Friday, 18 December 2009

The Further Adventures Of Till Monkey……..

Now I personally wouldn’t count myself as the perfect human being. I’m pretty close though. A few years in deep cognitive behavioural therapy, and maybe the ability to inhabit another humans body, and I think that you would have perfection pretty much nailed on.

So, non-perfect I may be, but I pale into significance in comparison to the other people I have met this week.

Compared to them I am a God!

Worldly wise, benevolent, and almost regal in the way I conduct myself. I am nothing like the shivering warm shits of people that I have encountered in these hellish few days.

The till monkey lives on........

I found myself in a different department at the start of this week. I was in the wine section. The very exclusive, so costly it will make your eyeballs bleed, wine section.

My first duties were to accompany a strange lady, who I shall call Betty, amongst the cavernous labyrinth that is the department stores stock rooms, while we gathered goods to take out onto the department floor. The stockrooms consisted of huge damp corridors with flickering lights that seemed straight out of a horror film. It reminded me so badly of the set of Aliens that I kept on expecting to see the darting shape of a xenomorph flit between the isles. I half hoped I would turn a corner and see the Alien Queen herself, but instead of birthing facehugger eggs, she was shitting out boxes of Paul Smith designer spring water (£16.99)

Betty was a strange woman though. About four feet high, she scurried through the dim light like one of Tolkien’s hobbits. I imagined her when she started this job as being five feet and full of life, but the years of isolation within this dungeon like stock rooms had robbed her of all vitality (and height) and also the ability to communicate with other humans. Trying to talk with her was a bloody nightmare. I would settle on one topic of conversation, only for her to veer off on a completely different direction without any given notice. It was like when you used to get crossed lines on the telephone. One minute we would be talking about how much stock we would be taking out to the floor, the next I found myself discussing her older sister’s bad foot. I found it very hard to keep up.

“Ohh, its dark in here.” was Betty’s mantra as we walked around, trying not to disturb too much of the stock and have it fall on our fragile bodies. That was all she kept repeating. “Ohh, it’s dark in here.”

Oh, and getting my name wrong at every given opportunity as well. Ben. Van. David. All were flung at me until I grew to weary to correct her in the end.

I liked Van the most.

Van would be a cool name.

She stopped at one point and held up a jar of strawberry jam to her face, trying to read the product code.

“Ohh its dark in here.” She said, trying to read the numbers in the dim light.

“Perhaps they should print them in Braille?” I suggested helpfully.

Betty gave me a stern look.

“Blindness is no laughing matter.” she told me “I had a cat that was going blind. It wasn’t funny. It kept falling off my table because it couldn’t see the end of it.”

I had to chew the insides of my mouth to try and not laugh out loud.

Eventually I found myself back in the wine section, free to be let loose on the public.

Now bear in mind I know nothing about alcohol due to the fact I am not much of a drinker. So after about five minutes of arriving on the floor, I found myself confronted by a rather posh man waving an expensive bottle of red wine at my face.

“Could you tell be about this bottle?” he asked me with an accent that screamed MONEY.

“Errrr.” I could only reply, staring in alarm at this sudden problem that had materialized out of nowhere.

What could I say?

It’s red?

It’s horrendously expensive.

It will get you shitfaced?

Luckily for me, one of the other full time workers saw my distress and stepped in to help.

“This is a beautiful little number sir, matured in Tuscany. Deep flavours, hint of vanilla, lovely aftertaste. Very popular at the moment.”

The rich customer was lapping it up, nodding at everything the sales associate was saying.

I could sense a way to amuse myself here........

If you’re a rich customer, you can just say anything to them and they will believe you, as they think as you’re in this department, you must be some kind of an expert.

I am not an expert on anything.

Other than bullshit.

I’m bloody good at that.....

The wine department was run by a beautiful person. Mini skirt. Heels. Attitude. So I would have to be careful around her, for I was only a mere till monkey and not even fit enough to look in her beautiful person direction. But when I found myself on my own, and someone came up to me for an opinion, I let my creative side run riot.

