How it all starts

Did you see that? – asked Grazyna – she didn’t even ask, she just came and took it – she heard walking back with a frankfurter she just took from a meat counter. Without asking for permission – which expose her to such condemnation. And she didn’t ask for permission of eating a frankfurter only because every time she asked for it before, she always got the answer: Don’t worry, just take it, no need to ask. But they were only waiting for a moment she wouldn’t ask.

Or these days when it wasn’t busy, almost no customers through the whole shift.  She used to take a newspaper or some magazine, lean against the freezer and page through. Look at her, apprentice, but she is standing, doing nothing. Before, these apprentices used to be better, they would clean the shelves, they worked harder…  – the Hags used to say to each other whilst hanging around on the ramp that was used to unload delivery cars, smoking cigarettes. You better go and watch if Aska is coming – Aska, the shop owner, the boss. When she tipped them off that the boss indeed was coming, it looked like someone dropped a grenade between them! Grazyna ran to the till, Wieska almost teleported herself to the meat counter, Goska dived in papers in the office.

Hours of sitting at the till (beep, beep, beep) or flouncing between the till and meat counter, whereas  hogs were gossiping in a social room or smoking fags in aforementioned  ramp. Backbiting – how many times she could hear them…  Kilometers of washed shelves, sqaure acres of swept and mopped floors and polished glass. Hours of listening to vicious, ratty supervisors. Aversion was the main feeling she had about coming and working in that place. She was 15 years old when she started there, she chose a school that was to teach her how to be a seller, shop assistant. She chose this school because she didn’t know what else to choose. She chose because three of her friends chose it before.

Later she worked as a hostess in supermarkets. Timid, withdraw, very shy girl in a t-shirt picturing Kurt, was – with a smile on her lips – to attract customers, was to encourage them to buy pizza, set of notepads, cough syrup. She was to approach people, smile and encourage them to buy the stuff. Girl who only had a couple of close friends, who never went to discotheque, who wasn’t invited to house parties, who never puked on a New Year’s Eve party. Her best companion was a book, because book could take her anywhere, thanks to the bok she could be who she wanted and where she wanted. Sometimes when she was standing there – bored hostess in a supermarket – her other buddy, Imagination, would take her thoughts away, she was a different, better self (she was either beautiful like Claudia Shiffer or she was a brave tomboy, dancing with the wolves, stuff like that). Her thought wandered around until her colleague or some customer brought her back to Earth. She would look around noticing rows of shelves, different counters, people wtih trolleys. You need to be more approachable. I’m just saying, coz I notice you’re like… scared of these people. You need to talk to them more – she would hear from other hostess.

So definitely she wasn’t a type of so called people person. The kind of person she is should never be working in busy environment, shouldn’t have a job thet involves serving customers. Yet, she ended up as a catering assistant in a Big New Building’s staff canteen. This blog will tell you more about her daily life – and belive me, there are some good stories, there is a lot of nutcases she meets – as both her customers and work colleagues.

If a Polish cleaner could write about German houses, then Polish catering assistant can write too.


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