Chapter 10

Supermarket Chronicles Volume 1,

Chapter 10: Fellowship Of The iPhone

Its nearly Christmas and life is good. In fact if it weren’t for being summoned to the Sainsburys Head Office, I would go as far as to say life is perfect. Let me explain how I found myself on the train to Sainsbury’s head office. Last time you left me, I was in a blacked-out, snow-covered sainsburys West Hove complete with numerous live turkeys, exploding Christmas hats and of course the Regional Manager who had just turned up at the store and was after my blood for causing general havoc in Sainsbury’s across the country.

The following takes place between 7pm and 7am one week from Christmas day 2007.

It was an added advantage that it was pitch black inside and out. The certainly aided my swift getaway. But there was no denying that something needed to be done. You see it was an hour after the power shortage that the fire brigade had been called and kindly revealed to the store that there was no way that they could get in due to the increased level of snow OUTSIDE the store which had – in every manor of the word, snowed us in. So while they worked hard to remove the frosty and entrapping snow from outside… it came down to me to find a way of fixing the snow and darkness that was so evident inside. it was no secret that it was going to be a long night. Before I could even hope to fix the boiler for the heating – I needed to see what was happening in the store. And to do that I needed to fix the electrics of the store. I knew very little about the way a store’s electricity was generated… other than the fact a generator was somehow involved. Anyway… my first port-of-call was the clothing department. If I was gong to survive the night, I needed to be warm.

As I slowly began to feel my way around the store, I received a text message on my phone… The text message (was a truely amazing one) worked as a reminder that I did actually carry a light on me… my phone. I slid on the icy floor towards the nearby kitchenware aisle and pulled a bunch of dishclothes off the shelf. After tying them around my head and positioning my phone in the top of it, I had made a very basic minors hat, complete with ‘I can now see where i’m going…ness’… Now the party could get started.

I needed a plan though. This was easier than I thought. You see two days before, I remember the excitement of the General Merchandising department when they announced they had iPhones in stock. And everyone knows the iPhone can achieve great things… so it was clear that all I needed to do was find an iPhone, get onto the Internet, google the boiler and generator scamatics, fix it and go home for some well-earned rest. I grabbed some merchandising card signs and shaped them into snow-walking boots. I was set to go. I had a plan. I had a store map. I had an adventure on my hands.

It was no secret that this was an adventure that would live with me for months, maybe years later but at the same time I did have to share the moment with the most annoying people in the world. Customers. You see they too were locked in the very freezing building and it wasn;t long before I met the first one of my travels.
“Hello. Could you tell me where the cereals are?”
“Are you kidding me? You’re shopping in the dark and cold?”
“Well its getting close the Christmas..”
I’m not sure what the woman went on to say because I had already labeled her as a ‘crazy’ and on that note I handed her the nearest product i could find and ran. It was dark, so she would never be able to identify me, there was no way that was going to come back to me.

While I paraded off down the center of the store, someone very evil had been listening to my conversation with the customer. You see the RM (Regional Manager) had voice recognition on her phone and had somehow traced me to that customer. She was hot on my trail and it wasn’t long before her chilling, old fashioned voice echoed down the aisles “Stephen Holdstock. Stop where you are…” I didn’t have much time to act before she started charging towards me. Her red eyes glowed with anger and fury. I was by the deli counters, so i jumped over a slid to the end. I was able to hide behind some giant blue dustbins. Unfortunately for me they stank to high-heaven of dead fish-bits. Either way I had made a good enough escape from the RM… I was safe for now…

Something I hadn’t counted on was that turkeys apparently really enjoy raw fish… Which is all very well until you are covered by the stench of it. I could barely escape the deli without behing bombarded with hundreds of loose turkeys. The only option available was to run along side and jump into one of the rollers that the staff used to bring out cold food in. I made it in and the roller was faster than any turkey could ever be – but i had left a trail and i wouldn’t be long before RM would be after me. I ran as fast as I could towards the electronics section of the store to locate the iPhones. An aisle before I reached it, RM walked out in front. She scowled at me and held her phone in the air.
“This phone has a heat sensor… did you really think you could ever escape me?”
I reached to my right (which just so happened to be where the beef joints were kept and grabbed one. I thrust it towards her head and missed, smashing a glass of a cabinet behind her. She started to charge towards me again. In the panic, I reached for another joint of beef. It was hit or miss, escape or die. I threw it at her. It spun in the air in slow motion and landed perfectly between her red eyes. She callapsed to the ground with a giant thudd. She was rather large by the way… that, I guess, would also explain why the whole charging towards you thing is so scary.
Her phone slid across the icy floor to me… it was an iPhone!

