I have to admit to both our readers to being the most terrible snob. I can turn my nose up at those whom I deem of lesser social standing to me at times, and am able to form an almost instant assessment of these characters by gauging their attitude, stance and [in]ability to string a coherent sentence together. I am unfortunate enough to live near a town in the North West of England which appears to attract the most illiterate, unwashed descendants of the apes one could ever have the misfortune to meet. Generally, I avoid this town like the plague...but I work in it, and thus work with its denizens.
Most of these people work in the warehouse sorting the medicines and toiletries. If I need to visit the warehouse for products so I can image them, the women glare at me and zoom past in their forklift trucks threatening to impale me on the tines and the men undress me with their eyes. It is rather disconcerting and although I could stay there for hours marvelling at the sight of massive stocks of shampoos, conditioners, creams and, my personal favourite, Cocodamol, I scarper as quickly as possible.
An indicator of their mentality was the 'Quit Smoking' initiative introduced by the company last year. The offer was 50% off all Nicotine Replacement Therapy items, which actually brought the prices of some patches and gums to below the price paid for an NHS prescription. Initially, it was bandied about that the NRTs could be collected from different branches upon sight of ID cards. Then the CEO realised that as they already nicked the stuff from him at the warehouse and fenced it on the streets, why should he pay carriage on the items and lose out even further?
So the point of collection remained at Head Office. The staff were then informed of the initiative...And all hell broke loose! Instead of seeing it as an incentive, these pikies decided that it was a breach of their civil liberties and all downed tools and threatened to walk out...A strike...just because they had been offered the chance to extend their lives by a few years. This has come to be known as 'The Pikey Mentality' in our neck of the woods. Po' White Trash will probably be more familiar to our American readers!
I am a smoker myself, as I have admitted on more than one occasion, and so every two hours, or whenever our web developers have left me a gibbering wreck, I stalk down the full length of the HO to the designated smoking area. The trek to get there, and the concomitant exercise sort of negates the effects of the cigarette...in my head at least...Most unfortunately for me, I always seem to get there at the same time as warehouse staff are on their breaks. The tiny smoking area (outside, under some corrugated plastic, next to a compressor which kicks in the minute I stand near it and makes me jump out of my skin) is then crowded with pikies.
Now, when enraged, I can swear like a trooper. I can also use big words, too, not needing to intersperse my sentence with blasphemous modifiers every ten seconds. They can't. Take a simple sentence such as 'I am going into town this evening' and suddenly from their mouths it becomes, 'F*ck, I am f*cking going into that b*stard f*cking town this f*cking evening'. Seems like an awful lot of hard work to me, actually. And knowing how lazy they are, it almost feels as though they are compensating for their dilitory work ethic by making their mouths work ultra hard.
The other day, I was standing by the bin, having the legs whipped from underneath me by the howling winds which came around the corner and warehouse were crowded into the area on their break. A huge, fat woman was eating a meat and potato pasty and talking at the top of her voice. Meaty slop and pastry flakes were spat around everywhere with each aspirated palative and expletive. I don't know how much went down her throat, but I bet she was still hungry afterwards...The sight was so ghastly that I stubbed out my cigarette forthwith and went back inside. It had not been pleasant.
I know one of the warehouse staff girls. I don't know her very well, but she has decided to make me her best friend. I don't want to be her friend as she taps me up for money the minute she sees me and like the sucker I am, I give it to her. The last time it happened, I gave her £20 which was passed to her in the toilets. I told her to fill her car up with petrol, get herself sorted out and give it back to me when she could, after her payday. As I turned to go, she grabbed me and growled, 'Give me a f*cking hug, you little f*cker'. Well, as terms of endearments go, that's right at the bottom of the list for me. And nor did I want to hug her...she had admitted previously that she hadn't had a bath for over a week and needed one. Indeed...
The next day, I saw her again. She was carrying a packet of cigarettes [mental note to self, £20 - £4.50 = £15.50...hmmm, that's not much petrol]. Every day, she had a new packet of fags. Obviously my money hadn't filled her car. It had filled her lungs. Two of her paydays passed, then a third, and then I got brave and asked for the return of my money. If looks could kill, I would now be six feet under. Ridiculously, I felt obliged to offer her an excuse as to why I wanted the money back, and cited Christmas, presents etc. A week after my debt was settled, she demanded to know exactly what I had bought with the money.
Is it me?
I am much more careful on my fag breaks now. I know that between quarter to the hour and the top, it is likely that one of the shifts will be there. I ensure that, desperate as I may be, I will not have a cigarette until five past the hour. It is a form of discipline to me.
And it is helping me cut down, I guess...