Confessions of a bathroom retailer: Sleeping on the job

People are funny and in the last of this regular series, our bathroom retailer recalls some of the craziest moments they’ve had dealing with customers. Next time, a kitchen retailer takes up the challenge

Does your company ever take on work experience students, and if so, I wonder why?

We recently had a client’s daughter enquire about work experience with us, and we felt as though we couldn’t say no, as we had built up such a good relationship with her parents during the project, they were clearly expecting work experience with us to be a given.

We used to always offer work experience, and in fact we found two of our current employees via successful work experience stints, but the past few times have been terrible so we said we wouldn’t do it again.

The work experience woes started almost immediately when the school called us and proceeded to aggressively interview us on every policy, procedure, fire safety and code of conduct we have in place.

The person at our office who is responsible for this said it felt as though she had just done three rounds of the Chase up against the Governess as she fought to answer each question correctly and to the best of her ability. It’s safe to say the school representative was no Bradley Walsh though, rather more of a Miss Trunchbull!

We committed to having the student with us for a week. I mean how bad could it be… and what a week it was.

We wrongly assumed she would be at least 16 years old, but when she turned up, she was just 14, bless her little cotton socks. One of our members of staff even asked her was she allowed to drink tea and coffee. I mean she was fresh out of the womb by comparison with some of us here.

She didn’t know a sniff about bathrooms, interiors or home renovation and when we paired her with a designer to shadow, she literally fell asleep. We quickly realised she would only stay awake if she had her phone as a stimulant. So client-wise, if you had walked in you would have seen a child, either asleep or on their phone in the showroom, not ideal as a first impression.

One day we sent her to the post office for us and she got lost despite living in our village her entire life. She didn’t know how to turn a hoover on. She had never mopped a floor. But the final straw was when we asked her to do a round of teas for the team and she put the milk in first!

That is truly the last time we take a work experience student – and if anyone’s thinking of doing it, make sure they are at least 16!

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