Many years ago, before I worked for the bus company, I was employed for a while at Tesco on the Wines and Spirits department. It was hard work, humping heavy boxes of bottles around all day, but compensated for with some great laughs.
The fellow who was my supervisor possessed a wicked sense of humour and he resembled John Thomson the actor from Cold Feet, though he was probably shorter and also a bit 'camp' too. His name was Albert.
One of the things that amused Albert was the bit in the Staff Training Manual that stated: The customers are not interested one little bit in your idle gossip…
"Yes they are, most definitely!" Albert would counter, and he would prove the assertion wrong on several occasions too with staged little incidents.
One quiet day Albert rushed out onto the shop floor looking a bit flustered and said to me loud enough to be heard: "Matt, can you lend me a fiver as my sister, who works for Tate and Lyle, has just phoned me to tell me there's going to be a severe and long sugar shortage."
"Bloody hell, Albert, I'll give you a tenner and get a whole load for me too!"
In the background was a middle-aged woman pretending not to earwig. We knew different of course.
I handed Albert the tenner and he disappeared out the back. In the meantime I quietly watched the woman wheel her trolley out of the aisle.
A few minutes later Albert returned and we carried on stocking the shelves but keeping a sharp lookout in the direction of the pallet at the far end of the store where the bags of sugar were stacked.
Sure enough, after about ten minutes, the woman approached the sugar pallet.
I nudged Albert and we both looked on, trying to contain our laughter, as she placed bag after bag of sugar into her trolley till it was totally full.
I imagined her later at home and her husband asking her why every cupboard was full of sugar and she tapping the side of her nose and replying knowingly: "I have inside information that there is going to be a worldwide sugar shortage soon…"
That was over forty years ago. They've probably just about got through it all now!
Albert and I scripted a few other 'wind ups' though that was probably the funniest but there was another weird incident…
One morning I was in the warehouse putting boxes away when I heard a thump followed by a gasp and then the sound of a body crumpling to the floor.
I came out to the main corridor to see this fellow in a suit lying unconscious at the door of the dairy refrigeration stock room surrounded by fourteen pound blocks of cheese. The First Aider was called and after a bit he revived and was well enough to go home though clearly shaken.
It turned out he had been counting the cheese which had been stacked precariously high when he had inadvertently nudged the pile for it to collapse with one landing on his head rendering him unconscious for a few minutes. Fortunately he made a full recovery.
After, there were a few jokes going round about cheese giving you bad dreams…
Funny enough, I attended, a few weeks later, the annual staff party which was fancy dress and was asked by the Dairy Manager why I hadn't come in an outfit.
I responded by lying on the floor with my eyes closed and saying, wittily I thought: "I've come as a cheese rep!"
"Very fucking funny, Matt!"
I've got a few other amusing tales of my time at Tesco which I'll get round to posting some time.