Living was sucking the life out of me.
The year was 1981 and I can honestly say these eight months working in Coles/Target supermarket were one of the most tiresome months of my existence. And yet somehow, I found myself somewhere within this mixed-up life I had created. I was dragging myself out of the bubble of control my partner had on me, and I craved for something better. I started looking at men again and found a couple of acquaintances I daydreamed about. One I could never understand with his accent and the other was a visitor we often had to the store, a work associate. The idea of a gallant knight to take me away from all this set me on a whole other path. And, although nothing would ever happen between me and them, I was proud for once my standards had lifted and knew for sure Mr. Unpredictable days were numbered. I was learning and developing at work, but at home it was stagnant. How was I going to break free from the clutches of a partner with the enormous problems he carried? It felt good to stop blaming myself for all his issues. They were no longer my responsibility.
The final straw for me was when he and his co-conspirator took someone home from a party who was drunk and causing issues mouthing off. They promised me they wouldn’t hurt him, just drop him off at home and come straight back. I had been drinking and couldn’t do it myself. The next day the dude they took home was seen and someone had done a real number on him. There was talk that his rifles went missing from his home. As usual, Mr. Unpredictable had nothing to do with it but without proof, finding the guns, or something, I could do nothing about it. But in my mind, I acted. I was going to dig myself out of this toxic relationship, although the how I hadn’t worked out yet. The vicious mug would come for me wherever I went. I could imagine the door being knocked down and me ending up like that poor guy they took home, or worse. I shuddered. Did nothing. Went to work and said what a great weekend I had, not!
I didn’t know there was a name for his narcissistic behaviour back then. I just called him every name under the sun, under my breath. Then after a few days of him, being Mr. Perfect again, I wondered if I was the abnormal one thinking bad things about him as the two of them convinced me it was someone else; he was fine when they dropped him off.
Coles/Target had been a challenge. I was right the first time I saw the department. It was too big and would need more staff to run it if I was to introduce my style of layout. It became even more intricate because I had a supportive and forward-thinking 2IC. We both worked hard to have the deli case looking fresh and faultless every day. Maybell was just as fussy as me.
Unable to have staff to serve, there were times we had to let cleaning or displays suffer. Although I can’t fault Garth as our manager. He would come behind the case on busy days and help us serve. The guy was a natural with the customers and me and Maybell kind of enjoyed the show. The customers loved him. I think by then Maybell kind of loved him too. A lot. But the normal running of the department was tiresome for me with all that I had going on at home.
There was more to my life than I can include. Not only my private life, but there were family issues breaking my heart, too. However, this is not a memoir of my family or his. Let’s just say I had my days where it got hard, harder than I care to mention. But this memoir is about me as a deli girl and how I coped as a woman, mother, and wife while having a career.
So, back to the work-related issue. On top of Mr. Unpredictable unpredictability, I had attracted a party bunch of go-getters from work and my life was spiralling out of control. Most days I wanted out of my marriage, my job, and to run from all that wore down my normal fit, energetic persona. I was burnt out, and living here was sucking the life out of me.
Then it happened, a twist of fate.
I was invited to work with the supermarket opening team in a country store. It was the break I needed to get away from everything and re-boot my love of Deli and my life at Wodonga. I don’t know who Mr. Unpredictable was having an affair with but seemed so happy for me to go; I guess to sow his wild oats while I was away. This was so not like him and knew he was up to something. My daughter was getting looked after and we had great neighbours. Knew, my little miss independent would be fine. She was seven going on seventeen.
Work allowed me to go as it was a request by head office and with Mr. Unpredictable’s blessing, I ran! Didn’t look back for one second, except to wonder how my daughter was. It crossed my mind her father would play the sympathy card with her and everyone around him. Act upset and go on about how his wife just took off and didn’t give a dam about her daughter. Oh yes, he would have got a lot of mileage out of that. Such a good husband, they would say. She doesn’t deserve you! Others would console him.
