The Horrors of Kwiksave: Christmas is Coming

in The Ink Well4 months ago

The Horrors of Kwiksave’ is a candid recollection of my memories working at Kwiksave (the now-defunct discount supermarket chain) as a 'Stock Lad'.

I wasted over FOUR years of my life in this maggot-infested hellhole and still occasionally wake up drenched in sweat after enduring a nightmare in which I am working there still.

Some of the names have been slightly changed simply to save my arse in case anyone takes offence at some of the details regarding my facts or opinions.

Many of the people mentioned are now dead as this happened so long ago, but their siblings are not.

This is the 'HIVE Special Edition' of a multi-part autobiographical story (with a little over-embellishment on some of the details) I posted on STEEM over 2 years ago.

It contains a LOT more detail and content than the original and will fill in many gaps that were missed the first time around.

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Other Articles in this Series:
Chapter One: A Prelude to the Best Job in the Land
Chapter Two: The Job Centre
Chapter Three: The Interview

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‘Some kids are best left to fend for themselves, and others were born to stack shelves’ – Steven Wilson


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Chapter Four: Christmas is Coming

...'December 1980'...

'WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE BELOW'

Life at Kwiksave was like being placed into a hard labour camp; there's no getting around that and @slobberchops was born to stack shelves for the next few years.

Christmas was fast approaching and the workload I was expected to get through was immense and never-ending.

My training consisted of being shown the back-shop, a vast array of pallets, and the words, ‘get on with it’.

A stock lad was expected to fill the shelves, take away the cardboard, tidy the back-shop, attend to demanding customers if the shelves were empty, accept deliveries, cleaning the nightmare Gents toilets (I'm coming to that below) and clean that shitty asphalt black floor after the customers had all left amongst other things.

My salary for all this was around £40 a week before tax. If I got £33 I was doing well.

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Every 3 days a ‘load’ would arrive. A ‘load’ was a massive arctic truck with around 14 pallets of jam, bog rolls, biscuits, tins of beans, tinned meat, tinned condoms and everything else it seemed.

Carrot generally jumped on the back of this truck with a set of ‘wheels’ and the driver generally went back to his cabin and went to sleep.

The drivers were just as bad as Mort and considered themselves members of the ‘Armchair Club’, that is lazy motherfuckers.

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wheels’ were for pulling heavy pallets full of stuff just like these (above).

The ‘back-shop’ was where all these pallets of stuff lived until I pulled one on the shop floor and started unloading it on the shelves.

Once the pallet was in place, a hydraulic lift let it descend, and then I had to pull these with another set of wheels into the back-shop, joining any others from the previous load if they hadn’t been stacked on the shelves already.

After around an hour, the back-shop was so crammed with these ‘pallets of stuff’ that I had to stack I could barely enter the area.

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Carrot did help a little with the pallets; I have to give him some credit. For every 6 I emptied he managed 1. Do you think that's a bad ratio? It was a damn fine one compared to what was to come.

I mentioned the Gents toilets in a previous episode. While the Ladies got their own private washroom in the ramshackle canteen, the blokes had to make do with something out of a horror scene.

In the far corner of the supermarket was a nondescript door with no markings. That was the Gents, and going for a rapid piss was about as much as I could muster.

…’I learned to hold my breath for over a minute shortly after joining Kwiksave, it was essential if I was to continue living’…

Occasionally a male customer would ask me where the toilets were, and I motioned them to the distant unobtrusive door in the corner, trying my best to suppress the laughter.

More often than not, said customer emerged gagging and gasping for air after just a few seconds. On one occasion an ambulance had to be called for with emergency oxygen.

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...'enter at your peril, going in here for a piss was a desperate act of foolishness'...

The Kwiksave Gents toilets were only for the most desperate of mankind with severe bursting bladders. It was about the only laugh I had in those first few months.

Short breaks and lunch breaks were extremely regimented. I had 30 minutes for lunch, a 10-minute break around 10.30 am and another one at 3.30 pm.

Kwiksave did not trust their staff whatsoever and we were expected to ‘clock in’ and ‘clock out’ even for the ten-minute sessions.

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As the clock mechanism was right up against the office door, I knew Mort was observing me with those shifty eyes, the look of condescension and smugness never faltering as he shifted his feet that were positioned on a nearby table.

