While it is exciting to start a new job it is equally hard to leave an old one. On Wednesday I did my last shift at Sainsbury’s (a large supermarket chain here in the UK) and I confess I left with a heavy heart.
When I returned from a sabbatical of several months for family and travel back in 2018 I needed to find a job. Having commuted to my previous employment top of my new job wish list was ‘MUST BE LOCAL’! I wanted to be able to get to work under my own steam either by bike or foot.
This was not as easy as it might appear. I live in a fairly rural area and it has not always provided much choice of work – Covid has changed this a wee bit – but after a slight panic about actually getting a job along came Sainsbury’s.
Sainsbury’s has an egalitarian recruitment process – they have staff aged from 16 years to septuagenarians – which definitely helped me (no Spring chicken) as did the fact that a whole new store was being built in Kendal and every post needed filling.
It was a revelation to me. I had never worked in a supermarket before and it was fun to discover all the work that goes on in one. For my first job I was part of the price control team. Ever wonder who prints off and goes round the store changing the price tickets on the shelves? It was interesting and I always knew where the bargains were but often I worked on my own.
As I watched the team of early morning online shoppers whizzing about I hankered to join them. The joy of a supermarket is that, if staffing allows, your requests for sideways moves are usually granted. I became an online shopper.
To answer a couple of frequently asked questions. We do not do one person’s shop at a time we do parts of up to 8 customers shopping on each run we do, then the lovely folk in the back bring them together as they load up the vans. We are given suggested substitutions on our handsets and do not do them on a whim. Sometimes what a customer wants is just not there and we always try and provide something.
We have had an action packed 18 months in supermarkets and I think the online departments saw the greatest part of that. Online deliveries were a relatively small part of the overall sales in our store in 2019. Then along came a global pandemic and a Prime Minister telling us all to stay indoors and get our shopping online! EEEK.
Obviously we couldn’t stay indoors so armed with my ‘Essential Worker’ letter I cycled in for my shifts. We started work earlier (3am!!!) and every half hour brought a change as Online was ramped up to deal with the HUGE increase in demand. New staff were recruited, new vans brought in and new practices were instituted. I have read that online food deliveries went up by 100%, I can well believe it. My legs and shoulders definitely can.
It was a tough time and some customers were not kind (although many more were) but I think we really bonded and pushed together. We had some marvellous new staff, students who couldn’t go to Uni and sadly for them some that had lost jobs or businesses. Managers were busy spinning plates and I think did well to keep calm and share a smile and the occasional tub of sweeties.
Now however it is time for me to say goodbye to this:
And hello to this (and similar!):
Mmm strange how I have gone for the same colour palette.
My lovely online colleagues sent me off with all best wishes, super cards and thoughtful gifts (including a voucher for my favourite Kendal eatery, Waterside).
I love that they got me bulbs instead of a bunch of flowers as they knew everything needed to be packed in my panniers. They also suggested that when the blooms come out in Spring it will remind me of them. Hey folks don’t you worry you will never be far from my thoughts as I will be back in many a Saturday for my ‘two panniers’ shopping!
I think I found the perfect card to thank them with:
Bye all at Sainsbury’s Kendal. You are a wonderful bunch of hard grafting people. I have loved working with you and look forward to catching up with you all soon.
PS There were more of these vegan chocolate bars. I have scoffed all but one of them ‘cos they are delicious!
PPS My card was produced by these folks:
They have some great humorous Bayeux Tapestry style cards. Mx