Friday, 12 January 2018

Tea and sympathy. Without the tea. Or the sympathy

The January blues. Everybody gets them. Why wouldn’t you?: It’s grey and dull and cold and depressing outside, everybody is skint and inexplicably still post-Christmas knackered, and everyone is contemplating a Brave New World of chocolate free, joy free meals consisting entirely of lettuce spaghetti and tomato fillets (or maybe that’s just me).

So I do understand it’s a tough time of year, I really do. I sympathise with anyone feeling down, but, well...how can I say this whilst sounding as warm-hearted and generous as I can… For Christ’s sake keep it out of the shop, it’s boring listening to you droning on, and, quite frankly, it’s bringing me down.


Picture: Images, Pixabay


Last week I had a conversation with a woman who I can only describe as the unfortunate love child of Marvin the paranoid android and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. Not that she wasn’t chatty, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing:

“Hello, happy new year.”
“I suppose so.”
“Oh. Isn’t it?”
“I don’t really think so.”
“Right.”

Awkward pause……………

“It was my 60th birthday yesterday.”
“Happy birthday! Did you have a lovely day?”
“No not really. Everyone rang me……..”
“Well, that’s lovely, isn’t it?”
“…... but nobody asked me out for lunch.”
“Oh. Did you ask them out for lunch?”
“No.”
“Right...”

Awkward pause………….

“I spent the day watching films on TV.”
“Well, that sounds like a lovely indulgent thing to do on your birthday.”
“It was quite boring. The films weren’t particularly good. That guy who's in all the westerns is a terrible actor”
“Oh that’s a shame...”

Awkward pause……….

“I had the house to myself for the whole day.”
“Well that sounds restful. Sometimes your own company is just the thing, isn’t it? No-one to please but yourself.”
“I don’t like my own company. I don’t think I’m imaginative enough.”
“Imaginative. Right.”

Awkward silence followed by a coughing fit: mine, not hers.

“You’re coughing” (Depressing AND a master of the bleedin’ obvious. Amazing).
“Yes, sorry, excuse me”.
“I’ve been coughing in the mornings. It might be that huge thing that everyone’s got”.
“There’s a bug going round?”
“Absolutely everyone’s got it. I think I’ve got gastroenteritis”.
“Gastroenteritis. Right… should you be out and about….? “
“No, not really, but the bus only comes twice an hour.”
“The bus..OK…...”
“It's not enough. I should have booked a taxi.”
“Well, perhaps you could get a taxi back?”
“But taxis are so expensive. And they smell of air freshener.”
“Do they? Oh….”

Awkward silence………..

“I have to find a gift for my neighbour.”
“Oh, that’s nice. Is it a birthday gift?”
“No, thank goodness. I’m going round there this weekend.”
“That’ll be nice.”
“I’m not looking forward to it. They have cats.”
“You don’t like cats?”
“Cats don't like me. They make me sneeze.”
“Oh, are you allergic to them?”
“No. They just make me sneeze.”
“Oh. I’m sorry. Could they keep the cats out of the room?”
“The cats are in charge. And the cat essence is everywhere anyway.”
“Cat essence….right...”

The conversation carried on in this vein for another eight hours, or so it seemed, before she decided that nothing in the shop was any good (of course it wasn’t), and left empty-handed, which was a bad thing. Although…… I wonder whether a bad thing is a good thing for this lady. Or, more precisely, a good thing would have been a very bad thing indeed.

Right well, now that I’ve made you all depressed I suppose I should show you some cute, but somehow scary pictures of cats clearly in charge.....


Photo: aruba85, Pixabay


Picture: Daga_Roszkowska, Pixabay


Photo: Thomas Wolter, Pixabay



Saturday, 6 January 2018

How to offend everybody, without even trying

Do you want to see a magic trick? I’ll show you a magic trick. I’ll show you how to offend every single customer in the course of a day without even trying.

It’s not my fault. Well, it might be my fault, but I didn’t mean it to be my fault.

I was trying to be subtle.

