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I am a Graduate who has had a bit of a touch time finding a job. I finally managed to get a job in Boots as a Customer Assistant, and at first was thrilled at the opportunity to work for them, being aware of it's respectable reputation. However, after working there for 6 months, I can certainly say it is the worst job I have ever had. I worked unloading lorries at 6.30 in the morning and putting delivery out to shelf, as well as helping customers and serving on tills. The customer assistance part wasn't bad at all. In fact, I enjoyed helping the customers and serving them at the tills with a friendly manner. However, behind the scenes it was a different story. We were understaffed due to budget cuts, and we were expected to do double as much work to make up for these cuts, within a tight schedule. The ops staff, as we were called, were constantly told we were not performing to the ridiculously high standards that were set by the company. We were constantly being reviewed and threatened with being fired if we didn't improve. I had barely got out of my probationary period before being stuck on a "performance improvement program" which is pretty much a written warning leading to suspension and inevitably, termination. I was told it was nothing to worry about as "other people were or had been on it", and my colleagues said it was basically a scare tactic. I even tried to get a transfer before this, but then was given the paper which blocked me from transferring, saving them from hiring someone else and training them up. There were also health and safety regulations, that we were expected to know, but they were violated when we were told to do so. I spent 6 miserable months there before I managed to find a new job, where I am now appreciated and it has really helped rebuild my confidence which was shattered in Boots. I'm sure there are other branches which aren't as bad as mine, however the way staff were treated in my shop was despicable. A lot of people were unhappy and the only ones that weren't were management, who were in a "clique" of their own, oblivious to other people's unhappiness, even when we said it to their face. A lot of people did leave when I did, or where planning to and I don't blame them. The working conditions were terrible, the training was inadequate, the expectations unrealistic and the management just completely unprofessional. Everyone I have spoken to has agreed with me, it was the right choice to leave.
When I turned seventeen I was looking for a job that I could fit around college hours and saw a Sunday position going at Boots and decided to apply. I got a phone call the next day for an interview the following Monday. The interview itself went ok, the Manager just asked questions like "what are you doing at college?" and "how soon can you start?". I was phoned up after a couple of days after the interview and was offered to start work on the next Sunday coming. I had my induction on the Saturday where I just learned how to use the tills and got given my uniform. It wasn't until the next day where things started to go wrong. On the Sunday, while serving customers you have to ask every single one if they have a Boots card. I smiled, said hello and asked "Do you have a Boots Advantage card" to every single customer. After a while it starts to become momentous. Most of the customers are middle-aged women buying N07 anti-wrinkle cream that look down on you like your something on the bottom of their shoe. The manager was just as bad. She used to stand on the other side of the tills just watching me serve customers. Then she called me over once in the while to say I wasn't smiling enough. I actually laughed at this point and thought how pathetic can you get. As a bloke who doesn't really smile much, I was trying my best at being friendly and showing a smile every once in the while, but sorry for not being a step ford wife and smiling 24/7. I think I was picked on for being the only bloke there, maybe I was an easy target, I don't know. Whenever they had promotions on, like a free £5 N07 voucher or half price sunglasses, if the customer had spent over £10, the tills would automatically open and smack me right in the groin. Because I'm standing up all day and the tills are in direct line to my privates, I always had to stand back to make sure I wasn't hit. But once in a while, you would forget and get hit, ouch! The other sales assistants were friendly enough. I was so glad I only worked a Sunday as I don't think I could do it anymore days before deciding to jump off a cliff. When they phoned me up and asked if I could do extra, I just said I had loads of college work to do (which I had) and could do it maybe another time. I did four Sundays in all, and then decided to pack the job in. I really found it a rubbish job so I thought I would quit and concentrate on getting good A levels at college. If you're a man and fancy getting hit in the groin whenever there is a promotion on, enjoy getting aching legs after an 8 hour shift of standing up, listening to Pixie Lott and Lady Gaga on alternate about hundred times in a day as background music, getting a sore throat from asking if you have a boots card a million times a day and working with a manager that tells you to smile all the time even though you want to smack her mouth in. It's the job for you!