Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Whack job attack - part 1

I have had many whack jobs, especially during my 2 year working holiday visa in the UK. G and I dutifully obeyed the requirements of the time that said no working in your profession. And so we did mad, bad stuff for dough. Not selling our bodies or anything.

I figure that if you want a successful career in life, if, as they say in South Park, you want to "have a good time", then you can use this as a "how not to" guide. Don't do what I did, and you will be fine, kay?

The first whack job I shall discuss was by no means the most unpleasant in terms of the working environment. We were not screamed at, we were paid fairly, and the work was clearly explained. There was a nice cafetaria. But still. 

This job was known by us as: 

Flower Plonking.

We worked on and off for a few months at a flower factory. No we were not manufacturing flowers, we were putting together those bunches of flowers you can buy at supermarkets. The supermarkets in the UK have  a huge range of flowers to choose from. 

Because we were working with flowers, we had to work in "chilled" (read arctic) conditions. At peak times (Christmas, Easter, Mother's day etc) the place operated 24 hours a day and we did up to 14 hour shifts, sometimes working through the night.

What we were required to do was to put flowers on a conveyor belt. Each person had a different type of flower and we stood in a line. Person 1 say, had the roses (poor bugger, we are talking blood and cuts), and his job was to put a rose say in the left hand corner of each slot of the conveyor belt. Person 2 had the petunias and her job was to put 1 in the middle, etc etc. This was not the most intellectually stimulating of jobs. In fact, it was around this time that I found brain leaking out of my ears. The worst part is that I met people studying bloody PhDs who were doing this for spare cash. 

After a month or so, I got promoted to a very high calibre job. I had to stand at the end and perform "chryzling" (I am not sure of the name but it was something like that). As each bunch came by, we had roughly 7 seconds to whack an elastic band on the end, whack it in its covering, whack on a flower food sachet, and then perform a manouevre that requires much skill and practice, a kind of wrist flick that allows you to whack sellotape around the end in one easy sweep. See how it was a whack job? If you took longer than 7 seconds, you missed the next bunch, and got black looks from the person behind you who had to take the wrap (pun intended). It was bloody stressful, I tell you. Some days I wished for the peaceful times of plonking. 

At least we were working with beautiful, colourful things, which did help I must say. A look round the factory helped to cheer me up. And I met people from every nation you can think of, except the US (sensible folk).

But I sure do not miss standing in one spot in a freezer getting my hands ripped to shreds.


redsaid said...

Oh, ha ha! This is hilarious! (And very weird, because I've wanted to blog about my weirdest jobs for ages. I might just do that. Soon. Ish. When I stop being lazy.)

I can't imagine working in a freezer when it's freezing outside! And I don't have the dexterity to put shoes on, let alone wrap, snap, and fling bouquets! :-)

Those are skills that are certainly going to stand you in good stead in all your feature employment endeavours! :-D

po said...


I want to read about other people's weird jobs, so that I know it is not just me, so please do :)

The coldness was not cool, cos I worked there over winter. My hands nearly froze off.

Ches said... thats where those flowers come from...that usually die on the way home or in your new girlfriends hands!

po said...


you gotta get them in the flower food, they live forever then!