kelzadiddle: (English is a Mugger)
I'm going to stop wearing my beret to work. Today whilst on my lunch break I was heading to Wilkinson's to squander cash on GLORIOUS JUNK FOOD to boost my blood sugar levels a wee bit and, surprise surprise, the canvassers were out in force, braving the rain. This time it was the Red Cross. One of them was at the top end of Hardshaw Street, near Barclay's, standing smack-bang in the middle of the street. I didn't realise he was there until the last minute.

"Lady in the beret!" he called. "Sorry about that, I spotted you from a mile away. Not many people wear berets!"

Being a polite member of society who is interested in doing charity work but not particularly donating as I'm skint, I entertained him for a few minutes, told him I was on JSA and am therefore stupidly poor.

My rules so far for avoiding canvassers about town... )
kelzadiddle: (English is a Mugger)
Today was my third day of work with the ExtraCare Charitable Trust shop in Earlestown. In a nutshell, it's a voluntary job as a shop assistant, and I get to do everything from sorting clothes, to steaming them to make them look presentable, to storing them, to sticking them on the shop floor, to running the till... and there's probably more that I can't remember.

It's my Monday, Wednesday and Friday thing. Nine to five - and I believe I'm the only person who stays until the very minute the shop closes, other than the manager and deputy manager - and I bloody love it.

The work? Knackering, both physically and mentally. Carrying stuff to and fro all day gives you one hell of a workout. You haul huge plastic binbags full of clothes out of the stock room into the sorting room, spend an hour on your feet going through everything, tagging and hanging what's worth selling and binning what isn't. Then you haul them all into the steamer/kitchen area and spend a further hour steaming all the creases out of everything. Then, you have to haul it all upstairs, usually making several trips, to the storage rooms on the second floor. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sound tiring to you? It bloody well is. And it's flipping fantastic.

You see, it keeps you on your feet. There's always something to do. You're always moving about, carrying things, so you get a bit of exercise. And it's a challenge to the mind in some ways because of the complex sorting and pricing systems they've got going there. With clothes, you have to scrutinise them carefully for the slightest blemish. Marked ones get 'ragged', but the charity still receives money for scrapped clothing (50p per kilo).

For good clothes, you need to find a size, figure out whether it's been 'rotated' (sent in from another shop who's failed to sell it), and write all this down, along with the sort code (there's a different number for ladies' tops, ladies' trousers, menswear, kids' clothes, books, etc). Then you have to remember which hanger to use, remember to put a size cube on the hanger and actually tag the item. There's a lot to memorise, and when the process becomes second nature, things can be forgotten.

It's the same with running the till. There's this huge process you have to go through, and if you make a mistake, the till screams - quite literally - at you. If you press the 'cash total' button too early, for instance, it beeps loudly. And the method's slightly different when people pay via. card. I learned this the hard way the other day when I inadvertently created an anomaly in the shop's books - which Dawn the manager had to rectify with a call to the Head Office. Er - oops. Sorry, Dawn!

There's always something to do. We get loads of bags of donations every day, so there's those to be sorted. If not, there's tidying to be done in the stock room, on the shop floor - anywhere in the shop, really! Or, if you're a nutter like me who loves making tea/coffee for people, there's that to be done.

So, it keeps me busy, it hones my organisational skills, keeps me mentally alert, teaches me to socialise... and then there's the 25% discount and first pickings of anything that comes into the shop! Huzzah!

Speaking of which, I brought three more lovely items home today, all clothing. Two tops and a hat.

In which Kelza goes on a ramble about what we all know is the main reason why she loves her job... )

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