Back in the day, I started off in a career in retail back at good ole Woollies, yes Woolworth’s. Ahh, the memories! Guarding the pick n mix sweets with eagle eye detection from tea leaves. Ahh, I leave it off my C.V. though, as trying not to pull the plug on the repetitive JML adverts and swearing the ultimate destruction of the endless novelty Christmas Toys isn’t up there with a master’s degree in biochemical studies. Over the years I have been a retail tart, bouncing round the big stores like a greedy kid in many a cake shop. I have seen so much from naughty flings, fallings out, fights, accidental store lock-ins, not so accidental store live-ins, sleazy managers, excessively sleazy managers and break downs, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you…
It’s the people I stay for, the banter between colleagues, the humour, the chatting to that one person who hasn’t spoke to a single person all day, the 96-year old whose life advice is to drink gin and listen to jazz, the regulars who join in the fun and brighten up the day. I’ve been threatened, hit on, slapped, yelled at, and ultimately cried in the loo cuz that’s the only place you can escape. I stayed in retail, I never set out to stay, at some point, the repetitiveness and the fact it paid the bills became normal for me, but that’s the whole point of this piece currently there is no normal, everything I thought I knew is wrong I can tell you that even with an extensive retail background I have never seen anything quite like it.
A colleague told me she was close to tears as she was thanked by a customer for continuing to work; being appreciated goes a long way. The sheer panic for self-care and fear of catching it or spreading it, no one wants to be at risk, meticulously washing hands to the point of giving ourselves dermatitis. Everybody is scared we are scared, it’s far from an ideal situation I’m not going to lie, the sheer anxiety while performing even the simplest of jobs has reduced me to a nervous wreck. The safety guidelines of a 2m distance are there to protect everyone I cannot stress the need to follow this enough. We understand it’s difficult and the sheer frustration at this being inconvenient however we are risking everything in enabling helping to be able to provide your family with essentials. No Sandra, that doesn’t mean going shopping in for Pringles and pineapple Jaffa cakes cuz there’s nowhere else to go and boredom has set in.
We are in unknown waters I really couldn’t have guessed the massive bog roll shortage or the fact so few people eat pot noodles even through a pandemic has stripped all the other shelves. Currently, I feel like a kid who is grounded only allowed out to go to work, if everyone behaves maybe we can get back to some kind of normal, even if that entails taking up cross knit, macramé or pigeon counting at least there’s a chance to be bored, stay in, be safe, and play nice!