new Checkout Chick here!

Here’s the next instalment of Checkout Chick. It can be read from the beginning by clicking on the Checkout Chick link in the menu.

 

 

 

 

(9) SMOKO

Colloquial term. Ten minute break. ‘Smoko’ as most people used time for cigarette break. Still a lot of smokers working in supermarkets. Really, wouldn’t you?

Two designated smoko areas. Outside of deli next door usually where lunch smoko taken. Day workers from supermarket take over two tables and are as rowdy as a bunch of drunken buffoons. Leave area littered with cigarette butts. Deli owners hate us.

Other area is outside back door of store. Old milk crates used as tables and chairs. Means you end up being on first name basis with delivery drivers. Jovial. Bordering on friendship. Some delivery drivers even invited to Christmas do.

Smoko’s often spent complaining about customers. Venting session. Some organisations have in-horse councilors. We have smokos.

 

 

(10)

Darling brother Paddy. He likes having me around because it means he gets to eat things other than fish and chips and microwave meals. Five years ago we made the decision to move in together. I rent out my unit and pay Paddy board. Share groceries and such like. Means we’re both in better financial position.

I like having Paddy around because means I have someone to fill up car, check tires and all those things that I can’t be arsed thinking about. We work well together, me and Paddy. Argue like crazy, yes. Annoy the fuck out of one another, yes. Laugh a lot, yes, yes. Everyone says we look alike. Both short, brown haired, brown eyed. Two youngest in a very large Irish family so found it necessary to bond at young age. Thank goodness, really.

Convinced Paddy to take my car today. Gave him money for petrol. Came in to Supermarket looking absolutely thunderous. Didn’t matter to him that had customer. Customer didn’t mind, either. Female customer. Females like Paddy.

‘Tires are supposed to have air in them.’

‘Yes, yes.’ Same lecture. Always.

‘Engine supposed to have oil in it.’

Yes, yes. ‘Is what have you for.’

‘Window washers need water in them.’

‘Yes, yes, is what have you for.’

Paddy likes to complain about my lack of self-sufficiency. Makes him feel he has a purpose.

Customer quite interested in my conversation with Paddy. While she giving me money she turns to Paddy and makes comment of how she wished she had someone like him to check her tires. Paddy all, I’ll check your tires. Her eyes shining. ‘You’ll check my tires?’ Metaphors galore. Do not want to think what they really went off to do.

Think that Paddy got the last of the charisma left in our mother’s womb. Have tried to flirt, have tried to be charismatic, but it never happens. Is so typical, though. My work, mine. Yet Paddy strolls in and get’s a date. Is unbelievable. And completely unfair.

 

 

(11)

Bright Eyes came in. Again much interest. Again paid in cash. Again came through my checkout. Mel has decided he is no longer good looking as was wearing grey cardigan which is apparently just not acceptable on any man. I didn’t mind, though. Firstly, he smiled at me when I gave him his change. Secondly, it seems to be some kind of uniform, his clothes. Last time he came in he was wearing white shirt and black pants. Same today but with added cardigan. As have no fashion sense myself cannot begrudge others for same infliction.

 

 

(12)

Our store manager, Bill, is on annual leave for two weeks. He’s gone to Thailand. The general consensus is that he’s taken his mother with him. he’s that kind of bloke, you know?

Replacement is a man called Tony from the city. City slicker, though imagine him strolling into store with legs wide apart, wearing cowboy boots and toting a pistol. Seems like that kind of bloke. Keen to be everyone’s friend. Immediately got everyone onside with his charisma. But then, isn’t that what Hitler did? Will watch out for discrimination against Jews. Hang on, there are no Jews. Hang on, have not actually ever met a Jew. Do Jews exist? Apparently not in South Australia.

Tearoom suddenly awash with various items we could only ever dream about. Nestcafe instead of International Roast. Tim Tams and Mint Slices instead of Arrowroot Biscuits. Bill would never let us write off any such items for staff use. More often than not have to beg even for carton of milk.

One person that doesn’t like him is Boozer. Boozer works night fill but oddly is around quite a lot during the day. Has been here as long as me. Boozer’s the one we always ask when we need a price check because he won’t ignore you like the other lads. Probably because he fears each and every one of us that works checkout. Do not know Boozer’s real name. Am pretty sure no one does, bar Rosemary who does the pays. Would be funny, though, if ‘Boozer’ is written on the top of his pay slip. Must ask him one day if can take a look. Boozer on an official document. How Australian.

Boozer called Tony ‘Fucking wanker.’ Yet he tends to use this description about most people. Am assuming that Tony, who has no knowledge of how things run down here, doesn’t know that Boozer cannot be rushed, at anything, and that all of us have given up trying.  Could very well be, though, that Tony told Boozer that showing a good inch of arse crack was inappropriate for a supermarket environment. We’ve given up trying with that, too.

