The Horrors of Kwiksave: The Job Centre

in hive-170798 •  4 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

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Chapter Two: The Job Center

...'December 1980'...

'WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE BELOW'

It is now December 1980 and John Lennon is about to be shot dead in New York by a madman.

Thatcherism’ is taking its hold as the Conservative government attempts to fix the issues of a long age Labour government.

Britain is in the midst of high unemployment; it’s a grim time to be looking for work. Just listen to the song ‘One in Ten’ by UB40 and feel the atmosphere.

@slobberchops is also now unemployed and browsing the job adverts in ‘The Job Centre’, Rawtenstall, East Lancashire, England.

I lolled at some of the positions I could see. 'Machine Operator' paying £50 a week? Could I ever dream of earning so much?

Slipper Works Tea Lad’. Fuck that, it was only £30 a week, even less than my last job with free bullying included.

Some of my old school buddies had done the ‘factory route’ and their typical daily roles were made up of brewing cups of tea all day and cleaning the staff bogs.

The Asda salary was £31 a week and that was before tax. ‘Maggie’ stole an extra £3 of that bringing my bottom line down to a stunning £28, and then my parents wanted a cut of that too.

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...'it might look swish with that fancy designer sign, but don't be fooled. The Job Centre jobs in 1980 were typically, Bog Cleaner, Road Sweeper and Tea Boy'...

Working life was shit, and only marginally better than school.

I was a slightly built lad, or to put it another way a skinny bastard, and on occasion managed to get away with half-fare on the local buses even at 17 years of age, though they were starting to get wise to me.

The things one had to do to save a little cash. I had stopped short of wearing a school uniform but it had crossed my mind.

...'and then I saw it, in all its glory, grandeur and splendour'...

It was as if it had been waiting just for me to see it, a card that physically drew me in, making my nose painfully smack against the drawing-pin filled whiteboard full of other terrible jobs.

’WANTED: Stock Lad – URGENT!’

The job of my dreams; the job to surpass all others and it was something I could do with my masses of experience and £35 a week. Fucking hell, that was a 10% rise!


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...'much like this doorway to heaven, the STOCK LAD card seemed to me like an escape from unemployment hell'...

I grabbed the card with so much force it nearly tore, and briskly marched to the front desk.

'Ahem', I said to the snoozing middle-aged woman behind the desk, drool dripping down her grizzled, slightly hairy chin.

She was holding a fag in her left hand that was starting to burn the desk and visibly jumped at my voice.

As I was not much of a conversationalist at the age of 17, I simply handed grizzlechin the card.

Have you any supermarket experience?’, came the first question as she stared at the card with a glazed, uninterested look.

Yes’, came my terse reply.

..and where have you gained this experience?’, she continued, the voice as monotone as a Status Quo record.

Asda’ – no need for details I figured.

How long did you work there?

Almost 2 years’, came the exaggerated answer. One glance up would have seen the obvious lie.

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grizzlechin sighed and took a deep draw of the cigarette that now contained a huge wad of burnt ash, blowing most of the smoke into my face.

… and why did you leave?’, she drawled, boredom oozing from a scratchy voice that was at least an octave lower than it should have been.

cough, needed a.. cough, splutter, change, cough, splutter

This one should have put me on the spot, but fortunately, I was convulsing so badly due to the smoke inhalation that grizzlechin simply nodded.

Satisfied with my choked filled, incohesive response she picked up the telephone and started dialling.


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...'not me, but the hair length was similar. These old farts didnt half have a problem with us unruly youths'...

After a few, yeses and no’s, followed by ‘his hair is a bit long’, and ‘I think he might wash it occasionally’ she hung up.

The supervisor at Asda often gave me unnecessary shit for my long hair, was I going to be subject to more of this tedious middle-aged lecturing?

'Can you go to the store now? it's Kwiksave on Bacup Road

If there was one thing that was simpler in 1980, it was getting an interview.


To be continued...


Cover Picture is a combination of free sources from here and here, combined and edited with Luminar 4. Shopping cart icon is a FREE Pixabay image.

Any uncited pictures are copyright ME!

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... not me, but the hair length was similar.

This guy does not seem to be a skinny bastard.

Neither are you, by the way, from your picture. I meant the skinny part, of course ;-)

I have pictures of me at 17, but there's no way I will put them on the chain. My avatar? well, he's just that.. the maniac that masks my true self!

