The Horrors of Kwiksave: The Staff

in The Ink Well2 months ago (edited)

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
Chapter Four: Christmas is Coming

Chapter Five: The Changing of the Blades

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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 Six: The Staff

...'March 1981'...

'WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE BELOW'

While the donkey-work of endlessly keeping the shelves full was a job for ME, and occasionally the yoghurt section for Mort, I should introduce the rest of the Kwiksave staff.

Everyone else was female, as being a checkout operator was deemed a girly job in 1981. Self-service checkouts were non-existent, it was all cashiers then.

The supervisor, Sharon was a good looking young woman with a rather extravert personality.

I think she liked me as she sometimes pulled on my curls, (I had longish hair then) and called me ‘cute’ on more than one occasion.

This was generally while passing me during her jaunts to the back of the store to interrogate the other checkout operators on pricing (see below).

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…'if this image is one of the strong muscle-bound fearsome Roman Gladiator being fawned upon by the rich ladies who fancied being shagged from behind by some uncultured barbarian then your imagination is a little unfocused’…

More like a long-haired skinny lout dripping in sweat, covered in box scratches with the possibility of being a little pungent if bath night was not ‘last night

The fact that my hair was more of a throwback to the seventies was no big deal it seemed and maybe my smell was 'manly', or was it the Hai Karate?


...'wearing Hai Karate was a must in 1981, watch the video to see what happens when one does'...

The fact was there was no chance I would have the balls to ask Sharon out.

For one, she was the supervisor which meant she had long spells in the office cavorting with Mort, and secondly, she ranked above me.

One couldn’t date a mini-boss, and what if Mort was forcing her to do dastardly deeds such as sexual favours? Was this the reason for the 'tooth problem'?

Her looks were marred by one of her front incisors that had broken off, and become rotten which left people rather shocked when she smiled.

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I am quite possibly looking into this too deeply, as there appeared nothing between them at a casual glance.

Sharon had no shortage of smiles and appeared oblivious to the horrified looks she received.

Someone told me that she was terrified of dentists. I don’t blame her; they were fucking animals in 1981.

Marianne was a regular checkout operator, probably in her early 30’s, with curly blond bleached hair and also good looking, if a little worn out.

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...'similar but this chick is younger and better looking than Marianne'...

A very down to earth, no-nonsense person I didn't have much interaction with her. Maybe she got married too early and had experienced a hard life?

In any case, she didn’t seem to want to have anything to do with blokes and kept away from me and Mort.

Well… everyone kept away from Mort.

Linda was a chubby girl, married, and in her late 20’s with decent looks. She was a cheery person, but quite dull-witted with an approximate IQ of around 75.

I tried often to talk to Linda only to find my comments flying way above her head and into the stratosphere, with me getting some strange looks in return.

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...'Linda was chubbier and not quite as pretty as this model'...

I had to talk to someone, and my only chance was the 15-minute break in the mornings and afternoons. Anything to keep me above the sanity line.

There was another full-time checkout girl, but she was not talkative, or at least not to me, I can’t even remember her name. She seemed unfriendly and gave off that vibe.

The checkout girls were expected to memorise every price in the store. There were no price stamps on any of the stock.

Each girl was tested every week by the supervisor Sharon to see if they remembered the prices using a shopping basket full of random items. This included things that had increased in price too.

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Failure to remember the prices correctly resulted in disciplinary measures. It wasn’t that easy for them too.

On more than one occasion I found Linda in tears after receiving a bollocking for getting too many wrong answers after yet another price interrogation.

It appeared being a little thick didn’t really help on the memory management side.


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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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Excuse me!
Between 1980-85, I was a store manager with said supermarket chain and enjoyed every moment of it ( tongue firmly in cheek). Working 5 1/2 days a week + 2 late night shopping sessions for shit salary I took it upon myself to load my boot up with groceries once a week (Wednesday afternoon, half day closing )to improve my work/life balance. As well as the occasional ahem! Fiddle on my petrol expenses.

Happy memories about the ladies who worked there, my little soldier saw so much action! My last supervisor Mary O’Dwyer, a couple of years older than me, a raucous, fit as a butchers dog, Londoner. I still have fond memories of her. I will never forget the opening lines to our dalliance. It took place whilst we were having a coffee and a bite to eat in the office.

‘Mr. Grimes” she said “ did you know raw mushrooms taste just like spunk” looking me in the eye as she popped one in her mouth.

I shall leave that with you.

I took it upon myself to load my boot up with groceries once a week

A shocking admission... I should report you to the head office.. where was it, Llandudno or somewhere like that. It might be a good UX target.. have you looked?

about the ladies who worked there, my little soldier saw so much action!

So Mort was shagging Sharon, is that why she looked so happy..

It took place whilst we were having a coffee and a bite to eat in the office.

So the Armchair club is real and not a figment of my imagination?
https://peakd.com/hive-170798/@slobberchops/mort-the-shit-manager-the-armchair-club

“ did you know raw mushrooms taste just like spunk” looking me in the eye as she popped one in her mouth.

