Thursday, August 31, 2006



Night racing has finished.


I am still alive. Thoughts may follow from this rejuvanated man.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Worst Day Ever

Apologies for the whining ranty post, but I just need to get this off my chest.

I've been at the bookies for just over 2 years now, and I have to say that today has been the worst day I've had.

Now, this is quite a claim, given the copious amounts of days I've spent getting abused by punters, had people trying to cheat me, given people the wrong amount back for a bet and watched them flee the shop like Westmead Hawk, came in after consuming one too many drink of Mother Russia's finest and suffering a whole day of general crappiness.

Today though, was just a complete and utter chore from the moment I walked in, to the moment I walked out.

It's extremely warm in Scotland at the moment, temperatures are in the 28 degrees area, which is highly unusual for us. My shop does not have air conditioning. We can normally lessen the blow slightly by opening the back window, opening the front door and letting a couple of small fans attempt to circulate some cold air around the shop, with limited success. This was not possible today thanks to the fishmonger next door deciding to leave some rotten fish out the back of his shop. Faced with the choice of vomiting profusely due to the smell, or sweating to death, we chose the sweating option.

So, it's inordinately warm inside the shop. This makes the punters warm. Punters, on the whole, do not believe in any form of personal hygiene, be it a proper shower, or even a French shower. The warmth makes them sweat. Thanks to a distinct lack of any deodorant or anti-perspirant, they absolutely stink.

Now, today wasn't particularly busy, but it was constant. We did a reasonable number of bets for the shop, but there were no quiet or busy spells. Just a constant stream of business over the whole day, from 12:30 to 9:30, at no point did it get quiet, or did it get any busier. Very unusual, and very unwelcome given that by 5pm I just wanted to lie in a freezer. The same people staying in the shop the whole time, betting on every single race. Now, I'm loathe to criticise these people, for they be the hand that feeds me, but Christ on a bike, what kind of existance do they lead when they can spend the whole day in the bookies, betting on ever race. It just boggles the mind.

So I think I'm going to start whinging more and more to our District Manager for air conditioning, because if I'm going to have to suffer it, I sure as hell ain't gonna do it in silence. I'd like to see him put 5 full day shifts in the shop and see if doesn't agree with our shops need for air conditioning! Tis a disgrace!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006



Hmm. Since I whinged about tipping in my last post, the amount of tips I've received have gone through the roof. Before the post, I'd had the odd bit of money here and there. In the past two weeks, however, I've had around £100 in tips. Very nice indeed, long may it continue!

Anyway, I recently finished my managerial training, and naturally no time was wasted putting me into shops in a managerial role! It's been good so far, not really any difficulties, although I have issues with keys and very nearly managed to set off the alarm in one shop due to a crap key refusing to work!

I like power!

Friday, June 16, 2006



Ugh, had a feeling I'd forgotten about something. Arse. Apologies to anyone who has been regularly checking this blog for an update, I can offer no excuse except sheer cackheadedness and laziness.

Anyway, on checking a post over at the rather excellent on tipping, a few thoughts sprung to mind and I felt maybe I should let them out.

As all fellow Brits, and Scots especially will know, there isn't much of a tipping culture here. We tip, sure (sometimes) but certainly nothing to the level that those crazy North Americans do. If someone gives you bad service at a restaurant, you should only tip 15%? If I receive bad service at a restaurant, then they can rest assured that their tip will be somewhere around the 0% mark. Don't get me wrong - if I do receive good service then I am very happy to tip, although admittedly nowhere near the 20% mark. On holiday in Eastern Europe I frequently left no tip thanks to the complete lack of service my friends and I received in some restaurants. To the people who say "You should tip them even if they give bad service, they rely on it" I say "Then bloody well serve people like you're relying on it."

Moving into my sphere of influence, the lovely bookies, we do occasionally get a tip (if that's an appropriate choice of word) when punters win big. My biggest tip to date has been £25, which is not too shabby. It came from winnings of £13,000 (the punter that tipped is one of the biggest, if not the biggest punters in the area (and by big I mean moneywise, not size)) so what percentage is that? 0.19% ! I certainly wouldn't mind a 20% tip on every payout, that would be awesome. Hell, I'd settle for a 1% tip on every payout. Given that on average we payout around £2,000 a day, would mean a very tidy £20 every day, which would pay my lunch, dinner and travel expenses. Leaving money for beer! I may be a tight student but there's honestly no tip too small. (Well, less than a £1 is pushing it but it would add up!). For instance, a punter won £50, gave me £3 and said "Get yourself a drink with that." I then split the £3 between the other two staff, leaving me with a quid. But it paid my bus home, and to me, that's still a little bonus. Unfortunately, punters are on the whole very unwilling to part with money, as they put enough over the counter already. Which is fair enough, I suppose. They don't know how little of it goes into our pockets though!

