I am sorry dear reader. I am truly sorry. I did something really bad last night.
Forgive me. I went to Tescos.
Yes I know….unforgivable. I feel dirty. Unclean. Like I had done some unspeakable sexual act with a parsnip or eaten Marmite…or worse….
But it was to get essential Fair Trade Teabags and some essential sundries that the local shops don’t sell. Anyway….at the checkout (I use the manned ones because I don’t believe in the self service ones. They’re kind of dirty in a “Lets-automate-everything!” kind of way. I reckon if they could get away with it Tescos would automate all the checkouts thus doing away with the need to employ real people. After all this IS the supermarket that is trialling TAGGING FOR ITS EMPLOYEES [for stock control purposes of course <chin stroke chin stroke>]) at the checkout….on the wall…there was a little computer display which showed the number of tills open; the number of tills needed; the number of tills needed open in 15 minutes and the number of tills needed open in 30 minutes. I guess this new thing was there to advise checkout managers that they need to open more tills. The display showed that there were 11 tills and one express till open. It forecast that in 15 minutes there would only be the need for 10 tills and 1 express till.
Yet it lied. There was a queue. Of the other 10 checkouts I could see from my view point only 1 other would clear within less than that time and there was a queue growing at the checkout we were at. Not quite snaking up the aisle….but burgeoning enough to warrant an extra checkout to be opened. But such is the modern way of management. Leave it up to the computers. In fact fuck it….lets sack everyone and ban the customers from entering the shop….they’d only steal stuff…lets leave the shopping and checking out of shopping to computers!
Well in the Tesco ideal world at least. But then I thought about our poor checkout Joe. Sat there. Face as long as a Grand National Winner (Yes he was a horse). He looked beyond that “I’m going to go postal in a minute” stage and was at the “If I switch off my mind maybe the numbness will pass” stage. I’m sure if I’d offered him a bag of skag to take away the pain he might have leapt at the chance. I thought about Checkout Joe and I thought about when I worked in the Uber Fascist environs of the Telewest Blueyawnder call centre. Poor Checkout Joe will probably be working to some sort of quota/stat thing. He might have to checkout each customer within an allotted time. Like in Telewest were I had 7 and a half minutes to instruct a complete IT numpty how to reinstall Windows 95/98 (Which, IS impossible. No matter how fast your hard drive and CD drive is….you cannot ever ever get a monkey to install Windows 95 in seven and a half minutes. No! You cannot!). Checkout Joe probably has 5 minutes to clear each customer and he probably has to see to more customers than he did last week or his targets will be out. If his targets are out he will get a slapped wrist or told that he might lose his job unless he squeezes more customers past his checkout than he did last week. Solidarity Checkout Joe! Up the Worker! I helped to hurriedly pack away the groceries and made a hasty departure. Leaving poor Checkout Joe to his line of sullen faced customers. As I drove out of the supermarket I’m sure I heard screaming and what looked like red splashes on the shop window….but then I might have imagined that.