Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A Tuesday Tale - Mrs Overall

I just bet most of us remember our first day at work - mine almost scarred me mentally for life:
I was the youngest in the office, at a local Electricity Board, and as such treated like the office junior until I realised they were pulling a fast one.

For some weird reason, absolutely every single of the female staff had to wear a blue overall - even if you were based in an office and never clapped eyes on the general public. On my first day I was issued with said overall, nylon, stiff and VERY long. Recipe for disaster really :(

Just before tea break time I was taken up into the attic area and shown the kitchen where there was a huge array of different shaped and patterned mugs, each belonging to specific individuals. Wide eyed I just nodded dumbly as Dorothy (she'd have been about 30+ and seemed ancient to me, we're still in touch all these years later) rattled through a list of about fourteen people, pointing out their individual mugs and whether they liked strong or weak tea or coffee, no milk, some milk, a lot of milk, sugar or no sugar etc. etc. then waltzed off back down the creaking stairs leaving me to it.

For goodness sakes, I was 18, fresh out of school and certainly no domestic goddess, with a memory like a sieve as an additional handicap.

Undaunted, and probably too scared to admit I was totally lost I struggled as best I could and eventually, after an absolute age, had a tray all loaded with the best attempt I could muster.

Betcha know what's coming next, I took two steps down the flight of stairs, my 'kitten heel' (remember those, first time round?) got caught in the hem of that stupid overall and WHOOSH down I went - hurling the whole tray of mugs up in the air. I was physically fine but the whole kit and caboodle was smashed to smithereens and the place looked as if it had been raining tea and coffee. I just wanted to curl up and die with embarrassment.

Evil, but thinking back, it probably served them right for throwing me in the deep end like that :)



Diane said...

I had a similar thing happen to me too, very embarrassing! My first job was in Midland Bank, remember them? bitterne Southampton branch. A very old building, cobwebby flat were used as storage above the branch and the staff room, such as it was, was in the basement. The stairs leading down were very narrow steep and dark. A light was supposed to come on automatically, but it never did so there was a pop out switch to turn the light on for a set time. The door from the branch floor to the basement had a hefty spring on it do it wouldn't stay open. I had to make tea for 20. I collected all the cups on a tray, opened the door, stepped through balancing the tray as best I could. The light didn't come on so I tried to "pop" the timer switch with my elbow, missed, the door slammed behind me whacking on the bottom so hard I lost my balance and went flying down the stairs, tray cups, dregs of the last lot of tea and all! What a mess!

Annie said...

A tray of drinks, kitten heels and a flight of stairs just never go together. What a mean lot they were. I hope all their special mugs were smashed too. Hope that taught them to make their own in future.
A x
ps the postman has just been...thank you soooo much x

mustavcoffee, Gay Peplow said...

Oh how rotten for you, nasty people! I had my fair share of 'go get some left handed screw drivers and sky hooks' thrown at me! Luckily I'm a little feisty and called their bluff by buying and bringing all the stuff back, right or wrong and they had to pay for it! Made me feel good but I was shaking inside, I thought 'how could they be so cruel and I don't care if they take it badly' LOL I'm a little more mature now,............well maybe LOL xxx

Sandra (Stamping For Pleasure) said...

Oh dear Di . . . xxx

Mrs A. said...

I don't have a (Mug) story but the The Doc does. His 1st day at work as an apprentice in an Electronics factory he was asked if he would like a coffee. On saying yes he was directed to a group of mugs on the work bench and told to stand in line and help himself. Of course they made sure he was on the back of the queue and there was only one left which he picked up. Only he could'nt cos this was the special mug which was screwed to the workbench!!!! Every new boy got the Mug initiation treatment.
Hugs Mrs A.

Victoria said...

Oh dear, poor Mrs Overall!

Anonymous said...

Lol, oh that took me back! I have two tea stories for you as I also had to make tea for about 12 people when I first started work. Story One: I was taking the tray full of empty cups back to the little break room to wash up, but someone had pulled the door shut and my hands were full. Realising that the door wasn't quite shut I was able to kick it open, but I kicked it too hard and it hit the wall and came flying back at me as I walked through... I dodged it but didn't realise that the door handle had caught in my "bat wing" baggy jumper and as I strode confidently forward my left arm was pulled very sharply downward by the door which caused the right had to come up in a see saw effect. The upshot of it was that the tray full of empty cups got thrown at the wall with some force before all crashing on to the floor, breaking the few that were still intact after hitting the wall! To make matters worse, on the other side of that wall was the office of the Director of Engineering, who was having a very important meeting with the company owner, Chief Accountant and a few other high ranking people! And it sounded like someone was chucking bricks at the wall to interrupt their meeting!