It’s like this: TBE (aka The Boss Erratic) is still successfully doing a swerve on obtaining a public Performing Rights Society (PRS) licence to play music in the shop (of course she is), so I can still only play royalty free music. Royalty free music is the audio equivalent of tearing off a massively sticky plaster from a hairy limb really really slowly whilst simultaneously stubbing your toe on a hot poker (i.e. It’s eye-wateringly, brain-shockingly, painfully, dreadful).

Original photo: congerdesign, Pixabay

This has been going on for about ten months now, and this week, I thought:

No more! I rebel! I WILL play a normal CD and the consequences be damned!

Friday, 22 December 2017

Oh Lord, it’s Christmas in the Out Of Favour Shop. Bah Humbug (obviously).

Oh I can’t be doing with all this Christmas giddiness. Get a grip everyone.

Firstly, all the kids are going nuts over the annual bowl of free Christmas chocolates in the Out Of Favour (OOF) shop. Calm down kids, they’re the same chocolates from last year. Literally the same chocolates (probably). They’re cheap, nasty and taste like shite. I know this because I’ve eaten most of them out of sheer boredom. Now I feel sick.


Take note kids, too much chocolate turns you into an evil psychopath. Photo: Mojpe, Pixabay


Friday, 15 December 2017

TBE, Water and Glass: a Pathetic Potted History

So this week it’s all about pot plants. And glass vases. And TBE (aka The Boss Erratic). Of course.

Ah, the pot plants…..

Only TBE could make pot plants controversial (plants in pots, not the other type. Christ, if she had any of that she’d be hands-down The Most Annoying Stoner Ever. I’ve already seen her drunk, and it is not a pretty sight).

Friday, 1 December 2017

MAMAA: get your shit together - and stop talking

Mr Schadenfreude Socialist is in again. He’s definitely my most frequent, and tedious, MAMAA (Middle Aged Men Always Around). He keeps banging on about his cherries. And his veg.

Apparently his cherries are bigger and more numerous than anyone else’s. And people would marvel at the size and freshness of his vegetables if only he was given the chance to show them off.

Photo: Momentmal, Pixabay

Friday, 24 November 2017

A day in the life. Or: dear God rescue me from all this broken shit


Everything is broken in the Out Of Favour (OOF) shop. Everything. This is a typical day. I’m not even joking:

The front door
The door is not my friend: the lock jams and the door itself sticks. Consequently, I have to play, ‘push-me-pull-you,’ with increasing vigour - and temper - whilst hunched over the doorway like the world’s crappiest lock-picker for a five full minutes every morning. That’s every morning; for months. This does not make me happy.

The coffee machine
I turn the coffee machine on and it begins to leak. I put a dinner plate underneath to catch the drips. The machine has been leaking for, perhaps, three months now. Apparently getting an engineer to fix the thing is a ridiculously unthinkable idea (see also: Servicing/ behaving like a mature, responsible shop owner), so it just gets worse, day by day. The plate is full after twenty minutes. It is extremely important I remember to empty the plate in a timely manner, otherwise the overflow will rain down onto the OOF Shop Plug-Extension-Lead Modern Art Installation, which TBE (aka The Boss Erratic) has positioned, rather astoundingly, underneath the coffee machine.

The OOF Shop Plug-Extension-Lead-Modern-Art-Installation.
Under the coffee machine
.
Photo: Shop Girl Tales

This morning, the coffee machine springs two leaks instead of the usual one. Water pools all over the counter. I manage to shove a second plate underneath the newcomer leak, and then pointlessly write yet another doomed message to TBE in the message book. Then I take the liberty of swearing liberally to myself.

Friday, 17 November 2017

I think you might be flogging a dead cow, love

TBE (aka The Boss Erratic) has gone bonkers.

Yes, I know, but even more bonkers than usual.

She seems to have lost her mind over a pint of milk. Well, an ex-pint of milk. Actually, a pint of milk that never was. Well it was, it just wasn’t when I found it.

Picture: creades, Pixabay

OK, let me explain properly: I threw away a pint of milk because it was off, despite it only having been bought the day before by Colleague Craft(y) for the Out Of Favour (OOF) shop cafe. Then I bought another pint to replace it.

That’s it.

