She took The trolley full of beans and made for aisle 10. She would have to improvise. She decided she had two choices, one, go to the manager and tell him that what Jim was asking her to do was impossible, or two, to take some of the tins and put them on the floor as a impromptu step and gently push the rest of the tins on to the overstock shelf from the front. It was, she realised, a task which had been set-up for her to fail. She didn’t wonder at Jim’s malicious attitude to her, she had overheard his mocking of her in the staff room… Calling her a loony. Obviously, Brian, the manager had only told the supervisor some of her history. He had not given Jim the details, which he been privy to, he had just said enough so that Jim would be patient with her… But this knowledge had only served to make the supervisor suspicious of her and resent having a “Mong” as he had called her in the staffroom, under his supervision. She knew that his prejudice was not going to change. She loved having a job, and the freedom it gave her, but feared that Jim would do his utmost to make her job impossible.
She gingerly stood on the four tins of beans and reached up to the top shelf and pushed a tin on. So far so good, she put down fur more tins so she could stand on them with both feet. She grabbed four more tins and placed them on the front of the shelf. Then she got four more and slowly pushed the four backwards until the front ones were pushed right onto the shelf. The methodology was good to a point, but what she couldn’t ascertain was how far back the tins had gone. She had to try to ensure that they also lined up tidily. Given that she was unsighted, as the shelf was at arms length from her standing position, even with the tins she was standing on. Of course the inevitable happened. She pushed to get the four tins in her hands on to the front of the shelf… and having them just hanging over the edge, she pushed against the resistence. A tin fell over the top and dislodged a couple of large jars of silverskin pickled onions from the top shelf on the opposite aisle. There was a loud ckatter and crash! Closely followed by a loud expletive.
“What The Fuck!” Charlotte ran around the aisle to see a young man hopping. He had shorts and trainers on, and there was a pretty substantial trickle of blood coming from the back of his left calf.
Charlotte didn’t know what to do… Her brain told her to run away, but her conscious thought was to help… But how to help, she didn’t know first aid… That was it get a first aider. She ran down to the customer service and asked Beryl to call for a first aider on aisle 9. She then went to the warehouse to fetch the clean-up trolley. When she got back to the aisle, she could see that Jim was leading the young man away to the staff room.
He gave her a gutteral grunt…
“Clean up this mess then come to me in the staff room, I thin you owe this young man an apology.
Charlotte swallowed a sob as she gingerly picked up the glass and white pickled onions. Once she was sure she had bagged up the offending detritus, she wiped the floor clean with the mop.
She was screaming inside her head, now your for it, now your for it now your for it… She tried to remember the mantra… Breathe slowly, it’s not your fault, it’s just an accident.
She took the clean-up trolley back to the warhouse and timidly made her way to the staff room. She stood by the door and watched as Jim cleaned the wound and patched it with an elastoplast. She could here what he was saying…
“I’m sorry sir, she’s a bit special, if you know what I mean… A loony, a fruitcake… but we have to take them… Company policy and all that.”
“Why was she stacking a top shelf without a stool to help her reach? I saw her, I mean she was standing on tins to be able to reach… I thought thats an accident waiting to happen… I didn’t expect it to be an accident waiting to happen to me!”
“I don’t know why she didn’t have a kick-stool, she should have asked for one, as I said, she’s not the full shilling.” Charlotte face reddened, breathing wasn’t going to help now…
“I’m sorry sir, I really am… But the reason why I didn’t have a kick-stool was because HE wouldn’t let me have one! His exact words were, It makes the shopfloor look untidy. I knew trying to stack the tins like that was ridiculous… but I had no choice. He didn’t give me one!”
“That’s enough from you young lady, you can go and get your coat, you are fired!”
I realise that this is a bit of a slow reveal… but it will be worth it when I get there.