Back in the olden days, when life was normal, just over a month ago, I was a kitchen designer for a major DIY chain in the UK. We have to wear steel toe cap boots on the shop floor. They’re not very comfy at the best of times, but I spent my days sitting at a computer so it was fine.
Kitchen design is no longer happening, and instead I’m working as part of the team delivering the Click and Collect service to customers. It’s physical work – certainly much more physical than kitchen design!!
Once you’ve placed your Click and Collect order, it comes down to us in the store. I think many people don’t realise this simple fact about Click and Collect: an actual person – sometimes me – takes your order, and physically walks round the store picking the items you’ve ordered off the shelf on your behalf. It could be anything from a packet of seeds to 30 bags of cement.
The picks go into an appropriate receptacle – a basket, a box, a standard shopping trolley, a flat bed trolley, an A-frame trolley, or a pallet. They’re labelled, and they’re lined up ready to be collected. The aisles that used to be busy with shoppers are now lined with trolleys awaiting collection.
And then someone – sometimes me – will ring you to let you know that your order is ready for collection.
The collection system is contact-free. You arrive at the car park and pull into a numbered bay. Hopefully you’ll have the sense to stay in your car and not get out and try to come into the store. Hopefully. Then someone – sometimes me – will come out to your car to take your details.
This is where it gets interesting. You’d be amazed how many people don’t know the answer to the question, ‘What’s your name?’ Sometimes they’ve recently married but their account with us is in their old name so the name they give isn’t the name we have on our records. Sometimes a couple can’t remember who actually placed the order, so give the wrong person’s surname. Sometimes people don’t habitually use their family name and are known by their given name – so again, the name they give isn’t the name on our records.
Then we need the order number. No, not your customer number. No, not the item number. Yes, it’s on your order confirmation. At the top. Yes, it says ‘Order number’. THAT’S the one.
And, we need some form of ID. Yes, it told you to bring it on the website when you placed the order. Yes, we told you again when we rang you. Yes, this would be standard even under normal circumstances. No, I’m not asking for it just to make your life difficult.
And finally, just a rough idea of what you’ve ordered. It gives us a clue so that we know whether to look for a basket, a box, a trolley or a pallet. Most people are fine with this. One guy told me I should be able to work it out from the order number. Twonk.
Then someone – sometimes me – will go and find your order. We’re regularly shifting trolleys or pallets with 10 – 15 bags of cement (or compost, or gravel, or ballast, or concrete) on them. Yes, we know what we’re doing. No, we don’t need any help – please go and wait by your car and in any event ffs stay two metres away from me.
We leave you to put your own items into your car. If you can’t lift them, that’s a problem. We are no longer allowed to help you. Our instructions are to not touch any customer’s belongings – and that includes their car. We’re very sorry that we can’t help, and doubly sorry if you don’t have anyone that you can bring with you to help – but if that’s the case, what were your plans for getting the goods back out of your car at the other end?
And last of all, someone – sometimes me – will retrieve the basket, or the box, or the trolley, or the pallet from the carpark and bring it back into store, where it gets sanitized and lined up with the others ready to be used again. And again. And again.
I have no idea how far I walk in a shift. But the nicely developing corn and the beautiful blister make me think it’s quite far…
Five a day – who will you call?
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