I left the receipt and a little note to explain why a second pint of milk had been bought in as many days, and thought no more about it*.

*If you’re new to this blog you might reasonably assume that the purchase of two pints of milk in two days is extremely conservative for a café. Unnaturally so. And you’re right, it is. But then, you’re probably under the misapprehension that the OOF shop café is normal. It is not. Apart from anything else, it doesn’t have a working coffee machine.....

Anyway, that was the wrong thing to do, apparently.

Friday, 29 September 2017

The MAMAA Returns

Right, so you all know by now that your average high frequency MAMAA (Middle Aged Man Always Around) is under the tragic misapprehension that I delight in their glittering company and, during their regretful absences, yearn for their swift return in order to hear more of their enthralling stories and wondrous escapades, right?

Given this sad state of affairs it logically follows that a long-term absentee MAMAA, returning after many months, is almost bleedin’ unbearable.

MAMAA Yorkshire Casanova, turned up yesterday (calm down, he’s really not worth your hopeful imagination).
No....... Photo: skeeze, Pixabay.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Say what now?

Call me old fashioned, but I am of the mind that a conversation should really make sense to both parties taking part. Isn’t it just plain rudeness for one party to carry on regardless of the obvious slack-jawed confusion playing about the face of their fellow conversationalist?

Here’s a tip: if the person standing in front of you looks massively puzzled and clearly has no idea what you're banging on about, stop bloody talking gibberish. 

Try to actually make sense. 

I know it takes some effort, but for the love of god, take a good look at yourself and reign it in. Don’t witter lazily away, zig-zagging this way and that like some self-absorbed linguistic equivalent of a downhill skier on a freshly snowed-on black run. 

Give us all a break, no one should have to work so hard. 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The topiary trees and the customers: a cautionary tale

Why is everything TBE (aka The Boss Erratic) does the retail equivalent of wearing a fur coat and no knickers? It looks good on the surface, (if you like that sort of thing), but underneath it’s all total disorganised carnage.

(OK, probably best to pop a quick note in here: I have no idea what your nether regions look like, and I’m certainly not saying that everyone’s knickerless loveliness is disorganised carnage. I mean, it might be, but that’s your business, not mine. No, this is simply a metaphor for how generally shit TBE is about the stuff behind the gorgeous image. But you get that, don’t you?).

Definitely best kept covered........Photo: Shop Girl Tales.

So, the latest idea is two 5ft high, puffball shaped topiary trees, one either side of the doorway to the Out Of Favour (OOF) shop.

I can’t deny they look gorgeous. I can’t deny they make the tatty outside of the shop look attractive. And I can’t deny the customers really like them.

Unfortunately, so do the wasps.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Another nail in the Coffee Coffin...

The coffee machine has basically had it. I think it’s seen what a clusterfuck the Out Of Favour shop has become and has decided to slowly shut itself down in order to escape.

Picture:kerttu, Pixaby

The latest bit to go on strike is the steam/ milk frother spout.

For those of you happily uninitiated in the ways of barista-ism, there are three, ‘stick your cup under,’ parts on even the most basic commercial coffee machines, (which, of course, is what the Out Of Favour shop has):

1) The circular bit that grabs onto the big spoon thingy full of ground coffee, and filters hot water through it; 2) The hot water spout – like a kettle, only posher; 3) The steam spout – for frothing milk and generally burning your hands.

The steam spout is pretty much essential. Without it there is no frothy milk – and no frothy milk means no cappuccinos and lattes.

Obviously, not having a working frothy spout thing is a fairly massive problem for a coffee shop, and in any normal shop, with a normal boss, it would cause panic and an undignified scrabble to get it fixed as soon as possible.

But I don’t work for a normal boss. I work for The Boss Erratic (TBE), and clearly she doesn’t see this as the problem I do.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Clueless conversations and mysterious MAMAAs

Skills are great, aren’t they? Who doesn’t love a skill? And who can think badly of a workplace that develops and nurtures skills?

Working in the Out Of Favour Shop, for example, has allowed me to develop the, frankly, amazing skill of successfully holding a lengthy conversation with someone without having the first clue what we’re talking about.

