Back from holiday and like the customers, relieved of their brats now that they are in the custody of schoolteachers, I am in a relaxed mood. My first shift proved diverting. First of all a young couple approached the checkout clutching a bottle of vodka and little else. He looked decidedly fresh faced and I asked him for some identification. Howling with laughter he presented me with a police ID card. Whoops. Fortunately he and his missus saw the funny side of it too, and my colleagues were able to extract much humour from all those ‘policemen looking young means you are getting old’ jokes.

We had just stopped chortling when an alarm sounded. Nobody seemed sure exactly what to do at first, then eventually the order came along the checkouts, relay fashion, to evacuate the store.

“Oh, but can’t you just (risk burning to death to) get my shopping scanned through first?” asked my customer.

Well she didn’t actually say the part in parentheses. Even customers have some limits. Still I thought a very little forethought on her part would have been courteous. It took longer than I expected to get out through the crowds hesitantly milling through the doors and out, something to remember if I am ever in a store when the alarm does go off.

The day was nicely sunny outside and we rolled our sleeves up to expose as much skin as decently possible to the reflected glare from the carpark tarmac. After all, a paid for tan is not to be sneezed at. The fire engines rolled up gleamingly scarlet and satisfyingly dramatic. Disappointingly however the crew visible from our roll point were all female. Even if the end verdict was a faulty oven it was still better than your average shift. And there was the entertainment of returning all the contents of the abandoned trolleys to the shelves in the pleasingly quiet aftermath. Now where’s that fire alarm button again…