Life modelling, shot girls and helping men propose: Job horror stories
Ever cleaned up sick on your first day?
Most people’s worst job stories just involve being moaned at by their boss. But it can get much worse, from being violently punched behind the counter at McDonald’s to constantly fearing how art students are going to draw your private parts, we tracked down some of the worst workplace horror stories.
Getting leered over every night as a shot girl
Chloe Kenyon worked as a shot girl in Preston to pay her way through uni, but gave it up after six months.
She said: “We had creepy guys every single night. It was probably the worst thing about working there. The amount of sweaty, drunk guys that would grab you and think that was ok was ridiculous.
“I got a lot of marriage proposals and compliments, but when it’s coming from someone that can’t string a sentence together then it’s always creepy. It happened to all the shot girls unfortunately.”
It wasn’t all bad, and at the beginning Chloe was able to have some fun on the job.
She said: “Initially I was getting paid to drink, dance and hand out drinks, but that was banned after a few months. It was the customers and the busy nights that made the job hell and without alcohol to numb my senses, my feet began to really hurt and I wasn’t as able to ignore creepy customers.”
A normal day for Chloe would mean heading to work around 10pm and heading home several hours later.
“After a McDonalds breakfast wrap and with my minimum wage in my pocket, I’d usually end up home at about 5am and spend my day in bed.
“I’d recommend the job to anyone who has more than two hands, is capable of ignoring creepy comments and has the ability to run around in heels all night, but that’s it.”
Helping men to propose to their girlfriends
Cloe Barnes worked as a wedding proposal planner, meaning she helped men to pop the question – often in the most elaborate way possible.
She said: “The strangest proposal I ever did was in Regents Park. I went up to the unsuspecting girl and handed her a note asking her to get into a cab.
“When she got to the park there was a man serenading her with Yellow by Coldplay. She walked around the rose garden and there were pictures of her and her fiancee-to-be.
“The whole time I was hiding behind a tree. Loads of friends and family were involved pretending to read newspapers. There was a choir singing and everything.”
Worryingly, staff at the proposal company were never prepared for rejections and “maybe” answers.
Cloe said: “There was a 100 per cent yes success rate. I wouldn’t know what to do if there was ever a no.”
It sounds like a dream job for anyone who is an over-the-top romantic, but Cloe says the job has actually put her off grand proposals for life.
She said:”I’m not that mushy and I’m not even sure I even believe in marriage.
Life modelling in the nude
Most people wouldn’t dare getting their kit off in front of a crowded room, but Exeter grad Ben didn’t mind when he was short of money.
He said: “I always worried about getting a hard on, but all the students were elderly women with the odd old man so there was little chance of that happening.
“I never thought I would be paid to get naked, but I was short of money and applied for the job on a whim. I probably got it because all the other models are fat old women.
“I was paid over a tenner an hour and modelled nude once a week. I also sat for portraits, which involved sitting clothed on a chair for three hours.”
This doesn’t sound too bad, but Ben was encouraged to do tough poses which left him shaking and cramped up after standing in a single position for 20 minutes.
He said: “It was the mental strain which was worse. Keeping still and silent for 20 minutes locked in your own head can be tortuous.
“Thoughts circle and repeat, much like when you’re trying to sleep but can’t. It was strange feeling to be naked in front of strangers, then chat about the weather during the break.
“Being the literal centre of the room’s attention is both intrusive and weirdly reaffirming.”
Getting punched in McDonald’s
Nottingham student Gabby Ahmed worked at McDonald’s from the tender age of 16 and recalls getting punched and having food thrown at her on a regular basis.
She said: “On a night shift some drunk guy didn’t want to pay extra for sauce so decided to punch me in the face as a retaliation. I still had to work the next day too.
“Another time some girls came in at 4am and pushed in front of this massive looking gym guy, and he went mental.
“He started lashing out and punching the walls, then grabbed a till and just chucked it at us behind the counter. We had to shut the store and were cleaning up blood until dawn.”
Apart from a till, the worst thing Gabby had thrown at her was a strawberry milkshake after she started swapping badges with a co-worker to confuse the drunk customers.
The free food was a bonus, but Gabby eventually quit after the summer.
She said: “You’re supposed to give a week notice when you leave, but I got a new job so I sent them a really passive aggressive hand written letter. They didn’t call me back.”
Isolation and not understanding Polish on a farm
Sheffield grad Edie Hancock did manual labour on a farm during her summers away from uni, working alongside mostly non-English speaking workers.
She said: “The pay was good but there was a lot of heavy lifting involved and the only other people working there were polish so it was very lonely. There could’ve been a nuclear war and I’d have been the last to find out.”
With early starts and seed testing, life on a farm can be very boring, but it was the cultural divide Edie found most difficult to deal with as her co-workers barely said a word to her.
She added: “When it came to harvest we had to follow the combine harvesters round and collect grain and chaff got absolutely everywhere.
“I’m still picking straw out of my hoody 4 years on.”
Catering an army barracks party
Nottingham grad Josh Kaplan did temp work for a catering company, and recalls his worst experience serving at a wild army barracks Christmas party from 6pm to 6am.
“There was a subsidised bar and most of the alcohol was under a pound. Imagine 150 army guys all getting absolutely wasted, fights broke out and I even saw a guy knock his wife about on the dance floor – it was absolutely horrible.
“The boss was a old guy without a voicebox and had one of those plastic things that makes you speak like a robot. He had chronic halitosis and BO and was one of the nastiest people I’ve ever met.
“This guy threw away hundreds of portions of food and refused to feed any of the staff. He also refused to sign off on the work until we all confronted him.”
Sale season and wondering why people still shop at HMV
King’s student Sara Kamouni was sick of working at her parent’s restaurant in Gateshead and got a part-time job at HMV instead – but didn’t expect she’d spend her days getting shouted at by customers and deleting selfies off the iPads.
“A few days before Christmas we were selling some £70 tablets, which obviously sold like hot cakes. One particular customer came into the shop demanding one of these, but we were selling out constantly and had none left that day.
“Instead of just accepting that she was stupid for leaving her Christmas shopping so late, she called me a stupid little bitch and stormed out of the shop. I definitely remember crying to my mum about it at the time.”
The lesson Sara learned is that she should probably start being nicer to retail staff, because they’re mostly just students anyway.
She said: “I used to hate having to delete all of the selfies, naughty Google searches and rude notes off the iPads. It didn’t even take that long, it was just annoying.