Di said...

Ha, ha - this seems to have stirred up a few similar and equally embarrassing memories :)

I actually feel a lot better about it now :)


Anonymous said...

Story Two: Still making tea and still in my first year... I had a week's holiday and someone else had to make the tea while I was away. I came back, tea break loomed and I resumed my duties.... only some wag decided it would be funny not to tell me that they'd broken the handle off the ceramic teapot and bought a new one. So the new teapot was hidden and the handle was glued back on to the broken one. I didn't spot that at all and proceeded to make the tea and let it sit for a minute while I arranged the cups and put out the milk and sugar. The room was long and thin, and the cabinets stopped about three feet from the door, I would put the tea tray on the end closest to the door and use the space between the end of the cabinets and the door to hold the tea pot and pour it out. This is what I did that day too, only I got about two cups into the pouring when the body of the teapot came away from the handle and exploded on the floor because the hot tea had melted through the glue!! I was left standing there with a stunned look on my face holding nothing but the handle!! Luckily because of the way I made use of the empty space at the end of the cabinet I didn't get splashed by the scalding tea, but the narrow confines of the room meant that both walls were now stained with tea to a height of about 4ft on each side! I told them what they could do with their tea making after that!!!


Sandra H said...

Not one of my memories Di l only did tea's on one level.....lol your right it did serve the right was you ever asked to do brews again....lol great memeory, hopefully you didn't hurt yourself and did you have to replace the cups?!! :)x

Darnell J Knauss said...

Great tale, Di! I knew what was coming, but still read on because your telling added details to make it a living dialogue. I can literally "see" the streaming ribbons of coffee and tea coming down the walls and dripping off the stair treads. Serves them right is right!!

Kathleen said...

Fabulous tale, and still alive to tell it. Sometimes I think how nieve we were and are tricks still played on the new emplyees of today and how would they react.
I was lucky I was only sent for a 'long stand'

Kath x

Samantha Elliott said...

Hmmmmn! Been in this situation myself and regularly make tea for the corridor in the mornings now, but thankfully only 5 at the most and then they make for me. Woebetide anyone who uses MY cup!!
I must remember not to bring a special cup in October!! LOL!

Elizabeth said...

Hilarious! Well, not for you, but I'd love to have seen their faces. And almost mirrors my first day at work, in a bank. All those cups - fortunately, I did not have to carry the tray down any stairs.

It must have been the the fashion at the time to dress the female staff to look like cleaners because we were issued with the most odious nylon overalls, shirtwaisted in shape - ugh! We were lucky, we had a choice of colours - blue or green - so mine was green, but even so, it was still horrendous.

Thanks for the chuckle. Hugs, Elizabeth xx

Amanda said...

Oh this did make me chuckle too, I bet they never asked you again lol. I have two different stores but thought you might find them funny .In the bank where I worked we used to take turns and the staff room was at the very top of the building, there was a lift but it was only designed for a trolley but I used to put the tray in and then walk up the stairs as carrying and me don't mix, well one day I thought no-one will know if i go in the lift as well....yes you guessed it it got stuck and I had to be rescued and I got a right telling off as well as my hurt pride lol. I can still feel my cheeks burning as they opened the door and there was me crouching so I could fit in. Second one was in a different branch but the same bank, I was making the tea for the manager and had washed the cups and was drying them when I slipped on the wet floor and did the splits and tore my skirt, I quickly got myself up made the tea and then rushed home to change. When I got back the manager said I didn't know we had lemon tea it was really nice if a little bubbly, and I realised i had put the washing up liquid in and then just poured the tea over the top......I was so scared he would be ill....so i told him i thought he should go to A&E and he said I didn't drink it I realised what had happened but the look on your face was a delight....Thank you for cheering me up this morning and also for bringing back some cherished memories too. Hugs, Amanda x