The factory jobs, I knew included the prestigious position of ‘Tea Lad’ and one of my other chores was brewing up. This is a northern term for making a cup of coffee or hot tea.

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As a perk, I did get a free cup, and Mort expected one every morning. It is true I did intentionally try and poison him by putting around 3 teaspoons of that cheap shitty coffee, Nescafe, in every cup.

After a while, he started moaning and complaining, and eventually banned me from making his personal cup of coffee. I still don’t like vanilla Nescafe today.


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To be continued...


Cover Picture is a combination of free sources from here and here, combined and edited with Luminar 4. Any unsourced images are my own.

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If you found this article so invigorating that you are now a positively googly-eyed, drooling lunatic with dripping saliva or even if you liked it just a bit, then please upvote, comment, resteem, engage me or all of these things.

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This series is really taking off. Way to go @slobberchops!

Thanks man, they do take some writing these..

It's really an horror novel to read! To be sincere, my attention was focsed on the toilet. As a woman, for me "a rapid piss" doesn't exist and thinking about that kind of toilet it's like a nightmare :D

You would have escaped the toilets, men only! There was a cinema next door, they might have let you wee in there instead. That closed down a long time ago.

Yup, been in few hell holes myself and one even feels dirty all of the time.
They all have cockroach bosses that only care about one thing, money.
Look at those toilets and see what greed does to people.

Yet kudos to you for you stuck it out for a few years. Much better than I did.

I had to stick it, there was nothing else out there at the time.. unemployment was high and the country was in a bad state.

Well great of you to stick with it.
I had the same situation with 3 small kids when the construction sector slumped. Became a cigarette machine technician and worked at BAT for 5 years. Fortunately things were kept very clean, but a most boring job.

BAT = British American Tobacco? Got some shares in that company, the minute I bought them, they slumped massively!

Sorry to hear that and that's why I don't deal in shares.

Ah. It takes me back to my days of manual joy!! The hierarchy of lazy bastard-dom!

I was really fit in those days, a side-effect of not being in the 'Armchair Club'!

I was as fit as a fiddle too back then. Never stood still for a minute!!

Can the next episode be dropped as soon as possible. Haha...

The Kwiksave gents look like an old dilapidated prison gent... Eeew

Can the next episode be dropped as soon as possible. Haha...

Probably not, they take a couple of hours each to write these things, even though some of the material is a re-write. I will try and speed things up tho!

Okay @slobberchops. We'd be anticipating.

God. I was an overnight stocker at Walmart. My first day, 22 new people were supposed to start, but only 2 of us showed up. You can imagine what it was like.

The sly veteran employees would take the easy areas, and give us new guys hard stuff like Pets (think hundreds of tiny cans of cat food), Sporting Goods (tiny fishing lures and hooks all stuck together) and Groceries (think heavy gallons of water, juice and canned goods).

They gave us almost useless workers. I was given a teeny tiny girl, just under 5ft tall as my partner in groceries. Because she was so short, she couldn't reach the upper shelves, meaning I had to do them.

She couldn't lift anything heavy, which left me doing all the water and most of the canned goods. I may as well have been working alone.

After two months of exhausting myself, I'd had enough. They cycle through new people like water now. Thank goodness I got out of Walmart! :)

Walmart bought out Asda in the UK, that was my first job. I tell you it was heaven compared to Kwiksave!


...'enter at your peril, going in here for a piss was a desperate act of foolishness'...

Oh, my! I think I would rather wet my pants.

You are truly a brave lad... You have my sincere admiration for putting up with that for 4 years.

Upped and Reposted

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Thanks @dswigle, there's a lot more horrors to come, this is just the start!

Christmas time is the worst in retail. I hated it every year I worked at Radio Shack. The commissions were usually pretty good, but it was just a lot of chaos and stress.

They must have been desperate to take me on, maybe I will cover that in the next 'Mort - The Shit Manager'. What happened prior to me arriving!

Can you still hold your breath that long? I feel I missed out by not having a shop job in my youth. They seem to be a good source of stories.

LOL, the only thing you missed is the terrible memories, you could probably make some fiction up with all your practice you had with the shit-posting.

I guess so, but real life can be weirder than the imagination. Just look at what we are living through.

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