Thursday, 3 July 2008


I am quite proud of doing this as once I really did work very hard. It usually all or nothing with me, like I work my cotton socks off, or I do absolutely nothing. Usually I am only galvanised into action by money issues. On quite a few weeks Mark and I have done the equivalent of two full time jobs without any childcare, which usually involves complicated timetables and working at different hours of the day or night.

A few years ago I used to work 25 hours over the weekend, which was the only time I could work so that Mark could look after the kids at the weekend. I had two jobs, Lidl from 10-6, and then Jacksons until 11pm. By the time I got to Jacksons I usually just used to volunteer for the 'facing' of tins as that was all that I could manage, though I did have to face queues of people on a Saturday night on occasions. There were some rowdy people but fortunately I worked with a very capable lady who knew what she was doing.

The best checkout operators are always found at shops like Lidl because they cut the numbers so that there is a skeleton staff to save money, usually only two checkout operators and a manager. There is a continuous queue on a Saturday. Many of the girls are not academic but they are clever and quick witted and it is a tiring job so you need a lot of stamina and you have to deal with any manner of people, like the local friendly tramp who used to come in for the cheap booze. You have to be very fast and you have to memorise hundreds of codes of the fruit and vegetables and 'Specials' and you don't have the barcodes to swipe so you are putting in codes at breakneck speeds. At Netto I think they just do it by memorising codes and putting them in which is very difficult. I managed, but was not among the elite (they have computerised records of how fast people are, in fact I was way at the bottom) and to be honest quite a few people came back complaining that on their receipts it appeared that they had bought things which they had never even heard of. lol I did get into quite a lot of trouble for this.

In shops like Lidl there is a lot of rubbish but there is also a lot of high quality (usually German) food and there were quite a lot of discerning people like doctors among the shoppers buying Swiss chocolate, mulled wine, whisky or roll mop herrings. (Some people even bought Marks and Spencers carrier bags to put their food in to disguise the fact they had been shopping at Lidl lol) There were also quite a lot of people of the traveller variety, but not really many people in between. We used to buy the Swiss chocolate Christmas decorations and stocking fillers like socks shaped like animals with little feet, all for a pittance. We also bought quite a lot of cheap seeds and plants there, and there were 'Specials' in the middle which were an assortment of things and you could buy cutprice compact disc players and garden ornaments. There was also some very cheap pinky orange 'All Juice' concoction, containing the juice of a myriad exotic fruits, including mango and papaya for a pound, which I used to make the kids drink so help them get at least three of their five a day. Some of the contents of the food tins, though, were uneatable so we used to give them to the dog lol

I quite like doing a fast checkout, again it a challenge, and in a way it is quite exciting as it won't stop and you are pitting your wits against it. I don't think the checkout operators at Morrisons would experience quite the same buzz or high. Sad, really, that I enjoyed a thing like this. Sometimes I used to be moving my arms from side to side in my sleep in my dreams, because I had been doing it all day.


Frances said...

Yay Lidl - we do most of our shopping there. Though they don't have everything, so we do have to go to other places. We even went to Lidl in France to buy wine and cider! LOL
They are great - and as you say the cashiers are fantastic. I think you get just as good and polite customer service there as in any other supermarket despite the small workforce.
Dunno about you, but I found working in a shop really interesting and enjoyable - one thing I really liked about it was that there was no homework and nothing to worry about after work - do your hours and have a life.

Bev said...

We shopped like that at Lidl too, and you can't buy everything there. We used to go to the Morrisons across the road for the main staples.

I agree about working in shops, physically hard but no mental stress, or at least no ongoing mental stress. Jobs involving your brain and with some responsibilty must be lot more stressful(not that I have done many like this lol)

dianeclancy said...

Hi Bev,

This is so good!!! You have such a gift!!! I do stuff in my sleep too!!

~ Diane Clancy

The Artful Eye said...

Lot's of interesting work here and physically demanding after long hours.

I have had jobs in the service industry and enjoyed talking with people and meeting all types of individuals but it does take a toll after awhile. Currently experiencing mental toll, not sure which I'd prefer physical or mental ...wait how about winning the lottery? I much prefer a volunteer and give back to the community kind of job.

Anonymous said...

John said...


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Bev said...


When did you finish doing this job exactly? lol