You can imagine it too, can’t you? Now, knowing the secrets, I hold.
It might have been Shepparton. My memory of the actual store opening location is vague and you will understand why I put it out of my memory as you read on.
I arrived in the store and from the moment I got there I worked my buns off. Side by side with the relief manager for Delis in Victoria. She was fast, took no crap, and with much to forget about back home. I matched her speed and allowed my worries to dissolve. By the end of the next day, I was having the time of my life. No decision, just doing what came next.
If I didn’t know how to spit chickens quickly before, I sure did now. One load was taken off, the next went straight on. I had never seen so many chooks cooked and sold. She was the speediest chicken lady at taking them off too, and I learned the way she showed me could cause an accident. You see, she never turned off the motor to pull each loaded rod out. Just reached in with oven-proof gloves on and yanked the rod to the left to release one end and pulled it out. The rest of the rods kept turning and cooking. She had them unload and re-loaded in no time. But one morning her hand slipped, and she yelled for me to turn the motor off as the boiling hot rod was not only burning her hands holding it too long but if it fell, all the chooks would be a piled-up mess. I ducked beside her and I hit the switch. At the same time, she got the rod out and it speared into my throat. Wow, did it burn like a bitch? Still have the scar forty years later. But she was devastated, so I didn’t make a fuss. We were always burning or cutting ourselves in the deli. My arms looked like Zorro from my Rotisserie in Wodonga. It wasn’t long after that they brought in long-sleeved gloves. Must have reassessed the entire operation after that accident.
For the life of me, I do not know what I did to deserve it, but her boss, the state manager for Delis, told me he was looking for a second person to join the Deli opening team. He said if I was interested in living in Melbourne; the job was mine. Really! I was in shock. I guess all that hard work I just put in had paid off. Yet I was not looking for a reward. I was merely happy being away from all my woes at home. This was therapy for me: I was loving it.
As it was my last night, and to thank me for my help and to celebrate my proposed new job, I was taken out for dinner with the opening team. I was worn out and easily got absolutely smashed. I had dreamed of this job since meeting the previous relieving Deli manager for Victoria (they didn’t have a title back then) and I was on cloud nine and happier than I had ever felt.
That night I did what any drunk, foolishly abused woman would do when let off her leash. I wound up in someone else’s bed. Ops. He had flirted with me for months and in my drunken state I went back to his room to have coffee. And with all the attention of someone I had put up on a pedestal, fell for his advances and believed he was to be my saviour. Saw him as the man I had been waiting for to take me away from all the pains of my home life. He complained his marriage was over too. Stupid for me to believe that line. But to have a man swoon over me with whispers so sweet, I was on cloud nine. And the more I drank, the easier it got to think he might really be the one. While being wooed by this professional suit, I forgot who I was and about the morals I held dear. But OMG. What a wasted indiscretion. For a married man, he did not know how to please a woman, and it was over before it started. Was wham-bam! thank you, mame. I sobered while ushered out of his room before anyone saw me and made to feel dirty.
To make matters worse, he ignored me the next day, which ruined my entire time there, and the offer to work in supervision went cold on my lips. I was a bigger mess now than I was before I left and shed a lot of tears as I drove home after keeping my chin up and saying goodbye. I had been used by him, burnt by her (my neck still red and sore), and did not even get a bonus for my trouble.
My marriage was over, had been for a long time for me, so it was not my indiscretion that bothered me, but I walked back in the door, a hypocrite. Was no better than he was. Got drunk and allowed a grub to enter my private space. That would never happen again. Not something I could do a second time and think was okay. It was a hard lesson to learn. I thought what Mr. Unpredictable did to me must have been so easy, but not for me. I had to live with the shame privately as suit said I must never mention it to anyone, or we would both lose our jobs. First time I kept a secret about myself. Felt weird.
