I read a wee post earlier by The Wonderful And Wacky World Of One Single Mom about customer service.
It reminded me about a time when I had a little Christmas job working in M&S.
For those unfamiliar with Marks & Spencers, it’s one of the more ‘upmarket’ food stores in the UK and Ireland.
What makes it upmarket? Instead of mashed potatoes they call them ‘crushed’ and they use a fancier font on their packaging than Asda.
If you’re going to shop in one of the Dublin branches you may want to sell an organ on the black market first. I suspect whoever is calculating the exchange rate may have a mild dyslexia problem.
Anywho, that said I regularly have my head buried in their chillers fishing out their mango-and-fancy-pants salad or a nice block of Wensleydale-and-la-de-dah cheese.
Back to the story. Christmas in Marksies is a complete cattle market. Ladies with perfectly coiffed hair roll up their sleeves and engage in one-to-one combat for the last jar of brandy butter.
Nectar of the Gods
This particular day I was on the tills happily beeping the day away when the alarm went off – a suspicious package had been found in the kids clothing section. (I still maintain it was simply an empty Lidl bag and management were so horrified they activated a code red situation)
A handy tip:
If you ever want to find a genuine Belfast person – fake a bomb scare. We’ve been through so many of them that while the foreigners are galloping for the doors, we’ll have our hands on the floor checking the temperature. If it’s cool enough to touch, there’s no need to panic, finish your pint.
Annnyway, back to M&S…
We were supposed to close the tills and leave but I was almost finished scanning the current customer’s shopping – the last item (the fabled brandy butter) was in my mitt. Just as I was about to scan we had this lovely exchange:
Helmet Hair: For God’s sake! Will you hurry up?! I have places to be!!
(I immediately decided this woman’s Christmas shopping was going nowhere)
Me: *cloud of darkness passing overhead* We all have places to be, a bomb might go off.
Helmet Hair: And? Gimme that jar! Will you hurry up and let me pay??
Me: *places brandy butter just out of reach and logs out of till while mentally cackling like an evil lunatic* I’m awful sorry but we need to clear the building. If you could make your way to the nearest exit…
Helmet Hair: What? You take this money now! Where is your manager?? Blah de blah blah blah!
Me: Happy Christmas! *flounces happily to escalator*
I’ll never forget the look on that woman’s face as her notions of the perfect Christmas dinner crumbled to ruins around her. Actually, the shade of her face was more impressive – I thought she might be the first one to detonate.
I also saw that split second when she was tempted to lift the lot and make for the doors. If it was me, I totally would have walked out with it all, I salute her self restraint!
Despite the whole risk-of-explosion thing it wasn’t too bad a day at all. We all got to hang around the assembly point eating sausage rolls on the clock. By the time we went back to collect our personals, sure wasn’t it hometime? I never did get round to trying brandy butter either…