Working in the UK

Three shifts in,  my experience working at a gourmet kitchenware store in Bournemouth is generally positive.  Lots to learn, and it’s clear I will be earning every penny of my hourly wage, once I am fully trained.

I am being paid £7.50 per hour, a pretty standard rate for a retail assistant (equivalent to $12.60 per hour CDN).

Of the twelve employees, the manager and assistant manager are the only full time employees.  This appears to be standard in the retail sector here.  With the exception of students, people who work in the retail sector have two or more part time jobs to make ends meet.

My work mates are great, though I find myself no match for the quickness of a couple of under twenties with whom I am working.  I can only hope there will be moments when I will trump them with my wisdom, judgement and salesmanship…haha!

The store sells a wide range of high end cooking knives that are under lock and key.  Once I am trained to sell them, I have been advised of the importance of checking ID to make sure these products are not sold to anyone under 18.  Consequences for me could be a five thousand pound fine or six months in prison!

One thing that surprised me was the break policy….very different than anywhere I have worked in Canada.  With this employer, there are no breaks for shifts of up to six hours.  If you work over six hours you are given a thirty minute meal break.  Coffee breaks seem to be non existent.  With few exceptions, I am scheduled for four hour shifts, and I find that’s more than enough time on my feet without a break!

The store is beautiful with a wide range of cooking, giftware and entertaining products.  It’s fun to observe customers enjoying a browse through the store and I am looking forward to becoming more proficient with assisting them.

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