Dear supermarket customers,
I am sure most of you are a delightful bunch. I can safely say I’ve served some lovely, adorable, kind, polite and patient people. When someone asks politely, or bears with me, I am more than happy to help. Genuinely. I’ll smile, I’ll chat, I’ll even walk the length of the store to get something you’re too ill or too tired or who knows? Too lazy to get yourself.
It’s my job. It’s what I do. I’m one of the many supermen and superwomen who inhabit supermarkets (see what I did there?)
So you delightful people, you make my job easier and I thank you for not tutting or swearing or shouting at me when I couldn’t immediately find the sesame seeds or the soy sauce or, more embarrassingly, identify some of the obscure vegetables that are often plonked in front of me when I am on the check outs (I mean, celeriac? It sounds like some kind of nasty illness you get when you’re old. Just eat a damn turnip.)
When I get to joke with a customer, or help out someone, or find something without having to ask a colleague where it is? It makes my day.
Now, despite all that, those of you who forget that we are still humans too because we happen to be behind a till or in a uniform – I got news for you. WE STILL HAVE FEELINGS. We don’t like being yelled at, in fact, it stresses us out and quite possibly makes us even slower when trying to sort out your problem.
You probably think I’m being somewhat melodramatic. Maybe I am. I do feel like I’m in one of those animal charity adverts asking you to ‘look into the eyes of your dog…you’ll see a soul’ or whatever else. But funnily enough, when I put on my jacket – it doesn’t mean you can shout at me as much as you want. I think it’s important you know that.
In fact, let’s make a few things clear. Ahem.
1. I have nothing to do with what the supermarket orders or discontinues. I’m literally the lowest of the low. Get any lower and I’d be limbo dancing between the aisles. It has nothing to do with me.
2. Don’t yell at me, then tell me not to bother sorting the problem out for you.
3. Don’t act like I just shot your cat when the coupon machine runs out of ink and I have to keep serving because there is a long queue and we are understaffed. I know it’s annoying, that’s why I apologise profusely if this happens again, but ask customer services to deal with it. I haven’t the authority.
4. Don’t speak to me as though I literally just did something unspeakable in your shoe. I didn’t. It was probably your cat.
5. And most importantly – when I am blatantly doing my own food shopping, I have a bag and headphones on as well as a hoodie over my uniform, and we are surrounded by working staff – don’t zero in on me with questions or demands. I’m off duty, I just want to do my food shopping and run home where I can demolish a bottle of wine and forget how mean people are.
Essentially, treat me and my fellow superpeople like normal humans and we’ll get along famously. That’s all I ask.
A frazzled, exhausted and distressed supermarket colleague with sore feet