‘Commuting’ is not an art i’m used to, nor have perfected. I guess living no more than 15 minutes from work walking means I never truly have commuted, unless you count my periodic trips into London for Theatre School and rehearsals a ‘commute’ (well, I did hit rush hour and have to get up at crazy o’clock). Last week, however, changed that. Of course i’ve been into London a million times before and in rush hour, so I knew what was coming, but life as a commuter seemed somewhat strange. I transformed into someone working in London and my mind was in another place; it wasn’t all fun and games this time, I had to get to work.
This became the case as my dear little Lush store is having a refit, and therefore is shut for three weeks, so to fulfil my working week I was sent to, or as I liked to say, was ‘on loan to’ South Molton Street, Oxford Street and Northampton.
Each store was very, very different.
South Molton Street was a tiny little shop on a very fancy road in Mayfair. Mayfair though it may be, it also is just off Oxford Street. The shop was not at all busy, most customers spent a fortune in one transaction, and there were barely any children. I kid you not, the only child I met that day popped into Lush prior to her harpsichord lesson at Handel house and was extremely polite. The difference astounded me.
Oxford Street, Lush’s three story flagship store, was totally different to all the rest. I mean, of course it was, if the sheer size didn’t give it away. It was such a huge honour to work there and I came away with tips and tricks on improving my own confidence and a few training tips on helping others in my store’s confidence thrive, but it was just so crazy. Everything from the procedures, the staff, the sales.. was different.
Northampton. Northampton, Northampton, Northampton. What a family. I was lucky enough to work in this little shopping centre-based store for two days and I felt so welcomed. They were a wonderful little family and I felt like I was in the family myself after only a short period of time. I’ve honestly promised to go back just to see them because I loved them so, so much. Being a part of this shop was another experience entirely.
For those three different locations, I obviously had to commute in two directions. As I mentioned, South Molton Street is actually just off of Oxford Street so the commute to those two stations was not dissimilar, but for Northampton my commute was on a London Midlands train in the Birmingham direction.
Things I’ve learnt about commuters:
- Time doesn’t exist. I found it kind of distressing that commuters can turn up late and blame the tubes. You commute every day! You should know how long it takes on a long and short journey. I knew how long the longest journey would take, added a few minutes leeway and got the train before that. And by train I mean train, not tube, so instead of 2 minutes prior it’s a solid 20 at best. I arrived for my 9;30 at 8;45, sat down, enjoyed a coffee, and still had a large period of time to spare. Commuters, take a leaf out of the book of someone who doesn’t commute everyday. We may be paranoid, but at least we’re not late.
- Panic is always in the air. Commuters, as mentioned previously, don’t seem to care if they’re late or not, but always seem to be in a panic; out of breath, buzzed from too much or too little coffee, shoving people out the way… Leave earlier. Stop cramming. Chill. Of course, I too was anxious, merely due to the amount of people, but maybe no-one would be if we all practiced a little common sense.
- What’s a queue? Queues don’t exist. A commuter doesn’t care if you haven’t got on four tubes in a row, if there’s a space on the next one and he’s just turned up, he will shove you out the way to fill it. Even if there isn’t a space, someone will end up with body parts jammed in between the back doors and the train if it means he can get on.
- Common sense? Don’t know her. Like queueing, people are so self focused common sense goes out the window.
- Who’s polite? The basic answer is no one.
- *Sigh*… Did you just breathe? Did you really just breathe? Right infront of my salad? Memes aside, if you breathe, someone will probably try to kill you with a sharp eye-shot, a soft ‘accidental’ incident of standing on your foot or a swift knock of their backpack in your face. People are cruel and judgemental fro no apparent reason and apparently we just have to deal with that.
- Speaking of salad, my salad needs a seat more than you. Right, i’m not attacking people who put their bags on seats, because we all do, I do sometimes I must say. All i’m saying is you can’t in rush hour. You can see it’s packed and people are standing, so it’s just selfish. I don’t think I have some kind of undying right for a seat but as a disabled person, struggling and in a lot of pain, wearing a ‘please offer me a seat badge’ (again, not saying I have a divine right, but I do have it for a reason), you’d expect me not dislocating my hip would be more important than your salad box. Hell, regardless of whether people are disabled etc or not, if there’s a spare seat, you deserve to sit, and you’ve probably had a long day, so be kind.
So, I’m not saying my experience as a commuter was hell, but some people just angered me. Have a little common sense. Show some kindness. Heck, even just don’t be rude and that’s enough.
I’m definitely glad I have such ease travelling to my little shop everyday, but I definitely am glad to have had the experience as a commuter and would love to visit other shops again. I’m just glad normal mornings entail little stress.
Love always, Lauren xxx