Are you being served?

As some of you know, I work in a shop selling cards, gifts, candles and all that jazz. With the shop being in the middle of the main town on the island, we get all sorts of people…and I mean ALL sorts. I usually write one-liners on my facebook page when I get particularly peculiar requests, both for the entertainment of my facebook friends (and these updates have got quite a following!) and also to let off steam.

For the benefit of those of you who are not on my facebook list, here are some of the most recent requests I got:

  • I get asked for all sort of things which have nothing to do with our shop. Some recent examples are talcum powder, sanitary towels (yes, indeed), radios, medicines, underwear, bubble wrap…the list goes on;
  • I recently discovered that a pencil case is called a ‘pocket’ these days, at least on this island. The first time I was asked for a pocket, my reaction was to ask what sort of pocket they were after, only to be met with raised eyebrows. Apparently it’s old fashioned to call it pencil case. I still can’t bring myself to call it pocket;
  • The other day a customer asked me to get his wallet out of the back pocket of his trousers. I was a little scared…he didn’t seem all there. He struggled with the said wallet while I stared at the opposite direction, pondering my options. Should I run out of the shop screaming? Should I help him? Should I ask someone to come and help him? Thankfully he managed to get the wallet out without me having to touch his behind;
  • Today I was asked for a credit card. When I asked the customer to repeat (I thought I hadn’t heard right) she asked again, very seriously, for a credit card. It took me a few seconds to realise what she wanted. A top-up card (prepaid) for her mobile (or cell phone as they call it elsewhere). For a second there I thought they were selling credit cards over the counter. Then again, if they did I’d be the first person to know about it…or rather, my sister would.

As you can see, there’s rarely a dull moment in this place and that’s not mentioning the multitude of names I have the pleasure to hear, especially when people from the larger island are over for their holidays. The two that stood out this summer were Shanesia and Redeemer and, sadly, they belonged to small children.

"I'm free!"...'Are you being served?' was one of my favourite tv programmes growing up. Little did I know I'd end up facing customers myself on a daily basis.


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  1. Pocket… oh dear Lord. I think a pencil case is a pocket in the same ‘reality’ that a wallet is a portmOney. *sigh/cringe*

    A friend of mine mentioned on FB today that she came across a kid called Kluyvert. I mean, really. Do parents actually stop and think any longer?!

  2. (Disclaimer: This is going to sound very snobby) Sadly it’s a certain ‘type’ of people who call it a ‘pocket’. The same people who call sports shoes, ‘slipper’…

    Where is your shop? I’m sure I’ve passed it many-a-time and you probably know my uncle and aunt cos they have the corner house in the main road of the main town 🙂

    • giselle, i guess we’re both snobs then. i can’t stand people calling them slippers either! unfortunately, though, pocket is a lot more widespread than i thought. i have to do breathing exercises to control myself every time i hear it.

  3. Mau, A had a patient last month here in England – Mellieha Bay Agius. And before you ask, YES IT”S TRUE!!!

    I was in your shop not long ago and believe me, some breathing exercises wouldn’t go amiss there heh!

    And I loved that show. I especially loved the old lady with the purple hair – forgot her name though.

  4. Dorothy Baldacchino September 1, 2010 — 11:58 am


    I’m really loving your blog!!!!! it’s hilarious and you’re a good writer!!!!



  5. beautiful post… well written goes without saying. what is sad though is that you could be doing so much more…. only consolation seems to be that at least you can see the funny side. Hugs

  6. Hilarious! I was a waitress for many years and had my fair share of odd requests too. Sadly, there was no facebook to doccument them. I have never heard the term pocket used for pencil case before, nor have I heard the term slipper used for sports shoe and I have no idea what sort of person would use these terms. I am very curious now. 🙂

    • Erm bronwyn…you’d have to live on this island to really get what sort of people we’re referring to. let’s just say they’re not the most intellectual of the islanders…hoping i’m not offending anyone. and please, do share your (mis)adventures in waitressing!

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