 

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Here’s the next instalment of Checkout Chick. It can be read from the beginning by clicking on the Checkout Chick link in the menu.

 

(7)

Lovely man who’d lost his wife stopped by customer service today. I wasn’t there; out back in tearoom having lunch. Boss lady (Mel) came in with tin of Danish biscuit. The real buttery kind, sprinkled with large sugar crystals. Said they were for me as a thank you. Lovely, lovely man. Have had to hide tin, though. Paddy (brother) would polish them all off in no time. God knows where he puts it, skinny prick.

 

(8) BRIGHT EYES

Life on checkout very boring. Not much to do but scanning, fake smiling at customers, trying to tune out kids screaming for a Kinder Surprise. Used to be Caramellos and before that Freddo Frogs and before that Bertie Beetles. One of the main things that keeps us occupied is perving on customers. Thing is – we live in small town. Pretty much know every face that walks into supermarket. Familiarity is not attractive. However sometimes you’re so desperate you begin to think usual suspects are good looking which never helps. False attractiveness breeds contempt. With yourself.

So today new blood comes in and we all stand up and notice. Code yellows being hissed out from all sides. Oh look at him, he’s attractive. Anyone seen him before? No, no. Attractiveness only noticed by me, Melissa and Maria. ie – older generation. Because man in question older. Forties, I believe. Younger checkout chicks find him too old for hotness factor.

He’s tall, first of all. Slim to medium build. Greying hair – salt and pepper like George Clooney, but not smug-looking like George Clooney. High cheekbones. Blue/green eyes. Sparkling. Will call him Bright Eyes.

Was lucky one. Bright eyes came in through my checkout. Sucked in, you bitches.

Tried to identify what type of person Bright Eyes is by goods purchased. Quite easy to become detective-like when checkout chick. Bright Eyes purchased bread, butter, milk and single twirl bar. Very stock-standard stuff. Twirl bar telling. Cadburys fan but doesn’t trust himself to buy entire bar. Doesn’t have wife or live-in girlfriend. Would have bought chocolate to share for her. Bread very bachelor food. Probably sits at home and eats toast instead of cooking self meal. Poor fucker.

No wallet. Took money out of pocket (black work pants). Small notes. No credit card, dam it. Credit card would have given me name. No such like. Maria and Mel descended upon checkout when he left but could give them no further information.

Bright Eyes small excitement in our day.

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checkout chick continued…

**** Here’s the next instalment for Checkout Chick. Denni writes about an interaction with a customer that touches her deeply. Remember; for the full story head to Checkout Chick link above****

 

(6)

Cripes alive. Today was just terrible. In a good kind of way. One of those times when you have to pretend you need the loo to go off and have a good cry.

Quiet day. Very quiet. had gone over to deli to drop off some perishables left behind at checkout. Cassie – useless bitch that she is – serving this old man who had almost empty trolley before him and a many-times folded shopping list in his sun-spotted, veiny hands.

‘Yes, can I please have four kilos of shaved virginian ham.’

Stopped me in my tracks. Four kilos. Four kilos? Unlikely, no? Yes. Unlikely. Cassie, meanwhile, just nodded at him and started shoveling handfuls of shaved ham into a bag

Sidled up to man. ‘Ah, excuse me sir?’

‘Yes?’

God, face was terrible. Saddest face I’ve ever seen. Weary. Woe-begotten. ‘Are you sure you want four kilos? Is just, that’s an awful lot of ham, sir.’

Cassie stopped shoveling; didn’t want to do any work she didn’t have to. Lazy bitch.

Terrible, terrible. Man started shaking his head and then burst into tears – actually cried. Held face in hands and said, ‘I Don’t know, I don’t know.’

Cassie gave me a look which plainly said “what a loser”. Wanted to hit her. Glared in return.

‘Sir?’

He looked up at me with protuberant blue eyes – all soul gone out of them. ‘My wife used to do the shopping. She died. I’ve no idea. I have a list-‘ he waved the list at me in a defeated way.

Poor, poor fucker. Wanted to cry with him. He took out a handkerchief and dabbed his eyes and blew his nose.

‘Right,’ I said to him. Knew what this man needed was help, but also needed strength. Would have been a man of the war, this man. Stiff upper lip and all that. ‘This ham for your sandwiches, sir? And are you shopping for whole week?’

‘Yes.’ Pitiful. Pitiful.

‘Okay. Let’s start with three hundred grams, yeah? If you have some left over at the end of the week you know it’s too much, if you run out you know it’s not enough.’

‘Yes, okay then.’

I looked at Cassie who nodded and began taking bits of ham out of the bag to match three hundred grams.

Was slow day, yes, but would have done this during thronging Saturday afternoon rush (bah! haven’t worked a Saturday in five years!) Wanted to help this poor, poor man. As we shopped, we talked. His wife had a stroke and died very suddenly. She had taken care of the house, he the money. The fault of old, traditional relationships. He now with no clue how much ham to buy and had he been the one to die, she’d have no idea how to pay for electricity bill.

