I don't like supermarkets, but I admire people who work in them. With the advent of 24 hour stores, I even suspect that the best time to work in a massive Asda or Tesco is overnight, when you can chat to your colleagues, stack the shelves, have pallet-trolley races* and leave the oddball drunkards to the beefy chap in the security guard's clobber.
As someone very much used to overnight work on the wireless, I accept that nightshifts are unnatural, irrespective of how much joy or fun the actual job might be. But I can't help but believe that, like the unwilling hotel owner who could run the place so smoothly if it weren't for all these guests getting in the way, supermarket employment is at its most stimulating and fun when there aren't these ludicrous customers blocking the aisles.
Anyway, I went into a big, customer-free Asda at 3.45am today and bought a bottle of dilute peach juice and a pack of ten rewritable CDs. I suspect the staff had hours of fun speculating why these items were so vital at such a crazy time of day.
*For the online PR bloke from Asda who searches blogs every day for references to his employers, can I point out that I've never seen pallet-trolley races in any of your stores. Even at 3.45am, I noticed no gossip, no tomfoolery, just conscientious staff working hard, and my words are merely speculative. There.