Something has gone wrong, somewhere…

As my (possibly now long gone) regular readers know, I have tried very hard to moan about everything.  I have gone out of my way to be unpleasant, and I have never cared about popularity.

I took pride in it!

Three and three-quarter years ago, my world changed completely.  My partner of three decades passed away.  (And I still tear up a little when I write that…)
I’m proud of the way I recovered from that blow.  I can honestly say the months that followed it were the darkest I’ve ever known – and the fact that I’m still here can be attributed entirely to my little dog: he made me eat, he made me go to bed, and he made me get out of the house every day.

Hmmm… this is going in entirely the wrong direction…

OK.  When I started to live again, I got a job.  At a supermarket.  (Yep, goes against most of what I’ve said on here in the past.)
The job was making deliveries in a van, and I loved it for two and a half years.  But I was too good at it, and they took me off the road.  (True, in fact I was SO good, I did a five hour shift in three hours.  Pity they were tracking my speed, really…)

For the last year (roughly) I’ve worked IN the store – stacking the shelves, officially.  During this time, I’ve volunteered to learn, and become qualified as, a picker, checkout operator, and petrol station attendant.
Very useful, that – it means I can get overtime in any one of four departments!

Our company has an awards scheme – the service superstars.  If you creep enough with a customer, and the customer makes it official by writing or emailing their praise, you can get a ‘wow’ comment on your record.  A ‘wow’ will probably mean you get the bronze service superstar award, which is supposed to be a badge, but I’ve never seen anybody with one.

Once you have a bronze, you can be considered for Silver.  To get silver, you have to be the best in the month.  You either get more ‘wows’ than anybody else, or get special notice for some reason.
For Silver, you get a certificate and a badge.

Twice a year, all those who got Silver (since the last Gold award) are eligible for the Gold Service Superstar award.  Now this is the biggie.  To get the Gold, you do not have to be nice to customers, you do not have to creep around management… No, all you have to do is be liked.  Period.
Every member of staff in the store gets a vote, and the one with the most votes wins.
When you win, you get a special badge.  Yay!  Oh, and you get presented with the badge at a Social event along with every other Gold winner in the region.  As I understand it (I could be a little wrong) the last awards were given in a box at a football match, at Manchester United’s ground, after dinner.

Oh, and once you have the Gold, you cannot ever be considered for Silver or Gold again – you have reached the highest pinnacle in customer service.

All sounds grand, right.

Well I hope so.  Because I just got Gold.


To my recall, I never got a ‘Wow’ comment from a customer.  I do not recall ever getting the Bronze – I certainly never got a badge.

I got the Silver because a Manager nominated me for it.  Apparently, the fact that I always said ‘OK’ when they gave me a job to do was exceptional.  Seems that many of my colleagues prefer to argue, or find reasons why they cannot do the job.  But… I’m paid to be there, I’m paid to work, so I work.  And I smile while I do it.
(I had around twenty years where I wanted to go to work, and was unable to – so I’m really happy to be working!)

The last few weeks, my colleagues have been voting, and I found out yesterday that they had voted for me.  I won by a comfortable margin – in fact, the person I really wanted to beat got half as many votes, in total, as the difference between me and the nearest competitor!  (e.g. If they got ten votes, then I got twenty votes more than the second placed colleague.  Those are not the real numbers, but give you an idea.)

I’m now waiting to find out when and where the award will be made.  But in the meantime, I’m making the most of my position:
The store manager complained to me yesterday that he now had to find something nice to say about me, but he relaxed when I gave him permission to lie.
Two other managers yesterday gave me a job, and I said ‘no.’  When they got annoyed, I reminded them that I was now at the top, and didn’t have to try any more!  They agreed, and went off to annoy somebody else.

The thing is…  How on earth did I become popular?  I’ve tried so very, very hard to be annoying!

Something, somewhere, is very, very wrong!

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You just never know, do you

In my last post, I told you I wasn’t ready to move on – that I wanted my old partner back.

Life has a habit of sneaking up on you.

I also told you about the date that never happened, because the other party was ‘unwell’ and cancelled.

Read more…

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Home straight

I know, I haven’t posted anything in a month – I’m afraid I haven’t had the time.   In two days time I will have been employed for four weeks, and I’ve been working hard.

My contract is only for 17 hours a week, but I’ve been averaging double that, and… well… let’s be honest, here – I’m not used to working, at all!
Caring is a full-time thing, yes, and it can be very hard work at times – but you almost always have the option of saying ‘I’ll do that later.’  You rarely have to set an alarm, you just get up when you wake up – and then wait for your caree to wake up and need something.

Now, I have to be at work by a set time, and I have to stay there until my work is done!  Can you imagine that?  No more doing what I feel when I feel, oh no.  No, I have to do what I’m told, the way I’m told, when I’m told…

Read more…

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Around the corner

I make no secret of the fact that the last few months have been… bad.

I’ve had little or no energy to do anything.   Strangely, the first month or so after losing my partner were easier than the last three – which I can only guess is because it hadn’t really sunk in.
Looking back, now, I can only remember a tiny part of those days…

Read more…

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Sorry for the long gap between posts – I really haven’t felt up to it for a while.  See previous posts for a possible reason…

Just over a week ago, I realised my parents wedding anniversary was coming up in a few days, and that was the kick I needed to make the trip to Yorkshire for a visit.  I travelled up last Sunday, and returned yesterday.

