5 Jun 2011
Right; since arriving in London, I’ve been searching for the job of my dreams (I’m thinking something in consulting – this job title is generic enough to mean doing anything in any job sector). The job hunt has been easier said that done so in the meanwhile, I have had to take up a few temporary jobs to maintain the “Keep Lola Alive/Bread and Baked Beans/Alcohol” fund at healthy levels. A pat on the back for me actually as this has been one of my fairly good ideas. It leaves me with a constant “cushion” in my bank account… not enough to keep me in endless supplies of D&G, Prada and Louboutins (Boy, do I wish it did) but enough so I don’t have to have to end up with a strict diet of stale bread and tap water.
It was during one of these temporary jobs that I ended up working in a shoe store in Central London. I did a pretty decent job so they kept having me back whenever they were short staffed and I didn’t mind this job except for the store supervisor who seemed to have it in for me. Thankfully, the store manager (who outranked her) made all the hiring decisions else I imagine she’d have kicked me out long ago. I guess my indifference must have also frustrated her – for me, it was a temp job something to do for a paycheck and for her, this was her career (nothing wrong with either points of views in my opinion). Anyway, I arrived 5 minutes late that morning (not my fault, the bus had to take a diversion) and she spent the next 10 minutes barraging me insults of which I was thinking “Er… hello? I was 5 minutes late!” Plus it wasn’t my fault and how in the world, did it make sense to have a go at me for 10 minutes for being 5 minutes late? In what world of business did this make sense? This put me in a foul mood all morning and I barely mumbled hello to Tanya who was one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. One of those positive people whose sunny disposition infects even the most cynical of characters. On our tea break, I stepped out with Tanya to grab some fresh air and a can of coke (Diet coke, of course… Okay, I lie. Full Fat coke) which only made my mood worse as I spilled some coke on myself (plus side:- I was wearing a black top so no stains, downside:- that sticky feeling dried coke leaves). Great! I had to go wash it up and carried around a wet patch for the better part of the morning.
As the day dragged on, I managed to (unhealthily) repress my frustrations and get on with work till I noticed a lady causing some commotion while being served by Tanya. (Actually, I take that back. She was no lady!) Next thing I know, Tanya bursts out crying and I rush over to console Tanya and while the supervisor escorted Tanya to the staff room, I was left to deal with the customer. Just great! *sigh*
In less than two minutes of being with this customer, I could see why Tanya had been crying and I refused to show any emotion, “I’m gonna take the high road” I told myself… that is till she turned around to me and said “Why are you so incompetent? I asked for those shoes in brown!” (lying cow. She didn’t!) and she topped it off with a sly “Oh, sod it, just go back on the boat you came in on and comeback when you’ve learnt to speak English properly”… (Of which, I’m sure you can attest, that my English language skills are decent enough). She proceeded to walk away from me at which point I stuck my foot out and tripped her. And boy did she go flying! I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in all my life (in my head of course. Not out loud). I had quickly gone from being ‘extremely angry’ to ‘overwhelming exhilarated’ and then I took a little detour to ‘fear. (What if she wanted to fight? I quickly sized up the distance to the exits to see how quickly I could run away. No luck with that, I’m such a slow runner – one again, note to self – EXERCISE MORE). I was still thinking “What the hell did I just do” when some weird instinct took root in me and I hurried to help her up and insisted that she must have tripped on the shoes when she walked off – she was too stunned to say anything and before she could, I walked away to the staff room to get my things and get the hell outta there. I was gonna be fired anyway, might as well make a run for it before they did more than fired me.
On my way out, I bumped into the supervisor who called me into her office. I was petrified, I could find another temporary job of course but I did not want to go to jail for tripping a customer (funny how irrational your thinking gets when fuelled by adrenaline with a hint of fear). Almost like I was being remote control, I robot-marched into the office and I figured I would try my best to lie my way out it till I notice that there were video cameras in the office which would have been an ample view of what I had just done. I waited to be reprimanded but instead, I got handed my timesheets to sign and with a knowing smile and a what I thought was a wink (or could have been a nerve twitch, I’m still not sure till this day), she said “ Are you off home? That’s fine, it’s near the end of the day anyway. Have a great evening and see you tomorrow”. I’d never gotten so much as a kind word or a hello from her so her saying that to me was the equivalent of a stranger walking up to you and saying “I love you! I wanna have your babies!!!” – unnerving, awkward and yet somehow flattering. I know at that point that she’d seen it all and must have thought the customer deserved it. (Sneaky cow, who knew she had it in her, eh?)
On my way out, I walked past the (by this point, now aptly re-named) ‘Evil Shop Lady’ paying for her shoes. She seemed strangely subdued and yet still shocked, like she was still unsure what had just happened and as I walked past, she looked at me and I gave her what (in my mind anyway) was a “knowing look”… (knowing me, it was possibly more like a “deranged look” than anything else) and I walked out of the store.
Me - 1, Evil Shop Lady – 0! All’s right with the world again.
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