Now that was perfect. I grabbed it and hid behind a shelf. It took me about an hour to find all the scamatics that I needed. But once I had, i had a new destination. Number 1. The generator.

Reaching the generator wasn’t too hard and neither was fixing it. You see there were a few fuse switches that tripped. So it was a matter of flicking them back. However, the sheer volume of the lights caused a power surge to send me flying. The lights came on and I was ok, shocked but ok. The iPhone just about survived but it started to spark every so often. I had to reach the boiler room. Fast.

After fighting my way through about a hundred more turkeys – reached the boiler room only to be greeted by RM.
“Why can’t you leave me alone???”
“I’m taking you to head office. And we are leaving now.”
“Not unless I can fix this boiler and melt this snow problem once and for all.”
“No. You have done enough. Stop now before we have to lock you away for longer.”
I sighed and noticed something on the floor. It was a box of santa hats. Could i really risk another explosion so close to the boiler? I quickly snatched one from the box and explained what it could do if it touched the icy, snowly floor. RM stepped back as i forced it towards her.
“I am going to fix the boiler. If you want to stop me, I’m gonna drop the hat.”
She suddenly lunged towards me in the aim of grabbing the hat… instead she forced me into the wall and i fell to the ground. She had already hit the ground and the hat was spinning (once again) in the air. Before it could hit the ground craig came out of nowhere and caught it.
“Fix the boiler steve.” He smiled. “I’ll take care of her.”
The iPhone wouldn’t last much longer, so i got to work with the limited tools that were hanging on the wall. I managed to follow all the instructions pretty simply… It came down to the final wires. Blue or Red. Unfortunately the google site said the wires should both be the same colour, red. It did have a link for if this scenario occurred, but before i could click it – the phone cut out. Now there was immense pressure. The site had said i should join the blue wires together for only a few seconds… but what was i supposed to do if they were different colours?

Suddenly it came to me. My own phone. The torch. It didn’t have full Internet but it did have basic features. After a few minutes of searching I had found what I needed. Turns out there was another wire hidden behind a pipe. I joined them for the time it said and the boiler whirled into gear. It took a while to start pumping the hot water through the pipes but the steam started to proove that the boiler was working again. A very accomplished me thought about how my very humble phone had worked out better than the iPhone in the end. It was almost a Christmas moral – be thankful for the things we have in life… But before I could finish this ‘after school special’; I walked out of the boiler room to fit RM with craig in a headlock – he was wearing the christmas hat and was hanging over a patch of snow.
“I will have no problem dropping him in that snow. I may be big but I can charge fast and that means i can escape. Could you really live with the on your conscience?”
The fact that there was heaps of evidence to prove her guilt… I did what every other friend would do. Submitted in my moment of glory. She let craig go anyway… I dived to his aid but it was too late. His heat (hat and all) hit the snow. I braced myself for the explosion. Nothing.
“You think I would really kill someone?” She commented. ‘Its not one of the exploding hats.”
Either way she had won and even though the lights were working and the heating had started again, i was paraded through the store at 7am and bundled into the managers Jaguar.

The fire brigade had cleared the snow and were still there. They took of their hats to me since they knew that whatever it was that was gonna happen to me… It was going to be bad… Admittedly they sent me back to work the next day… but it didn’t end there…

I was summoned to head office in January for a meeting that would decide my fate and my position in the company. I had been a fantastic year, with so much happening and such much achieved. There was even an adventure before I was called to the head office that happened later that Christmas week. Which I will no doubt tell you another time. But no matter how fantastic this last year was, I had no idea what 2008 was going to hold… What adventures would be before me and what was awaiting me at head office…

End Of Volume 1

(Volume 2 Coming Soon)