This is something I can imagine Sharon coming out with. She was a feisty one.., I am quite passionate about my 4 years of torture during my Kwiksave tenure. Will be interesting from your perspective.

Surely you started as a stock lad?

The tales I could tell!

Through a “friend” I started in January 80 as a trainee manager, had my own store in Shrewsbury by June finished in 85 at Whitchurch, when through another “friend” I moved into heavy industry.

I bet you didn’t know a pallet of sugar is very warm and comfortable for making the beast with two backs 😂

I have future tales about the sugar truck, keep your eyes peeled..

You were never a Stock Lad and had to endure the slavery I was subjected too, I was extremely fit then, the only perk I got!

I shall!

I had forgotten about Hai Karate!

Did you watch the commercial..., hilarious!

I know, they were all very silly, I'm surprised anyone would be seen (smelt?) dead wearing it, but it was all the rage, the fumes at a party on a Saturday night were overwhelming.

'the fumes' - hahaha...

😁

Oh God. Hai Karate is a memory that could've just stayed forgotten :)

You were the only boy besides Mort and couldn't get laid? I'm disappointed 😂 I thought maybe I was the only one.

I'm loving the rebirth of KwikSave. Thanks for it.

I was desperately shy then, and these women were all damn good looking. It wasn't until 'girl' arrived when the average looks rating plummeted.. but that is for a future episode.

I'm loving the rebirth of KwikSave. Thanks for it.

Thanks, it has been a while.. I will try and do them more often.

Dentists were fucking animals back then, I wouldn't have blamed her for her fear!!!

I know.. I had a pre-molar wrenched out of my mouth with a pair of pliers.., back and forth they went until I heard the sickening crunch of it being yanked out. My mouth was bleeding for days..

I had a similar thing. I also had one of those railway track braces put in for a year and the orthodontist refused to take it out after two years had passed even when my teeth were straight until I said I would complain to the dental hospital about him. He grudgingly and painfully removed it and told me not to come back!

I later found out that they got money for keeping them in. Shocking

He grudgingly and painfully removed it and told me not to come back!

I wonder if the pain level was him being deliberately rough removing it. Does this mean you couldn't brush your chops for two years? I never used a brace.

Hehe, I could brush them but had to get new brushes quite regularly as the brace tended to shred them!

And sure, he was absolutely at it with the roughness. Git. I read in the local rag many years later that he was getting sued for his antics

Self-service checkouts were non-existent, it was all cashiers then.

In 1981, I was living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in the supermarkets, they started to have "talking cash registers", that would announce the price of every item. As a customer, I was annoyed by all the noise produced, but it must have been worse for the poor cashiers that heard this during their whole shift.

Needless to say, the talking cash registers did not last long.

Talking cash registers never made it over the pond. The new tech appears in the US (and maybe Canada), and only some arrives here years later. Self-service checkouts took 10 years to make it. Talk about slow progress!

I can just imagine how it is hard to work with a minimal pay in a supermarket @slobberchops you items that you wanted to buy but cannot :/

The pay was atrocious in today's' terms. The early '80s was a grim period of high unemployment and Thatcherism.

Tsk! Us sophisticated dudes wore Brut!

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I had some of that too, just look at the trendy chain.. they were around most blokes necks as well as the pungent fumes emitting from their armpits.

There is no truth in the story that once, when very young and going on a date, that while preparing for said date one thought it would be a good idea take Henry Cooper at his word and "Splash it all over" one's dangly bits.


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"If you don't have enough power or Crypto to upvote me; reshare me instead. Reshares are worth their weight in gold!"

Don't forget, you can upvote peoples comments too!

Wow, you had to remember the price of every item? Christ, I'd have failed at the first hurdle, my intelligence level is passable but my memory is shot. 😁 Suddenly I have a whole new level of respect for the old Kwik Save workers.

I do remember hating shopping there. Unfortunately where I lived at the time (Handsworth Wood in Birmingham, mid to late 90's) there was one a 5 minute walk away. So that's where we tended to go for the bits and pieces we needed through the week. I mean the staff seemed ok, but I always remember the stores being dirty and shabby looking. I didn't miss them when they went!

It was the shabbiest place around, with all the stuff left inboxes and the clientele were mainly pensioners. A nightmare of a place to work, and emblazoned on my brain!

I remember when I lived in Germany that the checkout ladies in one of the supermarkets did all the prices from memory. That can't have been easy. I reckon the only ones who could do it now work in 'Pound shops'. It's a lost skill.

I @grindle played the field at work. I am sure lots of that still goes on in various companies. I've seen the odd saucy note passed around in some early jobs, but never had a workplace affair.

The big stores like Asda at that time provided 'guns' to their staff, these held prices tickets not rounds. I never saw anywhere with this stupid remembering idea besides Kwiksave.

I don't remember seeing it anywhere apart from the German shop. This was probably just before they all went digital, but maybe some of the cheaper ones didn't want to splash out on new gear.

Wow, what a memory you have. These ladies must have left quite the impact on you! :)

They were all quite tasty but a lot older than me. I was barely out of school, and yes, surprisingly I can remember most of their faces.