Category Archives: Betting shop staff

Reducing my sleep overdraft!

Back in the ‘bad old days’ of the 80’s and 90’s, while managing a betting shop for William Hill, it was far from an unknown practice that on weeks when too many people were on holiday, off sick, or had simply left without being replaced, that we tended to be ‘offered’ the chance to work a 6 day week, with overtime payment. Yes, the term ‘offered’ was pretty much a case of ‘Do it, or else’, so…fine…

What occasionally happened to me, is that the lack of sleep, and non lack of stress related to this, would mean I would literally ‘flop’ on a Sunday, desiring sleep for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, or face violent headaches, and nausea. To be fair, it was usually the signs of those two things that had me heading to bed in the first place!

I might add, its not like I was working the modern day betting shop hours, as for most of my time there (just towards the end, opening for evening racing kicked in), we would open at 10.00, and be shut by 6.30, but it was tougher mentally back then, because all the settling was done by yourself, not by the till. For all the fuss about it now, I used to man that shop on my own each morning (except Saturday), though they were very different to shops now. But fine, this isnt about betting shop life, so…

What I’ve been doing during my training period for my new job, is getting up early, but going to bed about my normal time. So I guess I’ve been running up a sleep deficit, 5 days a week! Now, thankfully, apart from Saturday’s, I will be able to sleep a little longer, so all should be fine, but…

This morning was like my body reacting to the change, and I got that ghastly sleep deprivation feeling again. Unfortunately it didnt time it well, as it kicked in, just before I was going out to get my hair done! Somehow, with the aid of a couple of cups of coffee, and a lot of yawning, I got through, but felt shattered by the time I got home again.

So yes, just like the old days, I went to bed for a couple of hours during the day, and felt better for it! Hopefully its a one off, and my body doesnt think it can pull that trick again soon. Mind, it always seems to only be when I relax, so that might be why its never happened while at work? I hope so, anyway. I know, I’m getting old, but…

Yes, before you ask, I’m blonde again, all over. Irony is, if I would go a little grey, it wouldnt be so obvious that it wasnt natural, but…! Next thing I need to sort out is waxing, so give me a little time, and…

The video is a lesser known Ultravox track, which you could almost say I was doing earlier, in a non traditional sense!

One job I will never go back to

Given that I’ve now been out of work for over a year, with little or no joy job hunting, you would think that a job that in my life, I’ve done previously, for about 20 years as a manager (78-80 and 83-01), would be the perfect option? But I’ll be quite blunt, you wouldnt get me working in a betting shop again, for all the money in the world, let alone the minimum wages that cashiers get paid nowadays. Why? Because its changed out of all comprehension from the betting shops I worked in, and not for the better, as this article will show

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/31/big-gamble-dangerous-british-betting-shops

When I started out, back in the late 70’s, shops opened at 10.00 in the morning, Monday to Saturday, and some even, 10.15 during the week! Oh, and in winter, shut at 5.00, and 6.30 was the latest in summer. Now, most shops open at 8.00 in the morning (9.00 Sunday), and shut at 10.00 at night. Some, mainly in London, open earlier, and shut later than that!

Back then, we had people bet on horses, dogs, and football, and that was pretty much it. And that was horse racing in the UK, and Ireland, and Football was just the UK leagues. Even that was minimum trebles, and fivefolds for home wins, not singles like today, on just about every league in the world. OK, during winter, when the weather was bad, you’d get weird trotting racing from France, and Belgium, but that was it. Oh, and no live pictures back then, either.

Now, you get racing from all over the world, with US racing filling in, when there is no evening racing over here, and sometimes on top of that! You also get virtual computerised racing, all designed to take money off the punters. Well, the mug punters, anyway! Thats the other thing, back then, there were no exchanges, so no one was looking to arb (back, and lay a horse in a way, so you cant lose), so beyond the odd hot horse, you just took the bets with little concern back then. Nowadays, when most of your larger bets are only from people trying to arb, its a whole different business.

Ah, the thing you see mentioned in the article, the FOBT machines. In truth, when I left in 2001, we had recently experienced the introduction of fruit machines, and their jackpots, but that was it. But then in came the FOBT machines, and all those sparkling lights, and chances to win money, took punters eyes. Not for the better, as you can see from the article.

