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Diary of a convenience store employee (Part 3)

Working life in a convenience store

After my Os, I had loads of time until school starts. Relaxing Rotting at home was not I had wanted. Imagine doing nothing but sleeping late, waking late and wasting your time like that for months? I am not the sort that can stomach such a lazy lifestyle. Furthermore, my mum kept nagging at me to go find a temp job.

That was when my aunt asked me if I'm interested in working with her down at the convenience store. She told me that the outlet belonged to my uncle in law's sister and they would prefer that their
employees be somewhat related to them as there have been cases of employees whom stole money from them.

I was fine with anything. I didn't even asked about the working hours or pay. As long as I'm not staying at home, I didn't gave a crap. Even though honestly, I am not close with
that side of my relatives. Had heard of them before through my other aunt that they were somewhat well off. She told me they used to franchise a KFC outlet before switching to 7-11, where they had 2 stores.

I had never worked before and was like a naive and ignorant 18 year old. First few days at work, I was paired with my aunt who gave me a crash course of everything on how to make the store running smoothly. Before this, I thought those cashiers at the convenience store had an easy time. Just scanning the items and collecting $, what's so difficult right? How terribly wrong my assumption was until I got into it.

Maybe it only applied to the morning and afternoon shifts. But on the night shift, there are lots of crap to do. Let me list them all out. Clean the Softee machine, pour the Milo/Lemonade or softee mixture in if it's empty, mop the floor, fill up the shelves with stock, check the stock if the deliverymen comes and then move them into the storeroom, go search for expired sandwiches/meals. Count all the stamps, cards left before shift ends, restart the cash registers. Throw the rubbish out. Count the leftover newspapers/count the fresh newspapers that come in the morning. etc etc. Add all these to handling the customers. Multi tasking "cashier" indeed. That extra $10 ain't that easy to earn.

The first few weeks I found it really tough going but I did not bitched at all as I had my experienced aunt beside guiding me through. Some stores have only one people doing all the tasks I'd mentioned above. So you can imagine how farked up it is. But, I enjoyed the tranquil early mornings.

Working at sunrise shift suits me just fine. My boss p
laced me on that shift for the first few months. Occasionally on the afternoon shifts too. I was at the same outlet until she decided to switch me to their main one at Tanjong Pagar (there's only one in that area if you're wondering) anyway.

New enviroment, new people

When I first got there, I immediately realized why this was their flagship store. There was a long line of queue and customers kept coming in. It was definitely busier than the one I'd been in all those months. Another tell tale sign was their drinks/beer chiller was so much bigger than the first outlet. Behind the chiller was a freezer to store all the cartons of beverages. This was better for us as refilling of drinks would be much easier and colder of course.

The store is definitely much busier. Staring work at 11,
the stream of customers would only die down at around 2am. It might be due to PSA being nearby and of course, not forgetting the rows of pubs just down the street. I'd also noticed cigarettes, condoms (well, it's just opposite a hotel), liquor and cards sell better here. The best (or worst) thing was there were all sorts of customers you would meet when on the job. Like...


1) The drunkard

Most dangerous type of customer. They would make a lot of noise, talk very loud and refuse to admit they are indeed pissed drunk. Not even when they can't even turn a few rounds properly Errr...I mean...walk unstably into the store, approach the chiller to grab beer. Sometimes they would keep talking to you in a gibberish manner. My partner advised me not to offend them or make them angry as they might hit you, like a few did to her sometime ago. Some even walk off without paying and you won't want to chase them as someone who's wasted cannot control their actions. I usually pray that they do not puke in the store. It would be troublesome for us to clean up.

2) The cardboard/can collector

Harmless, elderly and occasionally smelly. They usually pick up all the cardboards and empty drink cans we throw to the rubbish bin outside. Sometimes they would come in and ask if there was anymore. There was one which I hated. Whenever he came in, the store was filled with a digusting odour. The worst thing was he walked really slowly to get his can of Red Bull. My partner hated him more than me. I don't blame her. Even I hold my breath whenever he comes in.

