The Secret Science Of Shelf Stacking

Sadly I have nothing to report from my weekend. I spent it working at the supermarket, and beyond being able to inform people quite certainly that Weetabix, Cookie Crisp and Shreddies are on offer at the moment, I haven’t really had much to write about.

Although this morning, waiting at the bus stop at 6.20, some random man hung out of a bus window, yelled at me and proceeded to flip me off. Beyond being somewhat bemused (and admittedly, unimpressed. I get very sensitive when I have a cold and I took it quite personally for the first 5 seconds, before then deciding he had quite eloquently shown the world he was an idiot) – I wondered, why? Was it the uniform? For fun? I don’t know. Guess it’s better not to dwell on it, but it does intrigue me. 

I’m now terrified I’ll have to deal with a mystery customer and do badly, or that I’ll put a roll pallet in the wrong place or run over someone when stacking the shop floor, or that I might to press the wrong button on the till and be shot through the ceiling by the top secret eject function in my seat or something.

Who knew working a shop could be so stressful?

Any way I’ve now learned – as the title suggests – how to shelf stack properly. And there is a proper way. The price labels hide all sorts of information visible only to a practised eye – how many units of stock should be on display, for example. How many units are held in a container, how wide the display should be. Domino numbers show how many crates are left in the warehouse. And ripping apart the cardboard boxes they came in with gay abandon can make one feel like the Hulk, and is quite possibly the next big thing in anger management.

However sadly dealing with all of this and customers is nearly impossible when your face feels stuffed up in the fashion of a Christmas turkey and your throat is so sore you can barely speak – particularly since I’m expected to know where everything down to sesame seeds is, and unfortunately, I don’t. 

I feel bad for the people who asked me questions this weekend. They’d get a hoarse ‘I’m very sorry, I don’t know, but I’ll ask a colleague…’, I’d go honk at a colleague until they told me, then lead the customer to the designated aisle before kind of snorting at them in saying ‘You’re welcome’ before scurrying back to the shelves where I’m safe and no one will speak to me. 

I wish. 

But then today, today there was a beautiful moment. Someone asked me where a particular item was, I breezed to the end of the store, picked it up for them with a flourish and a smile, before skipping away – a job well done. 


I apologise. That meme may seem a bit big headed but it’s appropriate to how I felt in that moment. Happy to say I’m learning, folks. Bring your worst!

(Well, no, don’t. I’m a sensitive soul, let’s not push it.)


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