Monday, January 05, 2009

The Day Job!

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I’ve been working in a Friary this week! No, I’ve not become a monk! In this Friary the only thing worshipped is the cash register! The nearest thing to a friar there is the cauldron of bubbling oil in which McDonalds cooks those chewy apologies for chips! Mind you, I did see a gentleman of somewhat rotund proportions today who struck a remarkable resemblance to Friar Tuck!
Since I gave up working in kitchens I’ve been selling kitchens instead and for the last few days I’ve been manning an Exhibition stand in the Friary Shopping Mall. Hour after hour I attempt to lure folk into my lair where I entertain them with a hundred fascinating facts they didn’t know about medium density fibreboard, and tempt them to prod the solid bottom in my drawers. There I guess my answers to a thousand interesting (yawn) questions and keep my fingers firmly crossed behind my back when assuring a potential customer about our company’s strong financial position.

All life passes by! Frenzied shoppers scurry along weighed down with bundles of bulging bags. Husbands slouch along several feet behind their rattled wives who are unable to understand why anyone could fail to find rushing in and out of shops an uplifting experience.

Parents push their buggies, often totally oblivious to the fact that their bored offspring is inflicting pain on the ears of their fellow shoppers with its shrill screaming.
An assistant from the shop opposite makes hourly visits to the street outside to satisfy her craving for nicotine. She dodges in and out of the advancing hoard clearly visible thanks to a bright yellow jacket which gives her the appearance of a jar of Coleman’s mustard.

School is still out, and the Friary becomes a meeting place for groups of bored teenagers. Boys with boys, girls with girls and rarely the twain do meet!

The standard trendy boy uniform consists of a hooded fleece which stubbornly ends several inches above drooping jeans which seem to defy gravity, suspended as they are mid-bum. Little do they realise that this ‘fashion’ was started by prisoners protesting about the removal of their belts when taken into custody! Somewhere under the frayed jeans bottoms which drag along the floor, lurk the latest must-have trainers.

One girl looks very much like another. A fleece of course, usually with an advertisement for its maker emblazoned across the front. That is followed by micro denim shorts from which legs of varying shapes and sizes protrude clad in skin tight black tights. They finish the whole effect off by sticking their feet in a couple of flower pots! At least, that’s what they look like. I understand they are known as Ugg Boots. Presumably Ugg is short for ugly, for even very new ones soon take on a lop-sided misshapen appearance.

Then there are the mall characters. Every centre has a few. At The Friary an elderly lady with a white beard worthy of Santa Claus wanders around all day, while a podgy little man with a permanent grin spends his day travelling up and down on the escalators.

We also get the high speed brochure grabber who is determined to snatch a leaflet even though they have no idea what it’s about. And then there are the toddlers who clamp their little hands vice-like onto the other end of the brochure I am holding and tug until their cheeks glow. I am often tempted to suddenly let go and see how far the little devil flies backwards!
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We could make it a daily competition for all those working on our stands. The one whose 30 inch enemy flies the furthest wins!
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We get to know the security guards. They also have a distinctive look with the shiny bald head being as much a part of their image as the walkie-talkie hanging from their belts, with its disembodied voice screeching and ignored.

I did my last day at The Friary today. Tomorrow it will be The Glades in a built up area of South London, Maybe there was a glade there once. Then it will be the oddly named Exchange – what it was exchanged for I have no idea!
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By the way, that's my friend and workmate (but mostly my friend) Miriam in the photo at the top! Click on pic to enlarge.
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7 comments:

  1. asking people to prod your draws??
    tisk tisk, don't sink so low to make a sale my friend!
    The mall characters sound more like circus freaks keith!!
    I tell u, i so desperately want to buy a new kitchen! How much to ship it to Ny? Of course I will need to check out how solid your draws are!
    I thoroughly enjoyed your post and i wish you much success in your new venture!
    (i never scrolled down and noticed you had 'followers' till today! so sorry I wasn't on board sooner!)

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  2. oh the kids... i know exactly what you're saying. you forgot the facial expressions. or rather, lack of. they dare not show emotions, noticed??? and heaven forbid they should show happiness...

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  3. Ah the joys of selling. Sounds like it was an interesting job though. Plenty to look at, at a mall lol.

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  4. I'm gonna have to come back and see what Whitebait has to say about your description of a security guard.

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  5. LOL I can only picture customers flying and you guys chuckling with glee. What a great post. you always make me smile or think or both with your posts.

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  6. Bald I am not! As a matter of fact I am polite and softly spoken. A lovable chap!

    "NO RUNNIING IN THE MALL! Ya little shit!"

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  7. Obviously I missed something somewhere. You're not cooking anymore? I didn't go far enough back yesterday. I will try to correct that today.

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