“Could you tell me about this wine? Is it considered decent?” I was asked at one point.

“Very decent sir.” I replied in my best I-KNOW-WHAT-I’M-TALKING-ABOUT voice.

“Considered by many to be at the forefront of its generation” (eh?) “Subtle hints of wood, smoky, with the barest glimmer of Evokes memories of bonfire night, the crackle of the flames, the cold nipping at your cheeks. A very popular wine sir.”

He was nodding at everything I had to say. I half expected him to suddenly call my bluff and report me for talking bollocks. But he didn’t.

He bought three bottles.

I’m good.

And this is how I have spent the last week amusing myself. Seeing how far I can push it before I get rumbled.

I’m still going strong.

Some of the fellow temps that work with me are quite nice. There is a nice black fella who always greets me in the morning with a groovy handshake that always leaves me confused. I like it though because it makes me feel urban.

One of the other temps is a little Indian fella, and the reason he stands out is that he is one of those people that if you make a mistake, he immediately draws everybody else’s attention to it.

I hate people like that.

Today I was serving someone who came in to buy some cigarettes. Now somehow I managed to press a combination of buttons on the till to ring it though as £400,000.

A rather large amount.

A funny mistake.

Easy to correct.

“Bloody hell!” said the customer “I knew this place was expensive, but that’s taking the piss!”

We laughed at the customer’s wit and I made moves to void it off.

And then my little friend had to get involved.

“That’s too much!” he cried out loud on seeing the amount that was displayed on my till “You have made a mistake.”

“Do you think?” I muttered darkly.

But now he was off. Speaking loudly and trying to get other people’s attention.

“Look at his till. He has made a mistake. I will do it for you.”

I could see the lady beautiful person manager look over. There was no way I wanted her to see this simple, but embarrassing, mistake.

“It’s ok.” I said to my annoying little friend. “I will sort it out.”

But he wouldn’t leave me alone.

“What are you going to do?” he said, standing at my side, still talking in that far too loud voice. “What are you going to do?”

Over and over again.......

I snapped.

“I tell you what I’m going to do!” I hissed in a low voice so the customer wouldn’t hear. “I’m going to stick this fucking pencil in your eye if you don’t shut up and leave me alone!”

My little friend’s eyes went huge as he saw me wave the offending pencil at him and he slowly backed away.

A little over the top?


He shut up though.

But he is now not talking to me.

I can live with that.

I am till monkey.


hope said...

Betty scares me. I fear she'll start calling you "Precious" next.

And yes. I laughed at the blind cat part. Not a big fan of cats. But it was Betty's intense ire which set me off. And the giggling felt good.

One of the policemen I once worked with told me, who was often too polite to the point of invisible, that there was one simple trick to dealing with the public. "Say it like you mean it, with authority, and they will believe you."

That trick is more valuable than money. Well, until you have to pay bills.

As for the little know-it-all from India...ask him how he escaped from the Tech phone service for Computer Land...and who's minding it in his absence? :)

Ring on, little till monkey. And thanks for the new monkey to gaze upon. You rock!

thatgalkiki said...

Betty scares me too, so does that last pic. :)

You, on the other hand, make me want to read more and more...

Great post!


Eva Gallant said...

That was very entertaining! Keep the posts coming!

Midnitefyrfly said...

hahahaha - oh the joys of working with the people that have too much money, too much time to spend it, not enough time to figure out what they are buying, and you as their source of information. I survived quite some time in retail, internally laughing at all of the BS I managed to come up with.

UberGrumpy said...

Resign, Dan, resign, it's getting to you

JenJen said...

Dear Van,
Your new name is sexy!

Shazaam, hot stuff....


Anonymous said...

Hmm. Time to back away slowly...

mo.stoneskin said...

I love it when customers say "Bloody Hell". Ideally they would say "Bloody Hell Bauldrick".

If you give me the address of your store I may pop in and oblige.

ladytruth said...

I can just see in my mind's eye this little Indian guy running around yelping with a pencil in his eye. At least it's not up his bum :)