The Way I See It : By Darren Murphy

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This week many of you will have read, or heard about, the Sainsbury’s checkout assistant who refused to serve a customer unless she ended a conversation she was having on a mobile-phone.

It sparked a country-wide debate about mobile-phone etiquette and the decline of basic manners, with even Jeremy Vine getting annoyed about it on his Radio 2 show.

Of course, it’s a matter of opinion whether or not the store worker was within her rights to treat the customer the way she did. Sainsbury’s made its stance clear, though, and issued an apology to 26-year-old customer Jo Clarke, which stated it was not company policy for employees not to serve customers if they were on the phone.

I’m with the checkout girl on this one. It’s damn rude to chat away on a mobile phone while engaged in a process which requires face-to-face interaction.

The Sainsbury’s incident made me think about my own experiences in the supermarket and I’ve found that rudeness isn’t just confined to the customers. Far from it.

Take our local Morrisons store, for example. Numerous times I’ve waited patiently in a long queue to not even receive as much as a hello or a good-natured smile from the checkout assistant. Instead my items have been passed over the scanner and trundled down the shoot as said employee blethers away to a fellow worker, or worse still, a friend who’s been doing their own shopping.

It’s not so bad when there are two or three bags to start packing your purchases into, but when there’s none you have to stand rather awkwardly, until the cashier either notices or finishes their conversation. This is when you break the eggs or burst the yoghurt pot as you fill the carrier bag as quickly as you can, while realising the next person in the queue may just be as impatient, and if you lift your head and make eye contact with them you’re probably going to turn to stone.

Thankfully, the vast majority of Morrisons employees are diligent and pleasant, but these checkout irritations.

And while I’m on the subject of Morrisons, could someone please explain to me why there are 20 checkouts? I feel like I’m being teased every time I visit the place, standing in a queue of people waiting to be served when all I have is one or two items. Glancing at the unmanned checkouts every five seconds, preparing myself for the sprint in the unlikely event a member of staff decides to start working the till.

Okay, so that’s Morrisons dealt with, but I’m not done yet.

Who else got my back up this week? I’ll tell you who, it was Tory MSP John Lamont and his warning that it was time to see action over empty shops in Hawick.

You’ve got to ask where our local parliamentarian has been for the last decade.

All the empty stores didn’t just happen overnight. It’s been an ongoing problem for years and years.

I’m sick of hearing the same overused phrases from councillors and politicians: local councillor voices his concerns or MSP Joe Bloggs’ fears are growing.

If there’s a problem, Mr Lamont, come up with a solution. I’m not going to be taken in by your eloquent speeches, or your badly-fitting tie! Your strong words need to be followed up by a proactive approach.