Saturday, 30 January 2016

Shock 'Till You Drop!....

I know in past posts I've ranted on about the decline of good customer service BUT there's no denying it, customers can be a right pain in the arse too!

And, having spent a large part of my working life in retail, I feel more than qualified to say this!

Actually, I'm surprised I CAN say it 'cos the weight of scar tissue on my tongue from having to hold back a retort in response to some inanity one of the members of the darling public has chucked at me, has a tendency to hinder speech!

Ohh the shit I've had to put up with over the years. Yes, there's been good stuff too...but who wants to read about that? Exactly! 

One noteworthy encounter came about when I was but a naive, young teenager (oh yes I was!!). During the school summer holidays, after sitting my exams,  I had a summer job in the office of a local department store.

As part of that job I had to skim the cash registers of money every now and then, to make room for MORE money in the till. I was doing just that one busy Saturday, as the shop floor was in the midst of a shopping frenzy, and that's when it happened!

Some guy I'd never met before suddenly stopped right in front of me and whilst stabbing an aggressive finger at me SHOUTED...

"How DARE you say things about my mother!! My mother was a good woman!! Stop it!! STOP IT!!! And keep away from my house!!!" 

All eyes glared at me accusingly. And because the area which housed the cash register was elevated upon a platform, placing me in a higher position than every one was as if I was in the dock!

Panicking, I tried to covertly get the attention for the deputy manager BUT...

The deputy manager, a scrawny, gangly, unfortunate looking fellow, had an obvious eye problem. That is, one eye went one way, the other eye went the other way. Neither eyes worked in unison to allow him to see forward from a frontal position, so despite the fact that he was facing me and I was trying to catch his...erm...eye...the entire mad scene was invisible to him!

Yes, he could hear the guy but he couldn't quite pin down the source of the rantings and so he dashed about, from side to side between the aisles, seemingly having subscribed to the Ministry of Silly Walks!

Anyway, by the time he DID manage to find focus the man had scooted off out of the store, leaving me to stand there, bright red in the face, under the judgemental gaze of the jury before me!

Embarrassed, I managed to quickly scuttle off back to the office, all the while feeling the heated glare of my audience stabbing into my back! I was not to know then that this kind of crazy stuff would accompany me for most of my working life in retail!

But there lie tales for other times.

One of the most entertaining happenings regarding customer behaviour was a tale relayed to me by a pal who worked in a local cafe, some years ago.

The cafe was a popular haunt for shoppers and workers alike and thus enjoyed the nuance (compared to these days) of being frequently busy. It was during one of these busy periods, when the local town was in the grip of a particular cold spell, that the cafe door flew open one day and in breezed a well dressed, middle aged woman.

She had the kind of presence that turned heads and the eloquent manner with which she ordered her beverage, did not go unnoticed by those seated before her as she began to make her way to the only unoccupied table at the rear of the shop.

However, before reaching her destination, she paused to do two things.

A large, bald gentleman was enthusiastically employed devouring a hearty breakfast when the woman stopped directly behind him. Standing there, as his head dipped to scoop a generous spoonful of beans into his mouth, she took it upon herself to place her hands upon his scalp.......which she slowly began to massage!

Her ministrations completed, leaving the man with mouth agape, beans hovering on a trembling spoon, in a state of shock and quite speechless, she moved on and that's when the second thing occurred.

An elderly woman sat bent, over a mug of tea. Wrinkled, arthritic hands gripped the cup for warmth as a reddened nose sniffed to accommodate the running stream her cold was obviously providing.

Upon hearing the old dear snivel, our Mistress of Ministrations paused, once again, and, bending to level with the old ladies ear loudly and in a most articulate fashion, provided the following advice:

"What you need to halt a nasty cold like that, is a.......good....stiff.....cock!"

And with that said, she resumed the walk to her table where she proceeded to sit down gracefully....before being asked to leave by the member of staff whose trembling features made it quite apparent that he had drawn the short straw!

Retail work, eh? Gotta love it!!

© Copyright Lynn Gerrard

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Shards of Glass...

Shards of glass

In her laughter

Shades of death

In her eyes

Tremors  of torment

In her touch

Youths innocent blush

Her disguise

Poem only  © Copyright Lynn Gerrard

Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Apology...