The worst of it, when I have too much to drink, I remember every detail of my drunken stupor. For the first time, I wished to be like him, Mr. Unpredictable… and forget!
Big Smoke, here I come.
At home, my bum had only just hit the chair with a cuppa when Mr. Unpredictable tells me his mate, he had been tiling with had offered him a job in Melbourne, and was going to take it. Thought there was something weird about him letting me go away for the week. He was planning to leave. But not! Still wanted to come back here fortnightly on weekends. His plan was to have his cake and eat it too. Wanted me to stay here like a good little wife and keep the fire burning until he returned. Good lord, this guy could not be more wrong about that future he was dreaming of. He most likely had another love interest who lived there. Time to rock his boat and turn this party into something that suited me. I mean, he must be kidding thinking I would keep a door open for him. Not end it. Really!
Remember, I am tough thinking but saying it in words is a high risk, dangerous even. So, my mind is travelling at the speed of lightening while I intently look ahead at the program on TV. At the same time, I watch my facial expression as that could set him off quicker than the snap of a finger. But seriously, fate work in mysterious ways. Even though I was cross he had not discussed this with me first, I kept those emotions in check. He had no idea he was for once doing something that would benefit me. I had no intentions of mentioning or taking on my job offer. Mostly because I was not sure if I could start-up in a new city, broke, and by myself. How could I leave my daughter? Knew that was a certainty if I left. But with this revelation, maybe it was meant to be.
I had a choice here, swallowed my pride and ignore what happened between me and the suit, or let it ruin my chance of such a noble job offer. I took advantage of my lucky break and shared with him my job offer.
Did that shock him? You bet. He sat there with eyes like saucers. Although it did not take long for him to recover and see dollar signs.
“With all the extra money we should be able to afford something nice.” That idea at least seemed to brighten his mood.
“They didn’t mention a pay rise, but if I am to work as hard as we just did, I imagine there should be some compensation,” I assured him.
He scoffed at it, “of course they will pay you well.” He got busy planning the move for us now, he didn’t need to help support us anymore. All his money could now be for booze and smokes.
All that was left was to pluck up the courage and ask Garth for a transfer to Melbourne. The Fresh foods State Manager asked me to keep the position quiet. Not tell anyone what job I had been offered. I was to put in for a transfer and they would take it from there. After my store manager had been told officially, then I could tell my friends. I felt bad I could not tell Garth what I would be doing. Wished I could have had someone knowledgeable like him to ask what I was getting myself into. But as always, I did as instructed, and as predicted, Garth was not impressed.
“You may have to go back to an assistant.” His eyebrows pulled in tight. “Those managers in Melbourne are in the big league, speak different languages. You need to think about what you’re giving up here.”
I knew it was him trying to stop me from doing something stupid. I had been a deli girl in three stores with him and he had helped shape and develop me into the manager I had become. This promotion was a credit to him and knew he would feel proud just a tad once he had time to think about it.
I was going to miss him and his love, Maybell.
My new job started with a WTF.
We moved into an upstairs unit with security doors. Bit posh for us. It was across from the Caulfield race track with Chadstone Shopping Centre just up the road. This the reason I was sent there first. It would be my base store. Somewhere to pick up my mail, etc. I didn’t know what my job entailed when I arrived at the store.
I hadn’t received any instructions or a pay rise, but I received petrol money. As a relief manager, my pay went from a weekly wage to salary and seemed to be less. But petrol money was my saviour. Not that I cared. This was the dream job and whatever it took, I’d try my best to keep up with what they expected. And to tell you the truth, I put little worth in my abilities. So no extra pay suited me. What’s the old saying, you pay peanuts you get monkeys. At least they couldn’t expect much out of me. Still, they must have seen something in me so hoped that side of it got sorted out later. There were many others they could have chosen. I was only 24 and had about two years of experience in the deli. I shrugged. I could only do my best.