Monday, April 03, 2006


A breath of fresh air (more smoking ban related bejiggery)

So, last Saturday has been and gone. Thankfully, most of my fears have proved groundless. Smokers have taken it on the chin, I didn't have to tell a single person to put a fag out, and I haven't seen a single person flout the ban yet anywhere (in pubs or clubs). The smell worries have not materialised, although my manager did say a few people made the place smell terrible on wednesday. However, air freshener has been deployed and it will definitely help.

The only thing that is an annoyance is farting! It feels like since the ban was introduced, I've been suffering gutrot! Before the ban, you could let one go, safe in the knowledge that although people immediately around you would catch a whiff, it would soon be enveloped by the smoke. Now however, you've got to be very very careful because they WILL linger and they WILL be smelt by a lot of people.

I think it's time to buy a cork!

Moving on, it's Grand National day on Saturday... which means crazy busy, as all the once a year punters come out to lay down some money on that horse that their mother/brother/brother's dodgy mate they think is a sure thing. Or, they liked the colours.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Nae Smoking Here Pal, Sorry

Well, Scotland finally went ahead and did it. We banned smoking in public places.

I'm having mixed feelings about the ban. I think on the whole I'm positive about it, but I've got some nagging concerns regarding my workplace. I don't really think I can say anything generic about the ban that hasn't been said a million times before by people a million times more eloquent than me, but I would like to wax lyrical about it.

First of all, the positives.


However, some negatives.

I've not worked a shift yet under the new law, it was banned last sunday, so this coming saturday will be my first shift with the ban being enforced. I'll be sure to let you all know how it pans out...

Friday, March 17, 2006



Thanks for the comment, "shambles" - A well delivered kick up the backside. Ouch.

Anyway, you're quite right, although the group project has taken up a reasonable amount of my time, but 'tis a poor excuse for ~2 months (is it closer to 3 months?) of no posts. Bleh.

[x] Must try Harder. (I do read those forums ;))

Moving on, 2 weeks ago I was dragged kicking and screaming from my usual shop, with its comforts and reasonable punters, to an utter shithole of a shop down in one of my city's slightly less desirable areas. There's a few shops down that end, three to be precise, and each of them has its own unique 'flavour'. For one of the shops in question, is quite literal.

Shop A - This shop has the worst smelling punters I've ever had the misfortune to catch a whiff of. Christ on a stick, you'd think there was a national shortage of soap and any form of deodorant in the country. I'm not saying that on the whole punters aren't smelly, because if you were to take the average punter, place your face in their armpit and take a deep breath... well, you'd be doing well if you kept down whatever you last ate. But this shop is different - it's like a whole new level of smelliness. There was one unfortunate soul - someone whom smelt so bad I actually had to go through the back of the shop and retch. Absolutely godawful. Bush and Blair could have planted this man in Baghdad, and used him as evidence for weapons of mass destruction. It was such a shame for the man, but I've never been so thankful for air freshener.

Shop B - This shop seems to be a regular place for our heroin taking friends to gather. Always plenty of 52p win bets here, and they get cheered on like there's a monkey on them. Toilets are locked, syringes are often found in the toilet, and I've had to 'chase' (politely ask to leave, before I call the cops) dealers from out the shop. Lovely place. Only redeeming feature is it's quiet, and there's a ladbrokes opposite so I can satiate my love of gambling.

Shop C - It's in the middle of about 5 pubs. Suffice to say, a constant stream of drunken punters make this shop a load of fun. I got sent here a couple of times when I was still quite the noobie - came very close to quitting after a couple of bad experiences here, mainly involving having to single man the shop, with ~ 15 punters trying to get on every race (every race - i.e. dogs, portman park) and get paid out. I lost around £30 both of the days I was there. Also, I've been told a story of a 50 year old, 20 stone woman urinating at the door because she was refused access to the toilet. Happily, this shop has been sold to another business. Haha!

I utterly detest being sent down this area. Luckily, because I'm quite the seasoned veteran now, my manager is quite keen to hold onto me and normally sends the other 'lesser' cashier to the shops that need cover. Unfortunately this was to play against me that week, because the other shop needed someone with a degree of compentency, and my shop already had the manager and the deputy working. Balls.

I was sent to shop B. And if having to go there wasn't bad enough, I was having to work with a girl to which whom I made a rather embarrassing proposition to on a staff night out (thankfully quite a while ago), whilst off my face drunk. Grrrrrrrreat.

Thankfully it wasn't that bad, managed to use patter to avoid any trouble with a few unsalacious types, and although the day's conversation was strained, it was bearable. No problems with junkies or any of their like.

The shop's still a shithole though.

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