In truth, nowadays, betting shops arent betting shops, they’re amusement arcades, that take bets on the side. Given that there is no risk of losing money on the machines, but plenty on the horses, and sports, its not hard to work out what the bookies prefer to have punters using nowadays. Thing is, losing large sums of money to a machine, and the frustrations that brings about, make a new, worse kind of shop punter nowadays. Dangerous? Yes, many at least, judging by this article, I must say.

So no, please dont suggest to me that I should go back to working in betting shops, I like my life, and my sanity way too much for that, for minimum wages. And in truth, anyone with sense shouldnt want to work in them either, but some are brave, or crazy enough to do so, I guess?

The video, just a jaded comment about how things are in betting shops nowadays

Trying to preserve my sanity

Yes, I know, I missed one last night. Sorry, but health issues have got to me the last couple of days, and last night, about 8.15, I started to collapse with nervous exhaustion, so retired to bed. To be honest, it had all pretty much built up by Thursday evening, and I pretty much knew I’d had enough of the job. To say the company (I still refuse to divulge the name, though maybe I should, to stop others going to work there) dont believe in good customer service, would be a massive understatement. Yes, just the opposite seems the rule, in fact.

It got to the point, where, to avoid us giving any useful information to our clients, they took the system away from us. We werent allowed to give customers any information from it, we had to simply take messages, and call them back. Like a few others, I was not using it to give information to anyone, but as a means of checking I had the right case, I kept the screen up. Clearly we were still being too efficient for their liking, as the next day, they switched off our computers! All we could literally do was hope we had the right details. Seriously, this is not great customer service. That was exacerbated by the fact that despite the fact we were promising customers a call back, within a maximum of 24 hours, it was clear this wasnt happening on a regular basis, and many tended not to believe us, seemingly quite rightly.

After a day of sheer frustration doing this on Thursday, I’d pretty much had enough, and wondered if I wanted to bother going in on Friday. Ironically, having decided that I’d battle through to the weekend, and then make my decision, my body decided to step in. Lets just say Thursday night involved a few visits to the bathroom, and leave it at that. Despite this, I got up Friday morning, at my normal time, but quickly realised that was going to be a step too far. Exhaustion, a still far from happy stomach, and everything else, I retired back to bed, and slept for about 3 hours, until about 10.00.

Yesterday, for a while at least, I felt better. Then as I say, mid evening, I crashed completely about 8.30, went to bed, and slept for 12 hours straight, barring 1 brief visit to the bathroom. And yes, I still felt tired when I got up, despite that.

Today, I’ve realised one thing, if I go back, I’m probably going to kill someone, possibly myself, as my sanity is beaten up beyond belief. So, I’ve done one thing, I’ve emailed their HR department, telling them I wont be going back, and please just arrange to pay me for the hours I’ve done, and leave it at that. Yes, I’d heard what a lousy group of companies they were to work for, but its been beyond even my belief just how bad they are.

Oh, and for information sake, 2 others from my group had walked out, even before I left!

Oh, and the crowning moment? Well, yes, obviously, if I’d chosen the other option, and done the trial, as I should have done, I’d never have been through all this. Double irony, because of my stress, and stomach issues, I cant do the trial starting a week tomorrow, as my issues might affect the results! That was going to be my money get out, but now… Yes, I rang them Friday, as I knew by then that I really didnt want to go back, and wanted to get things started. Even knowing that, I cant go on with them.

So yes, today, I’ve gone back to sending in job applications, and hoping for a lucky break. I know, it might not be the wisest move overall, but for the sake of my sanity, it was one I had to make. I think I’ve got past bend, and was reaching break, and thats not a good thing. So…If anyone has a few spare pounds lol…

I’m not saying its bad, but when I’m looking at jobs in a betting shop, it has to be bad!

And yes, just think, right now, I could be resting up in a clinic, as a guinea pig, and the most stressful thing I would be doing is having blood samples taken. Boy, can I really mess things up!

Right, the video. I’ve gone and done what was written for me, in my heart, that I knew I had to do, for better, or worse.

Back to work!

Yes, this is the last day of my sanity break from work, its back to duty as from tomorrow morning. It has been lovely having a long break, 9 days in all (7 holiday, plus 2 days off for this week), but now I get 6 working days in a row, as ‘revenge’.

