Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

stocktake day

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.
Prawns; crabmeat.

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.)


  1. Oooohh yuck!

    Then again, you could have briefly been splashed with the yet-undiscovered cure for cancer lurking behind the washing powder...

  2. Kath; wasn't too bad, just a drip or two. I believe the cure for cancer lies with rainbow coloured unicorns. You know how hard THEY are to find....And chocolate.

  3. I don't even like fresh coriander leaves (the seeds and the roots are fine) - my tummy is clenching just thinking of liquid ones. Poor possum. Hopefully you are nearly done though, and no more unpleasant surprises lurk. We call them UDOs - unidentified disgusting objects (tho ours are usually related to cats digestive processes).

  4. When I worked in a supermarket and was picking up extra shifts helping with the refit, we found a bag of unidentifiable black goo on top of the dairy freezers. I still don't know if a customer changed their mind and threw it up there, or if the dairy boys were just screwing around playing catch with the stock one day, and it ended up there by accident.

  5. I've never understood why you find deli packages in amongst the toothpaste... What a morning you had! Hope the pants cleaned up okay.

  6. The Elephant's Child; UDO's, I lke that, think I'll use it. I'm glad it was in a cellophane packet so I didn't actually touch the slime.

    Kalamac; My bet goes to the dairy boys, customers usually just chuck stuff on the shelves.

    Life In A Pink Fibro; you'd be surprised at what we find where. most customers are okay, but some don't care and put anything anywhere. The pants are fine.

  7. ARRRGGGHHH!! Sounds disgusting - but what did it count as in the stocktake??

  8. WOW! Seems like you achieved great things in one 'short' shift. River, is it really that people are lazy; just cannot be bothered to return fresh produce, or anything else, if they simply change their mind. We noticed a package of expensive beef on one of the shelves recently. I did not quite know what to do with it just in case it had been out for ages and it was returned to the meat section. I now think we were wrong to ignore it!

  9. Red Nomad OZ; it would have been written off as waste.

    Chez; Yes, people are that lazy. I've found all kinds of things in my daily rounds. If a person finding such things is concerned enough the best thing to do is take the item to the front service desk and hand it in, saying where you found it. That way, they'll know it has likely been there a while and send it to the appropriate waste department.

  10. Yes, some people are just selfish and weird. Last weekend, we caught a young french man and woman at Woolies, took a 2litre milk from the fridge, drank it and put it back in the fridge. Then, pick up a fresh bottle, same brand, same volume and proceeded to the checkout. Why? Why? We confronted them, and they argued that it was how it is done in France!! The security guard made them buy the opened bottle. No charges were made, a pity really.