Next please…

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…

Published by

An Irish Procrastinator

Penitent. Irish. Faffer.

20 thoughts on “Next please…”

  1. Another great laugh. In America we have the same grouchy customers at Christmas time as well. I don’t know what it is about one of the happiest times of the year and people getting pushy and rude with sales people. I hated working retail during the holidays.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I adore brandy butter – as in I can make a couple of pounds of it and eat it with a spoon. Praising the lid of a mince pie and shoving in a good spoonful and eating it is fabulous. It’s basically buttercream with brandy instead of vanilla except I’m a lot more heavy handed with brandy than I am vanilla! I love M&S. I love their roast chicken pies, cooked mini cocktail sausages, coffee cake, bread and especially their cream cakes. I’d sell a kidney to have an M&S near me. ‘I’m indoors could function fine with just one surely??

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pff! What’s the point of getting married if not to rob the odd internal organ?? I never knew what brandy butter even tasted like. Anyone over 65 up here goes nuts for it! Holy God Marksies bread-they do a bake at home ciabatta with black olives! Bliss! Or these little Jaffa cake dessert things…I always stick them in the vegetable drawer because it’s the only place my mini me won’t check!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Empty all bran boxes are my hiding place of choice! I may have put choc ices in lean cuisine boxes too. I don’t think that counts as sin. God wouldn’t give us devious minds if he didn’t want us to use them!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, this is hilarious! That last deserved you go home without her shopping!

    One of the few things I remember from living in Northern Ireland is my step-dad checking under the car for suspicious objects whenever we went outside the barracks. Nobody ever believed that had actually happened when I told them years later.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not sure I would call him smart 😂😂 I’m pretty sure we were under strict instructions from the army.
        We also had bomb practices as well as fire drills at every one of my primary schools (I went to three)… when I moved to Northumberland in my teens I was called a liar when I told people that!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is precisely why one must never be rude to the people servicing you. What’s not to stop your plumber from leaving you a toilet present or the sales clerk from “losing” that last-minute item you need pulled from the shelf?

    Liked by 1 person

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