I'd like to make a public apology to the sales person I encountered whilst shopping earlier, for my behaviour. Had I known that you were taking part in some kind of sleep study as you stood there, propping up that shelf, I'd never have approached you so brazenly to enquire as to the location of the particular items I required.

My God!! What was I thinking?

And, oh, the shame that overwhelms me when I consider how, despite my callous and selfish attitude, you still managed to raise your 'customer service' finger to point in the general direction of the area where my wants could be found. 

Managerial promotion is in the pipeline for you, methinks!

I'm certain that had I been able to actually see through the several stock-littered aisles which separated the goods from the directions your digit was alluding to, I'd have reached them much more quickly but this was not the case. Once again I had let you down by my failing to study the shop floor plan before actually entering the premises.

Also, I hope that my staring at you for some time following these events didn't disturb you in any way? I was simply trying to imagine what you'd be like if you had a personality but.... seems I failed you there too!

Best regards for the future...presuming you can be arsed to have one!

P.S. I need you to know, I typed this with my middle finger!

 © Copyright Lynn Gerrard

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

New Year's Evil...

I hate the middle bit between Christmas and New Year. You know, the bit that hangs over us like an awning of pending miseries to come. Oh you can deny it all you want but the truth remains, once the last cracker has been pulled and the cat's choked on the crappy plastic toy which shot off at a tangent, the dread of the approaching new year begins.

Yes, you have one last chance on New Years Eve to guzzle more alcohol and clog your colons with calorific time bombs but after that....what then?

Time for a New Year's resolution!:
A reality hangover that's what!!

The permission slip you were handed by society to be seasonally 'Merry' has been revoked, therefore, you no longer have an excuse to be the overindulgent, out of shape piss head you actually are, and so off you go to seek a means of remedying the situation.

Enter the New Year Resolution.

And what a crock of old crap THAT is!!

Oh yes, you're eager at first, positively buzzing with the thought of the 'new you' you'll become....but such thoughts come easy when the fumes from your booze infused breath are so pungent they've just scorched the fur off the hamster!

The sober you isn't as keen.

And then, of course, there's the herding instinct isn't there? Yeah, it's where you're caught up with the hysteria of the masses and so you jump aboard the train to New-Year-Resolutions-Ville until further down the line, when the euphoria of mentally applying yourself to a better you is replaced by the horror of physically applying yourself to a better you and you think... 'sod this...( or words to that effect)...before speedily disembarking and launching yourself, unceremoniously, upon the mercy of the old familiar track!

New Year's Eve Resolutions. But the other way around.: Do you know what I think? I think that someone else should distribute the new year resolutions, someone close to you. It's these people who know you best and are, therefore, in a more suitably informed position to point out the areas for change you should REALLY be focusing on...

Areas such as that temple-throbbingly annoying squelchy sound some people make when they eat! A sound you could easily replicate if you took to wearing flippers whilst jogging on the spot in mud! Of course, there would be a forfeit if you were found to be in breach of your appointed resolution.

In the case of the noisy muncher they would be denied all solids and any hint of a slurp whilst sipping soup would result in them wearing it!! Or you could simply pin their tongue to the dining table, mid chew, via a fork!

Snoring – A True Nightmare Serial snorers would be committed to implementing one of the plethora of remedies available (and yet frequently ignored) which would serve to remove the twitch inducing problem they DENY exists, thus, finally allowing their long suffering partners a peaceful nights sleep!

Failure to comply with the appropriate solution would result in the offender suffering the after effects of being repeatedly Tasered by the administrator of the resolution, as they slept.

Mind you, there are those dedicated persons out there who need no prompting to ensure they adhere to their resolutions. Oh no, these determined warriors of willpower stoically and jovially skippity-skip their lithe, fat free bodies all the way to the gym every day for hours on end, fine tuning their toned, athletic, nimble shapes as we weaker individuals can but watch on, our wobbly bits bearing the scars of doughnuts past....

And it is to those disciples of discipline I will, this coming New Years Eve, be raising SEVERAL hearty glasses of Asda's best Chardonnay (3 for 12 quid) as I firmly, loudly and most resolutely bellow in their general direction......

