In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project

In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project
In Search of My Father, 2017 writing project supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

TALES FROM A SHOPWORN MANAGER 6 OF 8 - THE LAG WITH THE BAGS WAS A DRAG



From 1973 to 2008, I worked in and around retailing, mainly managing shops of various sizes. The customer is always right never really stacked up in my orbit. In the next 8 blog posts, I share true tales with you, embellished for entertainment value. But they are all based on true incidents. 

6 OF 8

THE LAG WITH THE BAGS WAS A DRAG
Nowadays, people who use plastic carriers bags are marked out as environmental terrorists, threats to the Solar System and swans, horrible human specimens who should be taken to a dark room and flailed every hour on the hour with whips crafted from bags for life.  But, about ten years ago, we got used to the fact that five minutes before we closed our shop, the same customer, a middle-aged, scruffy man, engulfed in his own stale body odour, would come in every evening without fail to pick up last minute food bargains.  At the checkouts, he insisted that each item was to be wrapped in a separate carrier bag and then all the individual bags were then to be gathered into one outer bag.  At the end of a long day, this routine was as welcome as breaking wind in a spacesuit.  But, with the highly dubious mantra “the customer is always right” rattling around our addled brains, outwardly we remained calm and professional but internally we were hiring imaginary assassins to take him out as soon as he stepped into the car park.  We were convinced that he was not a sufferer from obsessive compulsive disorder because of his grubby appearance and his horrible, nostril recoiling, unwashed stench that was the exact opposite of Chanel No. 5.  We were convinced that he was a nuisance.  One evening, I decided to ask him about his carrier bag quota.  Holding my breath for as long as I possibly could between questions, I eventually found out that he was using the plastic bags to repair several leaks in his roof.  He said he was damned if he was going to pay to have it fixed and that our bags were the best solution he could find.  We never did discover a way of reducing his carrier bag quota and we had to console ourselves with the fact that we were caring for a member of our community.  In fact you could say that he was enthusiastic and bombastic in his use of plastic to take the fantastic but drastic roof repair action and that it was easy for us to be sarcastic and inelastic in our judgements.


Coming up:
From a bread stick to a set of garden furniture
The avocado bravado desperado affair

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