The man couldn’t cook, so directed him to microwave meals. He’d put sausages on his list and I imagined him eating nothing more than sausages and ham sandwiches the rest of his life. At least with microwave meals he’d get meat, carbs and vegetables. Directed him to snap lock bags so he could divide bacon and sausages into single serves and freeze. Told him lots of tips like that. Why would he know them? His wife did everything. Stopped self short at telling him to bring me his washing, but really, poor man. If he doesn’t know how much ham to buy how is he going to work out the washing machine?

He kept stammering his thanks to me but all I could think about is this poor old man going home to an empty home without his wife and how Cassie was more than willing to bag up four kilos of ham for him without even blinking.

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checkout chick update…

*** here we continue Denni’s blog on being a checkout chick. For the full story so far click here or the checkout chick link in the menu

 

(4) PACKING

Customers literally don’t give a fuck. They complain if you pack cold items or meats, let’s say, in with things like detergents, or soft items like bread in with canned goods (both of which I would never do but is beside the point) yet they pack items onto conveyor belt in haphazard manner so is almost impossible not to do.

Today put bag of cold goods on loading side quite satisfied I’d kept all the cold goods together. Customer taking own time unloading basket. Then, suddenly, after cereals, pasta, canned items and cleaning goods appears a litre tub of yogurt, block of butter, tub of margarine and pack of those creme brulee deserts I quite fancy.

Annoyed the shit out of me because litre tub of yogurt would have been packed in bottom of cold bag next to the milk but instead had thrown in bunch of bananas and bag of apples to make up the space. Much re-organising ensued and admittedly I tutted with annoyance. Feeble apologies from the customer but knew what she was really thinking – that getting items out of basket/trolley shouldn’t be customers job anyhow. We, the staff should be doing it. Feckers.

(5) BASKET BASTARDS

Hate Basket Bastards. Lazy bastards. Can I just say – am not tall. Five foot two. Arms not long. Work six hours straight standing up and lifting heavy objects from one side to another. But these lazy so-and-so’s think that it’s perfectly okay to dump basket on conveyor belt and watch me struggle to grab items from its depths which is obviously difficult for me to do when can barely reach. Sometimes am in super bitchy mood and command customer to unload basket. Other times am in super fowl mood and simply tip basket onto side so contents topple out, sometimes breaking. Customer gets angry – so what? Say, oh, I’m sorry, bitch face (or bastard-face) is the only way I can do it as cannot reach in basket to pull out items. Look innocent. Flutter eyelids. People hate when you’re sarcastic.

Are their lives really so difficult, so stressful that they can’t take thirty seconds out of their lives to unload their baskets? Terrible. Really.

 

*** Next in CHECKOUT CHICK – Denni shares the sad tale of a shopper whose just lost his wife, and we learn of her latest checkout crush

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Checkout Chick has been updated!

Denni has added two more posts to her blog about being a checkout chick. Check them out by clicking on the link below or on the above menu bar.

Checkout Chick

Thanks so much for your kind messages regarding Checkout Chick; am glad you guys are enjoying it!

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checkout chick

I’ve been working on a fiction piece for a bit of light relief at the moment. It’s about a girl called Denni who works on checkout. The story is part-biography, part fiction. Yes, I worked on checkout in my youth. Denni lives with her brother Paddy and has re-grouped after something of a disastrous life. She writes a blog to make sense of her world, which quickly turns upside down when she finds herself falling for the wrong man.

Checkout Chick can be accessed from the above menu bar or by the link below. I’ll let you know when it’s updated, but at the moment, please enjoy Denni’s first post.

Checkout Chick

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Journal

So yesterday was Ash Wednesday. That’s the start of lent for you heathens out there. Went to church pm rather than am and at least this meant I didn’t have people coming up to me all day saying, ‘you’ve got dirt on your forehead.’ Yes, thank you, wankers.
Last night didn’t water the garden. Obviously sane enough to not go through the ritual. Plants will probably die now out of spite. Dog looked at me with weird expression and just knew he was thinking, ‘come on, come on, we need to go out the front, yeah, yeah, so I can wee on the trees, and the neighbors yard, and the letter box…’ Memo is on a never ending quest to block out all other animal scents in a sixty meter radius of our house. It’s quite a hard task, actually as there’s many a tree across the road.
Thought of something today. Thought happiness would come with a Louis Vuitton bag. Actually did. Thought I’d open the brown box and be smacked in the face with it. Do you know what? Is not the case. Happiness is not in handbags and to admit that to myself is like admitting you have an addicts or some other such monumental event. On monumental. Why isn’t there a word monumentous? Doesn’t that word sound more, well, monumental? Do you think I could start it? Maybe if I start using the word monumentous than people will think it actually is a word.
Today is so,not monumentous. It’s not even monumental.

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