4 December 2005

We Have A Lost Child Here ... Anyone Want Her?

I know the functions of supermarket life inside as I spent over eight years working for Sainsburys in a variety of positions (oh er!), the last few years I was senior checkout supervisor. This means I know what to do in emergency situations, unlike most of the supermarkets I've been into recently. Allow me to explain with examples:
1. Very common: [Over the PA system] "Would Mrs Smith please come to customer services as we have your daughter here". So they have a lost child and they manage to get the surname out of them. Instead of just asking for Mrs Smith they state they have her young child with them. Is Mrs Smith really walking around the store thinking, "Hmm, peas, ham, but there is something else I'm missing ... oh yes! My little girl!". Instead it allows any nutter to try to claim to be Mrs Smith, or better yet claim to be another Mrs Smith: "Hi I'm Mrs Smith, I believe you have my daughter her. How did you manage that, she's been dead for three years?"
2. Sadly this happens occasionally: [PA] "We have a lost child at reception, he's about three years old, wearing a brown coat and blue jeans". WTF! This is just insane! I'm a nutter and I now know a good description of the boy. I can walk up to reception and immediately lock eyes with the child (who won't recognise me). If I act very annoyed and bark things at him like "I've told you never to run off" he'll be upset and not want to come with me, covering the fact that he'd not want to come with me anyway. There is no identification needed as the child clearly can't speak properly and will be screaming from being chastised as a bad boy. The only way to handle this situation is keep the child safe and search the shop floor as the "parent of guardian" will be the one running around like a headless chicken wondering where their little child has gone. A few quick questions like "Have you lost something?" and "Can you describe him?" and you know you have the real person.
3. Finally the worst of all and I've only heard this once. [PA] "We have a lost boy in the store, he's about four years old wearing a jacket with a bulls-eye on and white trainers. If anyone sees him please contact customer services". These people need to be shot. As a general rule there aren't too many four year olds shopping by themselves so when you see one running around crying or pretending to be an aeroplane and there's no parent in sight there is a strong chance you've found them. Not hard is it?

While we are on the subject listen out for other bad supermarket calls like "First Aider to Checkout 23". If your hear that you can be safely assured that is a good enough distraction at the front end to cover some random stealing. Heaven forbid they give you a license to kill with "Security to the main entrance". Instead both these calls should be coded either as "Code 3 to CO23" (don't use Code 1 or 13, it's easy to guess they are serious) or for added security do it in some form of Morse/African/Dolphin speak "ka-ka-ka-klick, klick".