhere, he is as much a prisoner as she is.  Standing just out of eye line of the door, as 1 does, I get an insight into the staffing issues and grievances of my colleagues, gee whizz if thats all they gotta moan about then heaven help us. By this time the clock is starting its way to lunch time, the hungry masses are descending and service calls are going out over the tannoy like wild fire.  With a service call 7 or 77 all till trained staff hit the tills, they don't do anything just hit them.  5-10 semi trained bod's to help clear the queues.  I see through the crack in the door my till has not been given out.  By now, we've been closeted away for an hour and half, Our guest starts rambling in something or other, we pick out the odd word, James tries to answer her, which If I had recorded it, would earn me a fortune on U-Tube, or in a blackmail fee.  She says she doesn't understand, but we both know she understands alot more than shes letting on, By now its noon, and there is 1 till empty, yep yours truelys.  Jackie from personnel pops in to relive me, she gives a sniff and raises her eyes as I escape to the sanity of the Great British public. The queues having been disbursed, I sit watching the holding room, this is why I like being this end of the shop, you can see what goes on, that and the fact its the closest I can get to the doors before 5pm.  Brain, just like the genie in the lamp, appears complete with trusty clipboard, and I see the woman being allowed to scurry off.  Seems like after 2 hours he's fed up of waiting for a woman police officer, and worked out how much in paid man or in my case woman hours its just cost him keep 2 of us cooped up with ms. hygiene 1935, and let her go.  I spot James rushing for the air spray, as he passes me he gives me a much needed squirt.  Wandering my way home at 5pm, I discovered the reason why there was no women police officer's free, the local rugrat's at day camp which also passes for a school had a cat fight, so they were all assigned there.  Not a bad day on the whole, almost 5 hours of doing nothing, do I fancy a change in roles? Not on your nelly! 

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