Thursday, 26 November 2009

In Soviet Russia...

Pumpkin cans you.

More pumpkin shortage fun at work today. People were trotting into the shop with purposeful beady eyes, zipping quickly around, finding one of the staff and whispering "I heard you're getting more tinned pumpkin in today. Has it arrived yet?"

It was a rumour that we had permeated, but as yet we still hadn't received confirmation. Thanksgivers' queries were met with ambivalence and vague statements. "It might arrive after 4pm, but it might not. It's not guaranteed so it could be a long shot."

We took turns working the front of the shop and guarding the pumpkin-less frontline, taking the repetitive questions.

Customer: Do you have any canned pumpkin?
Manager: No.
Customer: Are you sure?

Customer: I heard you were getting pumpkin in at four. Is it in yet?
Me: It's only three. No.

Customers: Can I reserve a can/Can you keep one aside?
Me: No, I've had more requests than we are getting pumpkin in.

Customer: When is the pumpkin coming in?
Me: after 4pm.
Customer: Can you get it in sooner?

Coming up for 4pm, it was my turn on the frontline. My colleagues were pumpkin-weary and not up for dealing with pumpkin deprived Thanksgivers. The shop was full of eager shoppers. I maintained an abrupt, but not rude, manner.

Customer: Why is it taking so long?
Me: We had to get it flown in from America.
Customer: Really?!
Me: No. I mean it does come from America originally, of course. Brits don't really do pumpkin.
Customer: Really!?
Me: Nope. Libby's is American. We have to import it. It's taking so long today because we are getting some delivered from another shop.

Customer: How much is it?
Me: Eight hundred pounds a can.
Customer: Really!?
Me: No, but I swear some people would be prepared to pay that much today.

Eventually the pumpkin arrived, my manager doled them out straight from the box, and the crowd left happy. After that, when dribs and drabs of Thanksgivers came through the door I pointed to the tiny pumpkin-pyramid without a word, they took their can, paid me and left happy. Well, almost happy: We ran out of pie crust yesterday.

Finally, as evening set in and the shop quietened down, an American girl and her mother came for a browse.
Me: The pumpkin's over there.
Mother: Oh, no, not that stuff! I use real pumpkin. Or squash, because they are basically the same.
Me: Funny you should say that...
Mother: Well, you don't use that tinned stuff, that's just no good. Anyway, we're celebrating Thanksgiving like proper Americans, we're ordering Thai!

We still had some cans left when we shut shop. I feel a bit bad for all those folks who came by and missed out, but next time, folks, get your pumpkin early so we can order more in time.

Or celebrate St.Andrews day instead. We only sold one can of haggis today, and it was vegetarian.

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