"Hi there, I'm fascinating." Original image: Prawny, Pixabay

Friday, 21 July 2017

Shop mannequins: white trash

This shop is where mannequins come to die. Or, more specifically, be killed. They’re beaten up, neglected and sworn at (the last one might just be me).

First there was Wobbly Wendy. She used to lean awkwardly into the corner between the till and the wall because she had no base plate. Any time a customer wanted to look at the clothes she was wearing I had to warn them to stand back in case Wendy suddenly took a lunge at them whilst I was trying to get her kit off and took their eye out. Either that or she’d slide resolutely to the floor and refuse to get up.

Photo: Free-photos, Pixabay

Months later I found Wendy’s base plate base in the kitchen. There was no need for Wendy to be wobbly at all.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Archaeology and Agatha Christie. Or not

Why do I always end up in conversations with customers on subjects I know nothing about?

This week’s gem was all about Amelia Peabody. Now, you may know everything there is to know about Amelia Peabody, but I’ve never heard of her and wouldn’t know her from a tin of peaches. Not that it made any difference to the customer. She wanted to talk about Amelia Peabody, so talk about Amelia Peabody we did:  

Amelia Peabody, apparently (but not that Amelia Peabody). Picture source: www.apcfund.org

Saturday, 8 July 2017

The cafe that never was.....

Oh my goodness! Have you heard about the fabulous new café in town?!

It’s the Jewel in the Crown of the New Favourite (NF) Shop! It’s the last word in cafes! It’s the holy grail of good food, good beverages and good atmosphere! The décor is amazing! The cakes are to die for! It’s hands down the best place to grab a bite and a cuppa for miles around!

Photo: woodypino, Pixabay

Except it’s not, because it doesn’t exist.


Friday, 23 June 2017

A right royal headache

Original picture: Clker-free-Vector-Images, Pixabay
I think TBE (aka The Boss Erratic) has secretly joined the CIA.

She’s joined the CIA and she’s using their unbearably effective tactics on me until I collapse into a broken heap in a dark corner of the Out Of Favour (OOF) shop and promise to tell her whatever she wants to hear……

“Yes (TBE), you are SUCH a brilliant manager! Yes, everyone loves your oh-so-quirky-and-not-annoying-at-all-ways! Yes, it’s such an honour to work for someone as great as you that I would be happy to work for almost nothing!”

Why else would she be torturing me? All day, every day. Constantly. With no respite.

I can’t stand it.

It’s driving me insane. I just can’t take it any longer.

She is torturing me – with whales.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Rage against the wage

Oh TBE how do you shaft me? Let me count the ways.

Well, the Living Wage for one……….

Picture: Bluesnap, Pixabay

Remember, the UK Living Wage came in on 1st May 2016? Designed to stop tight-ass employers financially wiping the floor with their poor little worker slaves? This was proper, legal stuff; something that even TBE (aka The Boss Erratic) couldn’t get away from.

Or so I thought.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Liar liar, pants on fire!

Oh dear. I accidently caught TBE (aka The Boss Erratic) out in a lie, and now she’s got the hump with me.

Well, it wasn’t a lie exactly; more an act of complete incompetence and anti-management (yeah, I know: so what’s new).

Remember when TBE said this about Barista Boy?:

“I’m going to reduce his hours to a level I know he can’t afford. Mwa hahahaha, cackle cackle!!!”  (It’s possible that last bit existed only in my brain). After which, of course, he left.


Original photo: AndreasHolzner, Pixabay


Well,

Friday, 5 May 2017

Music music everywhere, and you’ve had too much to drink

Oh dear, the Upstairs Office Geeks aren’t very happy. 

They keep complaining about our music. Apparently it’s too loud, too bass-y……… just too music-y.

Is it wrong of me to find this wickedly funny and deliciously amusing? After all, they knew perfectly well the office was above a shop when they moved in.

But it seems the Upstairs Office Geeks don’t quite live in the same world the rest of us do. They’re sort of halfway there; they look normal (mostly), and they speak normally (well, some of them), but they don’t quite achieve full-on, “Yeah, we get life. We’re good at life.” It’s a bit like a Venn diagram.

A Venn diagram