As some of you might know from a previous post: https://mjmallon.com/2015/12/13/retail-inspiration-yuletide-style/
I have been working as a Christmas temp in John Lewis Cambridge, and yesterday was my last day. It has been quite an enlightening and interesting experience in many ways. I started off with oodles and oodles of training. John Lewis puts a lot of priority on staff training so if you want to go into retail in a serious way this definitely is the company to work for. Or if perhaps you might be a student looking for some extra cash while studying, or a return to work mum looking for their first venture back to work…. Or a hopeful author a.k.a someone like me….. Whoever you are John Lewis will take you on if you are prepared to work hard.
Amongst the till training, laws about selling knives, and other hazardous substances we learnt all about different kinds of fire hazards, including chip pan fires!! Hence the funny photo at the top of my post…… An extinguisher would be very appropriate if you happen to work in their staff canteen, and are regularly using industrial sized deep pan fryers. But somehow they didn’t warn us about lesser hazards and potential injuries such as the kimble gun, paper cuts, or staple accidents, etc, which happen on the shop floor!
Here are some of my amusing highlights, I hope you like them:
- I tend to be a bit accident prone. I managed to cut myself, on shelfing, prick my finger with the point of a kimble gun, drawing blood. This sharp needle like device is used to secure tags to gloves, hats, etc. As well as this a fellow member of staff also stapled her finger at the till! Quite a feat, I’m not quite sure how she managed to do this……
- Not content with that alone, in the stock room I nearly squashed a fellow member of staff between the unsuspecting racks of clothes, by moving the large winding rack without checking anyone was in there. Oops. I’m so glad she alerted me to her presence up a ladder. She shouted! I would too! It’s bad enough climbing up ladders without being at the mercy of people like me….
- I’ve had some odd requests from customers and witnessed some strange ones too. A gentleman asked me to take a photo so I asked him what he’d like me to photograph, and he said himself, dressed in his John Lewis jacket and cap. Then he asked me for my impression of the overall look. He was quite handsome ,……
- One day a man came to my till and said he had a business meeting and he needed to buy something more suitable to wear so he proceeded to buy exactly the same designer black polo shirt, and jeans that he was currently wearing.. How strange, there was no difference at all, and the ones he was wearing didn’t even look worn. It does make me wonder why? Why would he spend so much money to buy exactly the same clothes, in the same colour? Was he about to murder someone in his current set and he needed a clean outfit for later? Ah, this is what happens if you write, you imagine scenarios everywhere… No one can escape your scrutiny.
- At the till point one of the younger members of staff, a particularly cheerful young chap, who seemed to be particularly keen and vocal in his enthusiasm for customer care was asked to model a children’s hat for a customer, he obliged. It was a monster woolly hat, that covered the majority of his face like a balaclava. Afterwards I remarked that I wish we had had a polaroid camera behind the till to take his photo as evidence of his embarrassing moment.
- On my last day we had fireworks at the till, well not real ones, just bubble wrap being popped by a nineteen year old co-worker who likes to burst the bubbles on the wrap. Of course it was quiet at the time, she didn’t keep the customers waiting!!
- There were hugs, a card, with the following message from my boss: “Thanks for your support over Xmas, good luck with your writing, you may be the next J K Rowling!!” No pressure then! Last but certainly not least a pressie of Double Choc Chip Biscuits from Liberty London. Yum… Looking forward to eating these this weekend on my trip to London to go prom shopping for a dress for my daughter!