BEDM 8 First Job

Day 8Tell us about your first job. Did you love it or was it horrendous.

When I think back to my first job, it feels like it was back in the dark ages! Things have certainly changed in the workplace since the mid nineties.

As soon as I turned 16 I went out and found a job without any problem, I saw the job adverted in a window (dark ages alert!) Unfortunately it was at my local branch of Kwik Save, but we all have to start somewhere I suppose. I worked there for around five months, starting the job when I was on study leave for my GCSE’s.

It certainly was not the most glamorous start to employment, but the £2.03 per hour I earned gave me some much needed independence. I blew it all on booze, fags and clothes, but hey, I was young and carefree. Those were the days!

a new branch on its opening day
A new branch of Kwik Save on its opening day

I punched in my hours on a clock machine (dark ages alert) and I got paid weekly in cash in a brown envelope (ditto!) One week I earned over £100 because I clocked up over 50 hours. I felt minted! I’m sure it is illegal now to work that many hours in a week, and this was before the minimum wage was introduced.
Kwik Save, Gateshead

The one thing that sticks in my mind the most was that store had rats. I was working late one evening when the store had closed and the rat catcher came in kill what he could. I remember standing on the freezer screaming and all the blokes taking the mick out of me. Bastards.

When I finished that night I went straight to the pub, and revealed to my friends the shocking revelation that their local Kwik Save was infested with rats. Funnily enough, my favourite boozer at the time also had a rat problem. We used to see them running around in the beer garden, but for some reason it did not freak me out quite as much, nor did it put me off from going back there!

Other things that I remember was that the girls in the cash office were on the fiddle, some customer having a right go at me because there was no milk left (I had no customer service training on how to handle these situations, or clue in general as I was a naive dumb 16 year old! I just stood there trying not to laugh) Sometimes we had several coaches full of foreign student workers, who had come over for the summer to work on local farms, all turn up at once. That was the only time the store was ever busy. All they used to buy was cheap white bread and packets of sweaty ham. To be fair, that was pretty much all you could buy there.

So working in Kwik Save was everything you would expect from its no frills reputation. All and all it was a dump, with strange, smelly, pervy customers.

To all the people out there who think Lidl and Aldi are low brow, scummy supermarkets, or those who are too young to remember Kwik Save, you ain’t seen nothing yet! I think the closest experience is to go to a 99p Store in a less desirable town (like Chatham) on a busy day, with only one person working on the till, abandoned cages of stock blocking the aisles, unmopped spills, a leaking fridge or freezer and with bargain buckets of out of date crisps and dented tins everywhere.

The videos below are in the spirit of Kwiky!

Please click on the images in this post for the links to their source.

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