My Feet Hurt

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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17 Comments Add yours

  1. LittleDreams says:

    Air hugs Mrs, we do appreciate everything you do. I do need something quite urgently (I think!) from a garden centre but I’m holding off as long as I can.
    How are you and your colleagues coping emotionally? I really missed going into work today, it’s the start of the summer term. I don’t want to sound like one of those deep posts that are appearing all over on social media but I really miss my class- I know they are ok (online learning, in school on a rota for me, home distanced visits for the vulnerable) but I just miss that whole class vibe. Whinge over!


    1. Air Hugs received – thanks!! I know what you mean (I used to teach) – I still worry about some of the little treasures that I taught 20 odd years ago (the class I had during my final teaching practice were the same age as my son, so they’ll be 28/29 now. I think there are some kids you never forget.
      Take care, hopefully it won’t be too much longer before schools are back to normal – the important thing is not to beat yourself up over what you haven’t done, and concentrate on what you’ve achieved under really difficult circumstances.
      Take care. xx


  2. Joan Mudd says:

    Bless your little feet. You need to wear your fitbit, if you are allowed to, to see how far you trot in a day. It made me smile about people not knowing what they ordered. That’s the same as every “group” meal out i have been to. The staff member is standing there with a plate of crab cakes and everyone looks blank. A few more questioning “crab cakes anyone?” later somebody goes “Oh! That’s me”. It’s not hard is it? Take care XXX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually hunted my fitbit out, but I couldn’t find the charger!! It’s amazing the number of people who say ‘I never got an order number!!’. Yes, yes you did…


  3. Jane fielder says:

    That’s really interesting. Thank you. Id no idea how click and collect worked.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m thinking of starting a points system – extra points to people who manage to order all of their items off of one shelf, or even one aisle. And points will be deducted if I have to go all the way to the back of the garden centre for one item then all the way to the external warehouse for something else…
      Take care!! xx


  4. Sheila says:

    Thank you for still working. Gardens and DIY are important at this time. Sorry about your aching feet. You are suffering for an excellent cause.
    Take care. Stay safe and well


    1. I need to walk up into town to buy some more Compeed plasters. The irony’s not been lost on me…
      Stay safe. xx


  5. anglosvizzera says:

    (Hi Jane! Hope you’re both well.)

    I remember, before the lock-down, going to a big DIY store and being served by a woman far older than us. We were buying something heavy and she asked if we would like some help getting it into the car. My husband agreed, as his back is sometimes a bit dodgy, but the person who came to help must’ve been at least 75! As it was, we had a trolley at the other end so just tugged and ‘dropped’ the thing from the boot onto the trolley without having to lift it right out.

    Sorry to hear about your poor feet – I guess corn plasters and blister plasters will be on your next shopping list, but also that people are generally very grateful for all you’re doing. Our local independent garden centre is now doing deliveries within our little town, so I was glad to be able to get some bags of ‘composted manure’ for the garden as the DIY shops where I usually get such things weren’t selling it either online or as ‘click and collect’ items. Is that the case where you work? I wondered why, being as they still sell normal compost?


    1. Yes – I get a bit of a kick out of manoevering a flat bed or a pallet out to someone’s car. Particularly when it’s a builder and he’s said something really helpful like ‘It’ll be a bit heavy’. I honestly think this is the strongest I’ve ever been. I know there are some items that I used to struggle to lift that I hardly think about now!!
      I don’t really know what’s available from us – I know it’s not our full range, so it really is just a case of going on line and seeing if you can order what you need. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!!
      Stay safe! xx


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