‘Could you point me towards the anchovies?’
‘No, I’m afraid not Madam. I’ve never worked here before and I don’t know the layout of the shop. I’ve just been left with this cage full of products and told to get on with it. In fact I don’t even work for this supermarket. I’m working for an agency which has sub-contracted me from another agency, by arrangement with the supermarket, for just one shift. This is my first day, and my only day. Yes I’m wearing black, but look more closely: this isn’t a supermarket uniform; it’s an unmarked black jumper, frayed at the cuffs. And these aren’t regulation shopfloor trousers, they’re old jeans. The agency told me to wear black so I would blend in with the proper members of staff while I’m stacking shelves. Or rather, while I appear to be stacking shelves... See these packets of organic spelt I’m holding? I have no idea where they go. I don’t even know what organic spelt is. This place, and most of the products and people in it, are totally alien to me. I’ve visited this shop as a customer about twice in five years, and I just bought a loaf of bread or a bar of chocolate and got the hell out. Until today, that is. So no, I’m sorry, I don’t know where the anchovies are. Maybe they've moved. An addition to the usual shopping list, yes? Following a TV chef recipe? Don't worry, you'll find them sooner or later. Whereabouts exactly, your guess is as good as mine. Or even better than mine. Because really we’re approaching this whole issue from the wrong angle, aren’t we? You seem at home here, you must come in regularly, twice a week at least. You’ve got a basket full of items already. You know where you’re going and what you’re buying. I’m standing here with this organic spelt, whatever that is, and I should be asking you where it goes. It must be near here somewhere. Could you direct me towards the right shelf? Just a minute out of your busy day, please, I’ve been standing here for twenty minutes. It took ten minutes to find the right place for the last thing, and then the shelf was full so I had to put it back in the cage. And that’s when I picked up this organic spelt. I want to tear it open and spray the damned stuff across the aisle. But the supervisor won’t be pleased about that. Do you understand? I’m on a twelve hour shift. I’m going out of my mind. As a fellow human, I’m begging you, please-’

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