So, here I am, standing behind the deli at Chadstone, staring at the Deli supervisor who had popped in to see how I was doing. His face screwed up, not liking the look of the Deli. He called me to the front. “What’s going on. That’s not like you to have such poor presentation. Are you not well?”
I stared at him. “I don’t understand what I am meant to do. You haven’t told me and this deli manager isn’t budging with any changes I have suggested.”
He walked off, looked cross. I got the instinct impression he was also not happy I took on this job. I guess he wasn’t one of the opening crew who voted me in.
In the meantime, he and the lady I worked with at the opening who speared my throat, came back to the department together. She looked flustered and annoyed as she stomped behind the case and worked. She pulled out a couple of trays of frankfurt that had gone sweaty overnight and the entire time bitched to me what a useless deli manager she was. She marched upstairs to tell the store manager that the deli manager wasn’t rotating her stock in the cool room.
Her behaviour was uncalled for and I felt embarrassed I was associated with her. And felt let down by deli manager who had intimidated me into thinking I was too young for the job and didn’t know what I was doing. But I wouldn’t have left slimy franks in the case had I have known they were there. (These days I can tell by looking, back then I had to feel). And she wouldn’t let me anywhere near the food. Now I knew why. She sure fooled me. A lesson I only needed to learn once. Understood why she had me cleaning for two days. Should have clicked she wasn’t that good if her prep area was so filthy. Mostly I was up on the benches to reach and clean the tiles on the back walls. With all the built-up grease from the rotisserie, they were stained brown from roof to floor. Sparkling white once I finished.
I had to stop second-guessing and not let another deli manager get away with being mean to hide their flaws. Or I may not keep my job, never mind try to save theirs. Although I was sure there must be a kinder way to do it than act so bold and heartless as my new work associate had just done.
The supervisor finally came back and called me out to the front of the case.
“I don’t understand what you want me to do. Am I to do what she does.” I wasn’t thrilled about that carry on. Frank’s were still sitting on the backbench and she hadn’t come back to action it or explain to the manageress why she had pulled them out. I was a bit shaken by it all. I had never experienced such an iron fist approach.
He eyed me with amusement. “Your such a country girl. You needed to see how to shake them up. Get them to do as you ask. This manager would have kept fighting your ideas otherwise. She will listen now.”
“Listen to what? I still don’t get what you want. I’ve cleaned my arse off for two days. Surely I have achieved something? It’s spick and span and even the tiles are white again.”
He shook his head. “What I want is for you to put your deli in every store in Melbourne.” He folded his arms. “Not just clean. Can you do that?”
“Fine! But I will never be her. That’s just mean.” I walked off.
“One more thing before you get started. You’re it, your equal has put in her resignation.”
“Really, why? Is she alright? I noticed she never came back. Is that why?”
“Keep this between us. But she doesn’t like the new state manager who is taking over from her boss. They know each other and she doesn’t think she can work with him. In fact, we all have new appointments coming up so you’re on your own. Just give us your deli and you will do okay.”
He turned and strode off, leaving me with my mouth still wide open. “Omg, what!”
He was right. It was a chain of changes. Within a couple of weeks, he and many I had met, plus the state manager for Deli were all promoted to new positions. Not sure where the relief deli manager went, but she did really resigned. I was on my own with only those few minutes of training by her.
Bring on the new chain of command.
My new boss had started, but I was yet to meet him. I kept busy as I was sent to different stores to put out fires. Many were of a poor standard, like Chadstone. Most had outdated equipment and no real routines of any kind were in place. I could see how I was snapped up. These small 6 ft and 8 ft deli’s I was getting sent to, needed a lot of love. Not only did I have to fix the presentation but cleanliness and ordering was a genuine issue. This was becoming hard work and I wondered if my title should have been changed to “Coles deli detailer” because I sure cleaned a lot of coolrooms and prep areas for them in the coming months.
