#9 Christmas parties

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At the local Tesco, an Asian lad stands in front of the shop, in a suit, smoking a cigarette. It is three in the morning, and I ask him whether he is security, but he says “no, no, I am the night manager”. He does this every night, but it’s really tough, he says, you DO go mad. He knows people who have been doing night shifts for seventeen years now, and they talk to themselves, because they don’t have time to socialize. Two Latin American guys walk out to have a cigarette too, they don’t say anything. The night manager tells us that he needs strong people. Some people don’t turn up after a few nights because they do not have the stamina for this kind of work. You need to carry things and stock up all night, getting things ready for the next day. In the morning the shop has to be tidy. Daytime staff has contact with the customers, the night manager explains, but they often leave a mess behind, which we need to clean up. The pay is better, but we are not invited for the Christmas parties, because we work at night [GD].

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