I worked at kwiksave back in 1999 and it was a shit hole then too, I had just left school and it was a case of walking in off the street and asking for a job. the next day I was getting till trained, and was stocking shelves.
I have no idea what I was doing, but I think all the staff there felt the same. nobody cared and the customers didn't care either.
I lasted a whole month before walking out and working for burgeoning, and that wasn't the best job ever, but the staff there were full of fun.

LOL, it's great to hear from someone else whos worked here. Did they make you remember all the prices? There were no markings on anything then and the customers had to 'guess' how much stuff cost.

That's right mate, I got moved to stacking shelves as I saw fit to make everything about 25p or something like that, there was a lady who was "training me" who just didn't give a fuck, she just said to me if you don't know the price don't worry and don't ask, so I took that as the opportunity to price everything the same, better for the customers. then I got moved to stacking shelves.
I believe Kwiksave is still going further up north, not too sure though. god help the staff there if they are. haha

I saw fit to make everything about 25p or something like that, there was a lady who was "training me" who just didn't give a fuck, she just said to me if you don't know the price don't worry and don't ask, so I took that as the opportunity to price everything the same, better for the customers. then I got moved to stacking shelves.

Howling with laughter mate!!!, 25p for anything.. it's no wonder they went bust! You were probably their bane.. hahaha!!!

I was a young lad at the time, first job from leaving school, who would let a kid operate the tills? the staff didn't care there and the manager at the time was always outside with his fag in his gob.
When I worked at burger king I decided to through a party at my mums house, the only problem then was my wage was about £2.90 or something.
I needed food for my party so I decided to take a box of burgers home with me one night and cook them up, when stock take came up, I got into a little bit of trouble.
I wouldn't have got caught but a so-called mate came to the party who I worked with and opened his mouth about where they had gone too. The gaffer gave me a choice, pay for the box or I was sacked so I had to work for about a week without pay to pay it back.
Looking back I was lucky that the gaffer was so laid back, because in this day I would have probably got a criminal record for doing daft shit like that.

You should write your own tales, they sound great!

I did a series of stories of when I worked as a pizza delivery guy, a lot of people liked them. I stopped writing them as I got a little sidetracked with the gardening when I moved into our new house.
Somethings that I have seen it is out of this world. from a man in a nappy stroking his nipple to half-naked students lads and lasses. it was a great job :D and the pay was good too.

It was similar to get an interview back then. Nine of these competency based questions in them either!

Stock Lad? lol. My first job was Mill boy!

Haha.., as prestigious a title as me then, did it involve making tea for the old crew?

If only it was as glamorous. It involved pulling planks out of a sawing machine. And pushing a barrow of them about when it was full. It was hellish and awful and full of scumbags. However, bizarrely it paid quite a lot. Relatively, of course!

I wonder if the youth of today get shitty jobs like we had? It was one to another then.., it took until 1986 before I notched up a step from this shitty type of work.

Lol. It took me way longer. I was in a band in my twenties and early thirties so took shit jobs so we could go and gig places. I think it was the green of the millennium before I knuckled down.

It's like to think the jobs were a tad better these days but probably not!

I'm really looking forward to this series. I remember the original and look forward to the updated version!

Good to hear someone is looking forward to it. That gives me the impetus to write, thanks @bigtom13 :)

My dad worked in a factory. He didn't like it much either, but it paid well and it provided for the family. I had long hair for a short period too, but that quickly went away. I wasn't really looking for a job so it never became much of an issue.

The factory, I lasted 1.5 weeks and wrote about it in a single chapter almost 2 years ago. It was just as I imagined, bullies, brown smoke rooms that bulged the stuff and horrible work. Yes, it was worse than Kwiksave.

Oh those were pretty good years for me. I started my own landscape company and was mowing lawns. Never was as fit and best part was I could eat anything I wanted coz I would burn it off. Oh I had a few bucks, a Chevy Nova and there were drive in movies :) Life was good!

Yeah, I was very fit too, all the manual work I was made to do there.. while...whoops I'm getting ahead of myself here!

Haha! I remember those days. One got hired on the spot, and went straight to cleaning a grease trap or dumpster. Are you a serial autobiographer, with embellishments?

Are you a serial autobiographer, with embellishments?

Something like that, I find this kind of material flows out of me. I still remember the faces of these bastards (in the episodes to be written), 40 years later. You can tell it had an impact?!

This makes you a bit younger than me. I can picture it all. looking forward to it.

I hope your patient, sometimes I write as fast as George RR Martin...