Saving the budget
I had been in the new job only a short few months when our state manager, Mr. Taylor, took over as state manager for fresh foods. I was called into the office to meet him and a couple of days after; he asked me to meet him in a store. He had looked over the paperwork side of the business and said we were in trouble. Was worried we wouldn’t making budget if I didn’t get the sales up for him. He wanted me to choose one product and put in a full run-through. I asked what was the bestseller, and he suggested a ham as the price was higher. This meant more dollar turnover with each sale. It was up to me which ham I displayed, but it had sing.
Chadstone was the pilot store used and Virginian ham was the chosen product. I felt it was an easier ham to slice for the deli staff as it had less fat. Plus, it was on special that week. The Deli manager freaked out when I opened it up to not one run-through but two. (She had been lucky to sell a couple of rolls of it a week at that stage.) Wasn’t behind it at all but I promised head office would refund any loss so she let me play.
I set the auto slicer to stop at 5 slices and put it on a shingle setting, which none of them were using. (All meats were in stacks back then.) While that sliced I cut some of our greaseproof paper we used to serve meats on and as the layers were automatically sliced, I’d slip a piece of paper between them and the next five sliced. My idea was to have customers buy the ham by the sheet. Not just a couple of slices at a time. But the paper was scrapped as an idea because of a poor expense budget. Also the paper was visible and didn’t look great.
But the layers were approved by my new boss, Mr. Taylor.
The sales in the next couple of days had us sell out of the ham and a special order was rushed in. Each store I implemented the layered ham, it was successful.
In early 1982 we had implemented the Virginian ham concept in every store but some didn’t believe they had room and that was where I came in. Running around each store in Victoria checking it had been implemented and if not, I was asked to go in and fit it into their layouts. I found most were not only stubborn deli people but their store managers weren’t interested in the department and certainly not interested in listening to a young female (me). They could be quite rude and cutting with their comments. (It was a bit of a thing back then with old school managers.)
It was the last straw for me after I had just driven four hours and arrived at the same time as two of the other fresh team. We stood together talking to the manager; he invited the two men up for coffee and turned to me. “If you want to go behind the case, you will need an apron and hat. (Like I didn’t know that). The Deli manager should be back from her break by now if you want to go down and introduce yourself.”
I wasn’t invited for coffee obviously.
He turned away and started walking up to his office with the two guys in tow. All chatting and laughing. At lunchtime, the grocery manager went around and asked the department heads and the other two men from our office what they wanted for lunch and I was left out. Again.
After I finished what I had to do three hours later, with still no offer for even a coffee, I walked out and called my boss. On my way home recited over and over in my head what I would say when I resigned the following day at our fortnightly meeting. I was over the double standards and treatment from the many stores like this one. Was painfully aware my ride in this job, although short-lived at this stage, was over. No way was I continuing to work so hard for peanuts in this abusive environment.
I was not expecting what came next. When I arrived I got a handshake and congratulated on my new promotion as the new “State Delicatessen Merchandise Manager-Victoria.”
They had made up a brand new title and not because of what had just happened in the store. Although it was perfect timing. This had been planned for weeks for the Virginian ham initiative that brought the state home in sales and profits. However, my boss did mention they were sending out confirmation of the appointment to ensure I was now listened to with title and pay which set me in high esteem when visiting stores from that day forward.
Did I resign, hell no! didn’t even mention it? <proud chuckle>
During the early 80s, we also had some big competition with the opening of Cut Price Deli and Snow Delis. Never had we had such competitive players enter the market place who took positioned in the ideal location, just outside most of our supermarket. The race was on and if our department within these complex’s was not up to scratch, the sales sadly dropped. I had to think quickly, and this was the reason for giving our major weekly special maximum facings. I continually monitored what they had and what we could do better.
Being out in the mall, they could not have baskets or rails at the front of their case, and it was another area we could improve. We loaded up the Deli with impulse lines. Any shelf-stable, co-related, and shelf-stable items able to be kept out of refrigeration. For short, or long periods of time.
