Monday, September 04, 2006

Sex Pest Spectacular

I have a long week of night shifts ahead of me, but I better cope; I stuck my hand up and offered to take them on, on a long term basis provided I could ditch the Sundays.

My employers being what they are they've heard what they want, which is to say they've heard the bit about me doing week-day nights but not the bit about giving me back my Sundays. New admin manager has come in and is flexing her muscle; put my preferred option on the table and explained how we'd work it and she said 'umm' and 'errr' and 'weeeelll', and then proved she's a total corporate girl by adding the standard-grade clincher, which is "I'll have to ask..."

This will all sort itself out over the next four weeks.

I've stood my ground before. They fold like a house of cards when subject to even the slightest force.

Mean time Sunday wasn't funday this week. Most of the management were in, the remainder are on sick leave. I walked in to the worst atmosphere I've known ... Hairdo and Scrawny Bint at their desks, back to back. Had they been suitably armed they'd have drawn swords and shot each other.

Having been out at a Hen Night the previous night I wasn't in the mood for their, well, moodiness; so headed onto the shop floor to get things ready for opening. Eventually Scrawny Bint hit the shop floor too, round on the other side and I could get back in and do the stuff I need to do in the office ahead of opening.

Hairdo had hardly opened her mouth to say good morning when I arrived, but after a while she began to talk. Turns out she's going back into hospital in a couple of weeks for further investigation of some problem in her abdomen; she's been on symptom-masking medication since the beginning of the year but has had to come off in the run up to the procedure and as a consequence is increasingly uncomfortable. She certainly looked genuinely and significantly unwell.

That was only half the story, of course. But before I got to that I had to negotiate the Sex Pest. Not my Sex Pest (aka The Stud or The General Manager), but Scrawny Bint's. It's almost but not quite entirely inevitable that when she's in he's not far behind.

Which only adds to the general stressfulness of Sundays... I am not sure I fully understand why it is but Sundays are the worst day of the week for Stress. We're all in two hours before the shop opens, except check-out staff who have the luxury of strolling in at (theoretically) five minutes before opening. We've oodles of time to get the load broken down and distributed, the newspapers assembled and the kiosk generally prepped. We've also at least until the summer kiddies drop out got sufficient staff to get us through.

All things are relative of course and we get through the last couple of hours of Saturday night with a skeleton crew than can be as low as four or five (management excluded). That's a total of four or five staff covering the entire store, shop floor, warehouse and at least two check-outs. So yes, we have staff coming out our ears on Sunday.

We've got two on greengrocery, two on dairy, two on deli, two on bakery, two on frozen and perhaps a dozen covering the rest of the shop floor and check-outs. And we're only open for six hours, because the law says we can't open before 10:00 am or remain open after 4:00pm on Sunday.

Somehow the simple task of selling to the general public for six whole hours induces panic in the Sex Pest. He has to know at least 48 hours in advance exactly who will be working any Sunday he's on duty. And all the information has to be presented to him on a special form of his devising and which is totally unfit for purpose (and omits a couple of key departments as well).

My first inkling that the Sex Pest might be in the building was a request for said form from Scrawny Bint; which at first I thought peculiar but lat realised was just her dealing with her master's Sunday morning Panic attack.

Peace descended when they retreated to his office for a quick round of what ever it is they get up to behind that closed door. Later in the day Scrawny Bint boasts that there's nothing that goes on in the store she doesn't know about, which gives a certain credence to the suggestion I've heard that she's pumping him for information... Ew. At least it was in his office. What really grosses me out is the idea of the pair of them getting down and dirty among the warehouse stacks.

A little while after we opened, while we're on the subject, Mrs Sex Pest rang and I happened to be passing so answered the call. Now I've spoken with her many, many times and I'm fairly familiar with her voice. Like just about everyone else who rings us she won't bother to introduce herself but will instead launch into what ever is she wants to say. On the other hand she's normally intelligible. She sounded totally stoned. She asked some semi-gibberish question about 'who was on duty rota' in response to which I asked to be told who I was speaking with. I got the same question, or something very like it so I asked my question a second time.

Leaving aside the old saying that one should never answer a question with a question I believe my stand to be perfectly reasonable, though if anyone has any thoughts on phone etiquette and whether I'm being unreasonable or antiquated (I know I'm being antediluvian) please share them.

Eventually - I can be a stubborn old thing - she caved in and admitted to being Mrs Sex Pest. Her reward for her candour was to be told that the rostered duty manager was Scrawny Bint. I got a bit more mumbling and then the 'phone put down on me. Hairdo had been an interested spectator; when I explained the side of the call she'd not been able to hear she turned an even more interesting shade of grey and got straight on the phone to the sex pest to give him chapter and verse.

Once more peace reigned. In fact we got through to lunch time, unreliable card transaction system and all before the proverbial hit the fan. A short pugnacious middle-aged twat returned with his incomplete copy of the Sunday Times. Having found the young girl on the kiosk to be an unworthy opponent he insisted that I enter the fray. I apologised. I explained that the missing section hadn't been delivered. I apologised. I promised I'd look into why I hadn't been told about the missing sections. I apologised. I promised I'd investigate what could be done to prevent this happening again. I apologised. I offered this uber-jackass his money back.

The sad truth was the little turd hadn't come back in for a solution; he'd come in for a fight, to take his frustration over his micro-penis out on someone other than his long-suffering little woman.

Someone else called during the afternoon to complain about the Sunday Times missing sections so I vented at Sex Pest after getting no satisfaction with Scrawny Bint. He had got to her first after all.

Sex pest spent the afternoon in the office getting under everyone's feet. I took my chance to offer an apology for the conversation with Mrs Sex Pest (just in case there was anything to apologise for) and in reply I got "she's a bit..." accompanied by some tapping of the side of the head. Then some pugnacious "if she's going to fucking check up on me ... I'm not going to answer her fucking calls ... that'll teach her" type. He also got the satisfaction of slinging out some cue-ball headed notorious shoplifter type who'd snuck in with a couple of his younger and snottier nosed brats.

His son, who absolutely definitely isn't gay, wafted in mid-afternoon for a shop floor family conference which was quite sweet. The Heir Apparent (who runs a Gay Bar in London but absolutely definitely isn't, himself) has gone all dark and pretty. I'm not sure whether that's a reversion to au naturel (and I suspect I'm not likely to find out). All I can say is that he was quite fair of hair on head and stubble last time I saw him, but now he's not only got a luscious black head of hair but very dark stubble. Eyebrows and eyelashes were obscured by thick framed sunglasses in an exquisite shade of pink.

I wasn't a fly on the wall at Sex Pest Manor so can't say how the evening passed. No wailing ambulance sirens pierced the otherwise calm of the night, so perhaps they're all still in one piece. More's the pity.


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