I don't like Mondays
Published:  21 September, 2007

The holidays are over, it's back to work and nothing's really changed

Of course, the thing about going away on holiday is that you have to come back to the mundanity of your day-to-day working life. Having said that, I haven't really got a problem with work

- neither the concept nor the execution . I was talking to one of our most enthusiastic customers a few days ago, a chap who makes roughly a 25-mile round trip on public transport every couple of weeks to stock up on his favourite Belgian beers, lugging them away in canvas bottle bags. We were chatting and I trotted out the old line about how this was the perfect job, apart from the hard work and the poor pay - it always gets a laugh - and that I could see myself doing it for a little while yet.

Fast forward to Monday, and how I could eat those words. The unusual thing about shop work is that, although there is always something to get on with, you need to be sure of having not only the time to do it, but also the will to start it. It's easy to find an excuse not to begin a bit of stocktaking, rotation, cleaning, ≠tidying. At the very least, you can be sure

you will be interrupted at random intervals by people coming in, buying the stock you're trying to count, rotate, dust or tidy, and making a tedious job just a little more unrewarding.

I can't even begin to think about the number of

times I've sprinted up from the cellar to sell someone a pack of chewing gum or some cigarette papers. So once all the mechanical end-of-week paperwork is done, I cast an eye over what needs doing

and hammer into it, fully expecting to be dragged away from some vital bit of polishing to sell someone a bag of crisps. But it doesn't happen; I trundle around the basement like a Stocktron 3000 robot, getting everything squared up and tidied away with nary a beep-boop from the door.

(As an aside, the irritation of that beep-boop is something

I've finally come to ignore, save for its meaning that there's someone who wants to buy something. For a few years

its strident tones, oddly reminiscent of The Simpsons' bully Nelson and his mocking "hah-hah", in the same descending whole tone couplet, made me grind my teeth, shudder and wish I was deaf. Now

I don't really hear it any more. Oddly, my hearing has now actually started to fade, so be careful what you wish for, folks.)

Eventually, of course, the rot sets in and pesky customers keep arriving to disrupt my lovely flowing rhythm. Of course, there aren't enough customers to keep me busy selling and restocking, and there isn't enough downtime to get stuck into anything useful. Like a lonely soul wandering purgatory (well, that's how it feels), I hover between work and idleness, never quite reaching the full extreme of either of them. At one point, no one comes in for so long that I go and try the door, just to make sure that I didn't leave it locked after the last trip to the bathroom. Of course it isn't locked, and I curse the fact that in that time I might have actually done something useful rather than just wait for another customer.

Eventually, nine hours of single-manning for just a couple of hundred quid

comes to an end. Farewell Monday, my old nemesis. Until we meet again.

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