Nine Things to Expect When You Start Working at a Supermarket

Man planking in supermarket

Copyright: Wikimedia Commons

Sammy Jones worked at a supermarket before she worked at Rife. It was… interesting. If you’re a newbie on the shop floor, this is the list for you.

Ah, Ye Olde Supermarket. Land of screaming toddlers, bagging areas and ever-sullen staff. But honestly, who can blame them when they’ve got this to contend with? Step this way to learn what to expect when you start out at a supermarket (or, the alternative title: ‘how to get on at work when work doesn’t get on with you’).

1) Old people will LOVE you.

They’ll call you ‘a special smiley girl’, even when you look like you’re chewing a wasp due to the endless boxes of sugarsnap peas you’re putting out at 8am. They’ll even disclose details of their wife’s buttock inflammation to you and the rest of the till queue. Lucky you!

Justin Timberlake giving the camera the stink eye

Copyright: Imgur

2)      There are a million ways to steal from a self-service till.

The worst of which being making a run for it when your card is declined. It would be cool if the till transformed into Robocop and lazered the culprit on the spot but in fact it just sits there and lets the poor till person chase the chancer out of the door like a fool.

Jez off Peep Show running through a house

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3)       You will be exposed to all ends of the parenting spectrum.

From mums shouting ‘shut the f*** up, Gary!’ at their squalling two-year-old in the confectionary aisle to game dads wearing their daughter’s princess crowns in the bakery queue.

Little girl brandishing a hairbrush

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4)      To be stuck in the eternal lunchtime quandaries.

Rinse the staff discount in-store, or leave said hell-hole for thirty sweet, sweet minutes of natural sunlight?

Man from Pocahontas screams and runs into the woods

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5)      Some people just live to be angry.

Let them blow off steam by kicking the self-service machines (which they will insist on using despite ‘hating the bloody things’) or arguing with a manager about their eggs ‘smelling like fish’. These people have no shame whatsoever and live extremely sad lives that will hopefully culminate in a massive blancmange falling on them from a great height, killing them instantly. Or so I fantasise while looking after the self-service tills.

Bedraggled man says, 'Perhaps you should get out more'

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6)      Lots of people (especially grannies) carry around massive and unnecessary wads of cash.

Some kind of granny status symbol? Who knows? No wonder they’re always getting mugged.

Old people dancing to MIA

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7)      You can say all sorts of weird stuff to people that you definitely wouldn’t get away with unless you worked there.

I’ve complimented two children on their awesome shoes and had a conversation with a bloke about his caravan timeshare in Devon. This is only the tip of the iceberg—prepare yourself for daily instalments of Hollyoaks-style stories involving death and estrangement. Definitely never mention flowers at the till. They’re almost always for a grave.

Bald man cries.

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8)      You’ll become desensitised to the sheer amount of food that’s wasted daily.

It’s horrendous, but it has to be done. You hope bin-divers come every night, but you know they don’t.

Elf says, ' You sit on a throne of lies'

Copyright: Imgur

9) When someone asks how YOU are and how YOUR day is going, you’ll be so shocked your eyes will pop out of your head and you’ll blither a ‘ooh, LOVELY thanks!!!’ in response.

This will only happen once a year.

Corgi dancing with joy

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So have you ever worked at a supermarket? Recognise any of these, or have ones to add of your own? Interested in joining my support group for trodden-down sales assistants? Shout me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know.