As many of you know, I left my weekend job at a retail clothing chain and finally got a better job at a Tesco chain store working as a 'Personal Customer Assistant'.
My previous weekend job was getting so bad that my hours were cut down to 8 hours a week (two 4 hour shifts). That was my contracted base hours, but I wasn't earning much money (as you can imagine!). The hours were cut so much, that I could not work any over time as there were simply no hours for me. My work colleague/friend had left to work at Tesco (in the same department) and was telling me how much better the hours/wages were!
Obviously being myself, I was anxious about changing jobs and applying for another job, due to many factors, mainly my deafness. Over the weeks we exchanged messages via Facebook regarding the job and I continued to ask lots of questions about it. The job itself requires one to basically shop for customers who order their shopping online, known as a 'Dot Com' shopper. Each person goes round the shop (where the scanner tells them to) to the exact location of the product. They simply scan it and then scan the correct tray and either bag it or not (depending on what the scanner says).
I thought that sounded perfect for me! Something simple for me to get on with by myself! I applied for the job and was successful and got called in for an interview! (My boyfriend answered the call for me by the way! Haha!) However, I didn't actually write about my hearing loss in the application as I felt there was no need to place that label on myself. I waited until the interview. I had a one to one interview with this man which was difficult as I wasn't used to his voice so kept having to ask him to repeat himself (I told him about my hearing straight away and he said it was fine). I left the interview feeling really distraught as I was so sure that I had no chance and messed it up due to the bad flow of the conversation and not hearing.
To my surprise, I received a text later that day from the guy and I got the job! Fast forward to the induction day. I went in that weekend for a 9am-5pm induction which required us to watch a DVD ALL DAY! I had previously requested subtitles which was an issue as they kept cutting off the screen (that's another story) but it got fixed about 2 hours into the DVD... terrible I know! Especially when we had to answer questions on the DVD on a piece of paper! Haha!
Fast forward to 3 months since starting, I've realised it's not as easy as I imagined! I get ALOT of customers approaching me on the shop floor and asking me where products are. The issue is not actually finding the products (as I've installed an app on my phone which solves that), but instead, hearing the customers in this busy loud store!
It's completely different to the small town store I worked in, having colleagues nearby on hand to assist me if I couldn't hear. Sometimes I have to try and find someone else to take over if I can, sometimes there's no one nearby so I have no choice but to say "I'm sorry I'm not 100% sure". Most of the time people are really understanding, others... are not.
It's especially stressful when we are personally monitored for our 'pick rates' which is the number of items we pick per hour. If the pick rate is below 130... you're buggered and people are usually sent round with a sheet of paper to come and find you and point out your pick rate and basically tell you to "quicken up". It's a problem when you get stopped a lot like me and unsure what customers are saying! The expected pick rate is probably around 160? Quite high I know!
During the shop, we have a coloured bar at the bottom of our scanners on the screen. If the bar is blue, you are picking at an excellent pace, if the bar is green you're picking at a good pace, heading towards orange, then red which (as you can imagine, is a bad, slow pace!). The idea is to remain in the blue/green which changes colour depending on your speed!
I had no idea there was more to the job. Not as easy as I thought! Although, I kind of like the thrill of the job, seeing how quick I can go! It's harder when it's busier later on in the shift! I start work at 6am by the way! I'm usually in the red when there's loads of people about, but it's not my fault I guess!
Overall, It's a lot different to my old job. I kind of miss my old job and the 'family' feeling that comes with the team I worked with as I was so close to all of them and made friends during the 3 years I worked with the lovely ladies, but I had to grab the opportunity to work more days at Tesco. My base hours are 6-9:45am, 4 days a week. Although you are expected to work until the trolleys are finished which could be 12pm or 2pm, depending how busy you are! You can simply turn up extra days if you need the money which is amazing!
Not looking forward to the Christmas week though! Not only do I have three 5am starts, but also one 4am start! It's going to be very very busy in store with lots of customers doing last minute shopping as well as online orders!! Imagine how loud it will be and customers coming over asking "where is the __" and "where is the __" ... Crazy!
Hope you're all ok! I'll try not to leave it so long next time!!
Love you guys xxx