3) The horny middle aged man and the hooker

They usually come in to stock up on "raincoats" and to buy some cards. Most of the time, the prostitutes don't look local and occasionally there are some Ang Moh men in their
30s accompanying their escort. I bet they would cross the road to Amara to watch TV "you-know-what" in their room. It's not hard to notice that some of them wear a ring on their hand. I can't help but imagine do their spouses back home know their partners are out there fooling around?

4) The "Wah lau eh why so expensive" whinger

I guess some people just are too dumb to realize that it's not called a 24 hour store for nothing. Some of them complain to us. But it's not like we set the price of the items. Blame them instead alright? Some just storm off and vow never to come back. Suits me fine, one less idiot to handle. Just stop bitching and don't patronize if you think that it's unfair. Sheesh. Even I do not buy stuffs from them when I am off duty as I think that it's honestly a rip off.

5) The underaged Ah Beng wanting to buy ciggies/liquor

They would try everything to fool us like speaking in a more matured voice, wear grown up clothes etc etc but we're not that dumb. You still have to hand over your identification. Some beg, ask us to turn a blind eye or give the most lame excuse ("Oh, I forgot to bring IC lah!) but no card, no talk lor. Bugger off then, little boy. Sometimes I know they are underaged but I would still let them off. Only when my partner ain't beside me that is.

6) The impatient/illiterate newspaper desperado

Some of them would keep on coming in and ask us when the newspapers would arrive. We tell them that we have no damn clue as it's due to the deliveryman's route. When the deliveryman is late, I really hate it as it means that I have to repeat the same answer to every few minutes. Grrr. When the stack of newspapers finally arrives, I have to quickly count it so that I can place it on the shelves. But some of them just grab what they want from when I'm counting. Bloody impatient bunch of rude fellas.

Afternoon shift when the Chinese newspapers are sold finish, we would put a sign in various languages by the shelves which informs them that there ain't any more. But still, we have people annoying us asking if it's true or whether we kept any extra copies. ¬_¬ Sometimes, I really want to scold all of them but I can't as I cannot be rude to them. Even my boss agrees with me. Why should we bloody lie to you all? Nothing better to do ah? Duh.

7) The Holier-Than-Thou arses

Sure, I might just be a lowly employee. But I am still a human being after all. Kindy keep your voice down when voicing out your dissatisfaction. Be it the Straits Times you bought is missing a section or the bread you got tasted funny, it ain't any of our fault anyway but we would gladly exchange it for you if stop being so unreasonable. Yes, I know you despise us from the way you look us.

Go ahead and threaten about complaining to my boss about rude service, I don't give a shit. Because after all, you are in the wrong as you verbally abused us. At the end of the day, you might be richer, smarter, older, better or have bigger tits than me but the fact of the matter is you're still an asshole.

Despite all the idiots I might come across, I am quite alright with this job. I mean, well, even when it was the holidays, I went back each time to work for the first 3 semesters. It was because I enjoyed working with the people there. I am among the youngest there. Most of them can be my mother/father/big brother.

I might have a love-hate relationship with my boss as she's fierce and tomboyish looking with short hair (she's called Audrey hahaha), but still, I think she likes my workrate despite me being inmatured when handling customers at times and late for a lot of times. Morever, all of us there are sort of related. They do take care of me well. I won't mind going back after my boring attachment to work for fun and pass time until enlistment. But I doubt there's a place to accomadate an old bird like me.

To be continued....

The Author

About me

Who am I?
You can call me Jul

What I do?
Full Time Underpaid and Reluctant NSF/Part Time Weekend Footballer

What I think about me?
I don't know what to write here honestly. Kinda weird to describe myself. I don't want to sound full of myself or put myself down too much like I usually do...so hey, if you think I am what you think I am, then I am really what you think I am then...I'm fine either way...

My profile
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