On being a part of a cartel


So by now we all know that mental computation is not my strong point.  So I must have completely taken leave of my senses when I agreed to start volunteering at the local High Schools canteen. For a start, it was nothing like a shift at the primary school, where one would just turn up and get to work. I had a list of can and cannot do’s to work through, according to Horatio.

I was not allowed to yell out “Yo Yo WASSUPPPPPP” when I spotted him or any of his mates. I was not allowed to speak to ANY of the girls whatsoever. I was not allowed to dab or insist that others dab before I served them. All of my fun things I had discussed with him were shut down. NOT EVEN A FIST BUMP! My outfit had to be approved. Once I promised to uphold the “family name” we were right to rock and roll.

Now this is not a small school. It is massive and there were six of us working the shift. I was delighted to discover they sold a fair amount of crap food so the whole shift cost me about $20, as I ate sausage rolls and garlic bread. And because Horatio would turn up with his posse and they are gorgeous teenaged boys with cheeky smiles, and how can one say no to that! There was also an incident involving a teacher who looked like she was about to burst into tears when I informed her that we had sold out of chicken rolls. I totally sympathised, thinking she had been teaching all day and the one thing that she was looking forward to, was snatched away from her. I placated her with some sushi instead.

Now the whole day reminded me of a story from my youth.

I was a teenage hustler. Let us begin.

At the age of twelve I was sent away to boarding school as my parents were intelligent human beings and could see that I was turning into a troubled youth. So they threw some money at the problem to make it disappear. I took to boarding like a duck to water as we had rather shady supervision. Oh the stories I could tell! And I do cover off quite a lot of it in my book Primary School Confidential, which you can order here. (if you would like to no pressure or anything, #justsaying)

Lumped in with thirty country kids, it was always a very exciting day when Mrs. Albert was on tuck-shop duty. Mrs. Albert was the mother of one of the day girls and a kinder, more lovely women you would not be likely to meet. Being boarders, we were often taken out by her and her family, or would have sleepovers at their place. Anyway, she always took pity on us, a lovely trait inn which we were only to happy to take advantage of. I would use the word exploit, but I think that it is a strong description with evil connotations.

Oh, who the fuck am I kidding here. It is the ONLY appropriate word. We exploited Mrs Albert in the following scam.

Ok, so the first girl would line up at the canteen with a fifty sent coin, making sure she was in Mrs. Alberts line. Once she reached the counter, said girl would hand over the money and request a Paddle Pop. Mrs Albert would fetch the icy treat, return to the counter and say…

“Oh don’t me silly! Put your money away…. It is my treat!”

So the girl would return to the group with the money AND the ice cream, only to hand it over to the next girl who would repeat the exact process.

“Oh don’t me silly! Put your money away…. It is my treat!”

Eventually, that one fifty cent coin would be offered to and refused by Mrs. Allen until we all had a Paddle Pop in our belly’s. We did this for YEARS. As I explained, I am crap at maths but I do know that each day she did her duty, she was out of pocket to the tune of $15. And now that I am on the other side of that counter, well I can see she must have known what was going on. Lovely Mrs. Albert.

Now, can we talk about what to do when a kid hands over a one hundred dollar bill for a meat pie?

Did you ever scam anyone?

And feel free to add your judgement about how this canteen sells Kit Kats! Everyone loves that debate! Isn’t it practically a federal offence these days?