Today, Monday 21st February, was stocktake day where I work.
Everything had to be counted.
A group of us got there at 6am, each of us was given a thick black pencil, (able to write on any surface), then we were assigned sections.
We started in aisle *, spread along the aisle, counting and when we'd finished our section, we'd "leapfrog" past the people counting the next sections, and start counting again.
When the "leapfrogger" came to the end of the aisle, he or she would cross to the next aisle and start over.
As we counted, items that were in the wrong section or wrong aisle were pulled out and placed in baskets to be moved to their correct places. Empty boxes were placed on the floor to be picked up by me as I pushed a trolley around in between counting things.
With quite a few of us counting things proceeded fairly quickly.
Especially with bigger items such as large bags of dog food, laundry baskets etc.
Oddly enough there was only one round laundry basket, but a stack of ten lids......
The freezer section was awkward because of the cold. Some of the counters wore jackets and gloves, the rest of us did without. Imagine counting umpteen packets of frozen peas.
(To get an idea of how our fingertips felt, go and put yours in between packets of frozen veg in your home freezer for a few minutes until you can't feel them.)
The worst sections to count are the aisles with many small items.
Canned fish for example.
There's tuna and then there's tuna.
Tuna in brine; tuna in springwater, salt reduced tuna; tuna in olive oil; tuna in canola oil; tuna with lemon and cracked pepper; tuna with mayonnaise and sweetcorn; tuna with this; tuna with that...........all of these repeated in different brands and different sizes, then a similar smaller section with salmon.
Pink salmon; red salmon.
Herrings; sardines; anchovies.
Next time you're shopping, take a closer look at the items you're buying. See the enormous variety. (Imagine a few dozen cans that are in the wrong spot and have to be added in if their section is already counted. Bit of a nightmare? It could be, but with so many of us counting it wasn't too bad.)
By the time I left at 10am, (I'm still only working 4 hours a day), probably three quarters of the store's items had been counted.
I think we were doing pretty well.
Let me tell you about counting the big boxes of laundry powder.
I pulled them out to be sure they were all the same, because there are now boxes for front loader machines and boxes for top loader machines and they look almost exactly alike......anyway, behind a stack of boxes, I spied a cellophane packet with something black inside.
I thought, hmmm, shoelaces, and reached in to pull it out.
It wasn't shoelaces.
The label on the packet read fresh coriander.
Well, it sure as heck wasn't fresh anymore.
Black and liquefied, it splashed and dripped on my pants and shirt as well as on the floor and the shelf underneath it. Luckily there was a roll of paper towel nearby for cleanups, so I mopped up the mess quickly.
God only knows how long it had been there.
(Probably not all that long, but without refrigeration it went bad pretty quickly.)
And here is something I don't understand.
Why put a fresh produce item that you've changed your mind about buying on a shelf, behind all the other items on that shelf, way at the other end of the store?
The checkouts are right near the fresh produce section....take it with you and put it back.
(I washed my clothes within minutes of getting home.)
Hurrying the Harvest
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