Saturday 21 July 2018

Retail Health and Safety? That’s for wimps. And people who don’t want to die

I’m living in a death trap. I could literally die at any moment.

Everything in this ridiculous ‘fur coat and no knickers’ shop seems designed to knock me out, trip me up, drench me with water, electrocute me, drench me with water and then electrocute me, whack me hard on the head or punch me in the face.

I think it’s TBE’s (aka The Boss Erratic’s) Master Plan. She’s failed so far to kill me off with dodgy plug arrangements, splintered glass and Kamikaze mannequins, but it doesn’t mean she’s stopped trying. She’s just gone bigger (I mean the death traps have gone bigger, not, err…….. but, well, OK…if that’s where your imagination take you...).

First of all there’s the ornate - heavy - Victorian display shelves. These hang just above and behind me on the wall as I stand at the serving counter. They are practical, beautiful, and balanced entirely on two small nails hammered half arsedly into the wall by guess who?

Greek Tragedy Deathtrap. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

I’d like to say in view of their obvious precariousness (obvious to me; no other bugger even thinks about it), TBE ensures that nothing hard, breakable and liable to do harm is displayed on the shelves. I’d like to say that, but I can’t. It’s like the excitable part of a Greek wedding just waiting to happen. All day every day. Right above my head.

Then there’s the large fancy oval mirrors. TBE likes these. She thinks they make money for her. They possibly would if they were around long enough to sell. But they’re not. Why? Well, let me ask you this:

What’s the safest way to display an oval mirror? On the wall? - Well, yes.

How about wedged securely on the floor between two immovable objects? - OK, I suppose.

Laid flat? - A bit rubbish but definitely safe.

So what’s TBE’s genius way to display an oval mirror?.......

Vaguely propped upright, rolling unsecured around all over the place like a top heavy Weeble. Except not like a Weeble, because the point of Weebles is they don’t fall down.

We’ve gone through so many of these sodding mirrors, but she still won’t learn.

Definitely not like a Weeble then. (I mean the oval mirrors aren’t like a Weeble. I’m comparing oval mirrors with fat, round, wobbly Weebles, not, err…….. but, well, OK…if that’s where your imagination take you...).

A Weeble. Photo, Google licence free: Steve Berry, Flikr

Then there’s the stupidly long clothes rail, attached to the wall at each end by a single screw and nowhere else, and weighed down with far too many clothes. What could possibly go wrong?

Of course it came off the sodding wall one day. Of course it dumped clothes all over the other displays and all over the floor. And of course some sad sack of a sales assistant was underneath the rail when it went.

Me. Of course.

I was left flailing around under the rail – with most of the clothes still heavily attached and attacking me - trying to keep it from crashing to the floor with one arm (it was really bloody heavy!), whilst desperately stretching out with the other arm to reach a free standing set of rails nearby, drag them over and stuff them under the wall rail to temporarily prop it up.

I did it. Eventually. But it was not a good hair day.

Photo: Google licence free: Flikr bixentro

After surveying the damage and cursing TBE (obviously), I managed to come up with a more permanent solution; a broomstick pole holding up the middle of the rail, lashed in place using half a mile of brown packing string. Sorted.

Knowing TBE as distastefully and intimately as I do, I reasoned it would probably stay like that for about a year, but to give TBE her due, it only stayed like that for about a month and a half.

What am I still doing here?