It is the first time I see you sitting – said one of my customers, British lady in her fifties. She is one of few Brits I like, unlike most of them, she is honest (or at least seems honest). We met and started talking when I was working in our mobile coffee shop downstairs, near the reception. She would always stop and talk to me, and it was a proper conversation, not just usual British Hallo, how are you asked without waiting for an answer.

And it is true. I spend exactly 7.5 hours standing. There is no relief.

I stand when I work on the till, where the only moves I make are small step back when the till’s money drawer opens and when I give customer a change with my left hand – position of the till doesn’t really allow to do it with the right hand, but this isn’t a big problem for me, I am pretty much both handed. So this is how the moves go: I quickly scan items or tap the buttons on the screen with my right hand, then I take money from the customer with my left one, when till opens I take half a step back, put the money in the till, close the drawer with my hip and hand the change to the customer again with my left hand. Done. Repeat. Keep repeating for 4 hrs, some days for 7.5 hrs. Pain may start in my left shoulder or neck, spreading to my head. Usually it hurts a lot in the lower back. Both knees are hurting me, and heels. If it happens that I work on the till through the whole day all these places join together, whole back of my body hurts.

I stand when I do a barista job, but this at least allows more moves, both arms are engaged and I can do small steps on my feet.

I stand when I serve food from the counter – a bit more flexibility allowed, more walking moving, kneeling etc.

I stand on the jacket potatoes counter.

The whole Europe is sitting, all cashiers in Tescos, Morissons’ Asdas, Sainsbury’s’, Marks&Spencers etc. RLH stands at attention. Front to the customer. Canteen itself is so small (especially comparing to the size of the building it is in) that there is no sense to even dream about any chairs at tills, there is hardly enough space to stand. When I work as a barista and one of the bigger ladies is a cashier, I have a problem to get out of there, to pass next to her, even though I am thin…


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