© Copyright Lynn Gerrard

Sunday, 6 December 2015


Only by breaking the links

Of prejudice and discrimination

Can we truly appreciate

The beauty of our fellow man

And finally accept

That we are but one people!

Poem only  © Copyright Lynn Gerrard

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Devil's Tree...

In the Devils Tree

They placed their trust

Foolish slaves

To loveless lust

Poem only © Copyright Lynn Gerrard

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Love Thy Neigh-bour...

Over the years I've had more than my fair share of to put it...'interesting' neighbours.

Ranging from the woman who kept a horse in her living room (I jest ye not) to the family who borrowed a friends goat to keep their grass short! I mean how did that conversation go?

Her: (eyes glued to Loose Women) "Grass needs cutting we're gonna have to buy a mower" 

Him: (scratching a beer gut threatening to escape a gravy stained vest) "Nah, sod it, give Ken a ring, see if his goat's busy this weekend"

Goats farm goat gate sign
A further point of interest regarding both horse and goat is that, like mine, the homes and gardens they frequented were not part of some countrified landscape. There were no large, echoing rooms befitting a stately home to wander through, nor were there acres of rambling pastures to graze and gallop upon. 

Nope, these houses were just your ordinary town residences, hardly big enough to swing a another neighbour of mine once discovered just prior to his arrest.

Still, mad these people may have been but at least they were pet friendly!

And then of course there was the lovely Mr and Mrs Peters. Both in their late seventies and a  delight to live next to, back in the day. However, just like any of us, they could be prone to the odd mood swing, as happened shortly after we brought a cat home to stay with us. 

Anti-smoking advertising design
Our back gardens were adjacent to the other and separated by a low fence which didn't afford any privacy but neither of our families were invasive of the other so all worked out well.

One day, after a pain-in-the-arse kinda day at work, I walked into the garden to calm down with a fag ( packed in years ago, best thing I ever the lie I keep telling myself. Sometimes I've walked past someone who's puffing away on a cigarette and I've inhaled their spent smoke with such zeal, I've taken their ash with it!) anyway, Mr Peters was quick to beckon me over to him.

As he did so I noticed he held a photograph in his hand.

"Take a look at this" he said, in an unusually gruff manner.

I did as he asked, politely smiled, even though a tad perplexed and said, "What lovely hedgehogs" 'cos they were but I'd no idea as to why he was sharing this image of the prickly pair with me. I was knackered and in no mood for a David Attenborough moment!

"Yes! They WERE lovely weren't they?"

Mr Peters eyebrows, so long and thick it may have been worth considering tie backs, began to slide down his anger creased brow to meet with the other in the middle of his nose, which itself was host to nostrils flaring like bellows!

I had no idea what kind of a response was expected of me here so I just stood still and hoped for a clue, quietly marvelling at the gloss on Mr Peter's ear hair as it fluttered slightly in the wind.

"Me and Mrs Peters have fed these hedgehogs every night for years and now, because of your cat, they've gone"

"Gone? Mr Peters I'm sorry to hear that they've gone but I don't see how my cat can be responsible, she hasn't been out of the house yet!"

His little rheumy eyes narrowed as he practically spat.

"They must have seen it in your window then! It must have been goading them!! Mrs Peters is very upset!" and with that he sharply turned to walk back into his house, photo grasped in palm, passing Mrs Peters who had, by then, come to stand on the back step.

Evil Hedgehog PicturesNow awaiting to suffer Mrs Peter's reprimand, I remained rooted to the spot and watched her turn to check if Mr Peters was out of earshot before she spoke

"Filthy, flea riddled, disease carrying, freeloaders!. I hate the spiky little bastards. Oh, and forgive Mr Peters outburst, the hedgehogs disappearance had nothing to do with your cat. But if you don't mind, there's no need to tell him that, is there?" and with a gentle smile and a mischievous glint in her eye, into the house she returned.

I never did ask Mrs Peters what had actually happened to the hedgehogs. All I know is, the next time I saw her she was wearing a pair of dodgy looking shoes!

( to be continued)...

© Copyright Lynn Gerrard