I had a great time, though I did very little beyond walk the dog and sleep.  (Actually, that’s a lie… I also managed to get my brain working again: I sorted out two computers for my dad during the visit!)

Read more…

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Been playing about with my camera again today.

I emptied the bathroom of shower stools and chairs, and then spent the best part of an hour messing about with a old length of chrome plated rail, clamps, tripods, and assorted electronic gear.  (The rail is the sort you would find in a flat-pack wardrobe for hanging coathanger from.)

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It’s not blue…

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a carer.  I look after my partner.  One of my duties is to sit them down in the bathroom and hose them down.   As my partner suffers from COPD (among other things) and is on oxygen 24/7, it is a little difficult to hold a conversation while doing the shower: my partner needs all their breath.

So I grab the opportunity to talk – never waste a captive audience!

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Burning off the fat

I am exhausted! I’m so tired I can barely lift my fingers onto the keyboard – but I’ll force myself to do it.

Why am I so tired?  Because I’ve just lit a fire.

I need to give a little background, here.  Some of this you know already, but you’re just too lazy to go back through all my posts and find it – so I’ll save you the effort. Read more…

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The reception was in full swing, and I watched as the bride pranced around the dance floor from which I had been banned.

“Sarah dear, we simply can’t have my guests laughing at you, not at my wedding. Please promise me you’ll stay away from the dance floor?”

Alison had always had a weight problem.  Not that she was overweight, oh no, no. No, she was the original size zero, always had been.  No, the problem she had was with my weight.  Ever since we had moved in next door, Alison had been trying to ‘help’ me with my weight.  Diets, exercise regimes, videos, stomach staples – Alison had tried the lot without success: My size only ever increased.

Alison worried about my health, my weight, my love life, everything. 

God, she annoyed me!

So here I was, at her wedding.  Not a bridesmaid, of course – that post was reserved for her equally paper-thin cronies – but Matron of Honour.  Matron of Honour?  Me? 

I glanced across the room, to the other side of the dance floor, and saw a smiling Dawn give me a little wave.  Size thirty, like me, Dawn loved a good party – though she, too, was banned from the dance floor.  Scanning the room, I caught the eye of several other dance floor personae non grata.  Alison, over the years, had gathered together a whole tribe of us, all of whom had had the benefit of her ‘help.’

A scream of laughter from the dance floor grabbed my attention, and I looked to see a freely perspiring and seriously out of breath Davina stagger to her table for a restorative.  She’d managed two whole dances this time, bless her.  Still, when you’re that thin,  you have nowhere to keep a spare battery. 

Alison’s gang were now reduced to simply swaying to the music, supporting each other as they did so.

Time.  Time to do this.  I stood up, and waddled to the dance floor as the first strains of ‘Macarena’ filled the room.

At the edge of the arena, I paused, just for a moment, and checked my surroundings – then I launched into the dance.

Alison never knew what hit her, as six very large, very driven ladies executed a flawlessly synchronised Macarena, followed by the twist, the chicken song, and a can-can in quick succession.  For the rest of the evening, I danced rings around Alison, Davina, et al.  Oh, they tried to keep up with us, but our dance troupe had been rehearsing for years, and we were at the top of our game.

I may be on the large side, but that doesn’t mean I’m unfit, or unhealthy – it just means I’m large.  Oh, and happy.

I make no apologies for this (or, indeed, my last) post.  Sometimes, something I see or hear causes an idea for a short story to pop up in my mind – so I give them a little space to grow.

As it happens, I had two such ‘pop-ups’ in close succession, so you got two slightly comic observation pieces.  You may get another one soon, you may not see another for a long time – there’s no way of knowing.

Just enjoy (or not) when you do get them.

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‘Special offer’

As you know, I play an online game called Lord of the Rings Online (Lotro).  I’ve played it from the start, pretty much. 

When the game was released, I bought a ‘founders pack’ – a special offer kit, that you added to your account.  You paid extra for it, of course, but you got so much for it…  You got the ability to have the title ‘founder’ after your name; you got a ‘free’ horse at level 21; you got a couple of ‘free’ items; and you got the right to take out a lifetime subscription.

Well, I didn’t get the title or the horse, but they were kind enough to let me give them a lot of money for the lifetime subscription.  They needed the money at the time – the lifetime subs gave them a much needed cash injection at the start of their life.  I took a gamble on it, as the lifetime sub worked out at just under two years of normal subs.

I didn’t get all the benefits of the ‘founders pack’ but I got the one I really wanted: the lifetime sub.  So I didn’t complain.

They brought out an expansion pack for the game, after a couple of years.  I was still playing the game, and enjoying it.  And there was a ‘special offer’ on lifetime subs – so I bought a second one. 

They brought out a second expansion pack, and I bought two: one for each account.

Notice the pattern?  They release an expansion pack and I buy it.  I’m happy to keep playing the game, and spending money on the expansions.  I’m not paying anything to play the game, just buying the expansions when they come out.  Others pay a monthly fee to play.  The only advantage I have over them is that I paid up front – we play exactly the same game.

Then they changed the playing field.

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