I’m going to take the vow of diplomatic silence as to the quality of calls I will be getting again as from tomorrow, but you can probably get my drift. No, I wont say more, I know some at work read this, and I have no idea who! But yes, most missions have been accomplished, presents are all sorted, story is written, and indeed sent off to my wonderful, and patient editor only a few minutes ago.

The dinner on Sunday was good, and with wonderful company. Yes, I braved the cold, and wore a dress. So popular that it was suggested I wore it to the theatre last night, so I did! Now that was cold when I came out, even with a coat on, and my back did briefly spasm, I assume related. Thankfully, it was just that one moment, been fine since, and hope it stays that way.

Given I’m in the UK, and not the US, my next big day is a week on Thursday, yes, the works Christmas Dinner really is that close now, eek! Thursday in the US, is Thanksgiving Day, but this year at least, its across the pond from me. After that, as far as I know, the next one after that is just under a month away, another date fast approaching. After that, who knows? I suspect middle of January, Nicole’s birthday. In fact, that week is my next week off, a mere 7 weeks away!

But for now, its back to work, answering calls from the shops, with queries and things.

So, this video just seemed rather apt, for what will be happening, just after 9.00 tomorrow morning

Oh no, not a month of football (soccer), aargh!

Warning, tongue in cheek posting lol!

Yes, this blog will be all about that boring football tournament that starts tomorrow, and goes on for the best part of a month. But dont run away screaming, this will be less than adoring of the game, and certainly any comments made on the teams etc will be far less than knowledgeable! So why do it, because I’m going to have put up with this rubbish for a month, so lets have some fun with it.

I know, I work in the betting industry, in a call centre, but that doesnt mean I enjoy every sport. Cricket, dont deny it, and Baseball and NFL, pretty much addicted as well. Others including Horse Racing, Snooker, Golf and Rugby League, I can take in reasonable sized chunks. But Football, or Soccer to my American friends, cant stand it. Possibly not helped by having to deal with shop staff in certain areas of the country (specifically Liverpool and Glasgow) who think everyone should be as keen on football as they seemingly are.

So no, before you ask tomorrow, we arent offering odds on how many times Gerrard spits on the pitch, or on which boot Rooney laces up first. Please, get a life, and use a braincell before ringing up and asking these truly idiotic questions. Equally we arent betting on how many of the team will actually sing the national anthem.

Some readers might think I’m being less than serious here, and granted, none of these have been asked… yet. But some equally inane questions, I’m afraid so!

Mind, the guys at work are just as bad at times with football. Yes, I can understand their need to have the pictures on a large screen, maybe 2, one at each end, but do we really need it on 6 screens out of 8. Yes, its happened before!

Right, rant over, be prepared to be entertained with some truly clueless previewing, from someone who knows little or nothing about the teams. Comments re favourites etc apply to my companies website, so might not follow everywhere.

Group A, not hard to see why Russia are favourites, their club teams have a decent record in Europe, though whether this is down to home born players, not a clue! I guess Poland are next in the betting because they are the home nation? But twist my arm, Czech Republic second team through

Group B, they arent top of the betting, but Holland for me. Would love to see the Germans go out (long standing thing for Brits), but suspect they might get past Portugal, and Ronaldo’s massive ego.

Group C next. Spain are a certainty to get through here, and before the latest scandal, Italy were certain to join them. I know, Ireland are in this group, but seriously, they arent that great. Neither are Croatia (as far as I know) but lets face it, there is a 50% chance Italy will implode totally, or they will be so resolute, they’ll beat Spain! Me, I fancy the former in all honesty.

Group D, which French team are turning up? The ones that would struggle to beat Guam reserves, or the ones who could beat Brazil? No idea, until they play lol! England will mess up against someone, just a matter of who, and if it matters. Ukraine (the other host team) being in this group makes it even more of a mess, so any guess who is going through.

Seriously, for the tournament, Spain are favourites for a good reason, judging by results. Twist my arm, Holland are my fancy, Russia if you want a bigger price are a bit of a dark horse, with a seemingly soft group. Therefore top scorer, Van Persie seems obvious.

But seriously, my best bet for the whole tournament, ignore it completely, and hope it all just goes away. Unlikely, but I’m entitled to a wish, arent I? Sadly I wont be able to avoid it at work, but certainly will at home.

Oh, the song. One of those songs by so called celebrities that the football fans go out and buy, just because its about football. My vote would be not to click on it, dont say you werent warned if you do!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd74Vx2u1R0