‘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.
Chapter One: A Prelude to the Best Job in the Land
Chapter Two: The Job Centre
Chapter Three: The Interview
Chapter Four: Christmas is Coming
Chapter Five: The Changing of the Blades
Chapter Six: The Staff
Chapter Seven: The Auxiliary Staff and The Load
Chapter Eight: The Sugar Maniac
Chapter Nine: The Accusation and "Big Lad"
Chapter Ten: Naggy
Chapter Eleven: Shit and Noise
'WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE BELOW'
I realised very early in my illustrious Kwiksave career that I was working for such a tight-arsed, mean company that every cost-cutting corner that could be snipped at… was.
I was employed as a shelf-filler, not a fucking cleaner but here I was cleaning the floors every two weeks.
I don't mean scraping up the jam that some dickhead customer dropped while fumbling for a jar, I mean the general cleaning duties that any other respectable organisation would pay for.
“You need to stay behind tonight and clean the floor.., you and that new lad”, said Mort in his customary blunt tone I was now well accustomed too.
‘The floor’ meant the whole shop floor and using dirty mops that were well past their sell date, with little in the way of strands of nylon interlaced with cotton to be seen.
I detested this job even more than cleaning out the shitters; at least that could be done in ten minutes. The floor was another matter, large in size and made of a black smooth asphalt surface you no longer see in today's world.
When it rained, people walked all over it with their dirty shoes and it quickly became a muddy grey colour with the accumulated dust turning to a coat of mud.
Myself and Graham were expected to work overtime (this was mandatory) after work hours to clean the crusty, shit-covered floor which generally took around 2 hours.
One perk was that we did get paid for it, though I have no doubts in my mind that if Kwiksave could have made us do it for nothing then they would.
Mort, to his credit, did help but not in the manner you may think. He provided the buckets with steaming hot water, laced with some cheap washing up liquid and the antique mops.
“Hurry up, I don’t want to be here all night”, came the predictable droll comment after handing us the equipment.
"When you have finished, you need to do it again this time with clean water", he continued, those slanty eyes scrutinising me as though I had committed some kind of crime, like eating damages.
Well, that's just fucking great; so we had to clean the floor twice? It was a ritual that went on for some time before Kwiksave eventually decided to make a change.
In 1981, supermarkets constantly played crappy music; this was the standard policy of those times which I had deduced, as Asda had done exactly the same thing the year before.
Kwiksave had a reel to reel tape machine in the office with around three different tapes of music from the period.
The tapes were constantly played to death, over and over, and over again until the songs were a permanent part of my ingrained memory and were only changed when they physically wore out.
This I would estimate would be once a year, and as the tunes were repeated day after day, they threatened to drive me mentally insane.
Being an avid fan of the music charts during this time period, I knew every song played backwards. However because the company was made up of complete tight-ass bastards, they wouldn’t pay for the original recordings.
The music, therefore, was not by the original artists but performed by some cheap street entertainers, a little like those cheesy Top of the Pops albums that were sold by everyone in the previous decade (but bought by few).
After months of torture, I was at breaking point and my love of music was being literally threatened.
Mort didn't care about the music as he was in the office 97% of his working life, a place that was completely devoid of those irritating tunes. It's quite ironic as the source of the irritant was right next to him.
I never mentioned the music to Mort as he would likely have increased the volume to further torture me.
As a consequence, today I can no longer listen to ‘Body Talk – Imagination’, ‘Green Door - Shakin' Stevens’, ’Making Your Mind Up - Bucks Fizz’, ‘I Just called to say I Love you – Steve Wonder’, or ’Intuition – Linx’. There are plenty more but these left serious scars within my head, never to heal.
What made it worse is that the aforementioned tunes are all awful and the original tracks would have been no better. Why couldn't we have simple silence?
I referred to the music as ‘noise’, and used to beg Sharon the supervisor, at times going down on my hands and knees to make the noise cease as soon as the doors were closed to customers.
She would flash me that blackened toothy grin and turn it off. Oh.., I can feel the stirrings in my loins.
To be continued...