Cheeses and salamis were cut or displayed whole by the pallet loads and sold in self-serve fridges (where we could gain some space), or from big cane baskets at the front of the case. The bottom of the basket had a dummy in it, so not much went out at a time. The turnover so high it never sat for long. And lucky for us in this moment in time, the directive back from the health department was 6 hours out of refrigeration. So abided by the health laws we rotated frequently.
Back then we didn’t have suppliers to cut and packed our cheese, we did it all by hand. We were selling up to 50 of the 20kg blocks of tasty cheese each week in our big stores. And there were many other varieties prepared the same way. It was hard work and many of us damaged our backs with this manual labour but that was the 80s. The 20kg blocks were tossed up on the bench, unpacked, unwrapped, and cut with a wire. After, each individual piece was wrapped and priced before getting refrigerated back in their boxes until required.
We loaded up the salami rails and until we had them taken away; they proved a worthy selling point.
Same with the top of our cases, we would place five trays on top of the case with shelf-stable items that sold quickly.
Felt we were gaining market positioning in these areas as our competition could not utilise the outer area of their counters because of theft. We placed high dividers on each side of our top five promotions. Broken up along the inside in the refrigerated case. And stacked to the roof so they would stand out.
I had been in the job for just over a year when my old bomb died, and I had to purchase a new car. I was told women in Coles were not given vehicles, so wasn’t holding my breath to ever get one.
So here I am with a new car, just three weeks old, and getting called in to see the General Manager. Eeek. What did the top man want with me, a little deli girl? Hoped I didn’t lose my job after signing up for five years for this car. That was my only thought.
When I walked in, he came around to my side of the desk and shook my hand. “Glad you could make it. I hear you are a remarkably busy lady.” he smiled.
Wow, seriously! I was stoked.
“Have a seat.” He sat back in his chair and chatted to me like I was a regular person, finally telling me why I was there. I walked out with the biggest smile ever.
I had just been promoted to “State Delicatessen Specialist- Victoria” and given a company car and phone.
Paying for a car that sits in the driveway was a waste?
But it was also security for me if I ever lost this job. Well, that was the plan.
It was my 26th birthday, and I had been doing an opening out at Brunswick. The deli department had got together and bought me flowers and a gift. It was around 11 pm when I pulled up to a frantic babysitter.
“Why are you still here?” I asked, standing there with my flowers and a big smile. I had enjoyed my birthday. Maybe she had stayed to give me a gift. But looked too worried, so stopped smiling and walked with her as she talked.
“He’s Okay so don’t freak out, but I stayed just in case he wasn’t.”
‘Why what happened?”
“He had an accident and his car is a right off.”
“Seriously. Shit, I hope he’s alright.” I took the stairs two at a time.
“He had been drinking and got charged,” she straightened her skirt as we walked. She had a habit of doing this.
More pressure added to my day. Now I’m having to drop him off at his work at 6 am before I go to my work. He had to find a lift home, as he always finished hours before me.
I was his taxi on weekends, dropping him off at his boss’s place so they could play golf and whatever else they did and would pick him up late on Sunday night. When he got his license back guess who took the car that I still paid for.
Yes, I think I had the patience of a saint now I look back at it.
New “deli girl” to join our team.
Sales kept growing, and eventually, we opened up a store in Doncaster. It was only a small 24 ft case and somehow pulled a whopping big $93,000.00. For that size case, it hadn’t been done before. We were literally standing on crates and handing out cartons of bacon and chicken fillets to those wanting a good deal. No one could get near the case to look at it. There were so many customers we got hit bad. So, I worked 18-hour days that week and what a reward. Never thought our little deli’s would reach that amount.
Actually, it was here doing this opening where I met Marsha. She was young, four or five years younger than me if I remember correctly, but you couldn’t tell. Far beyond her years and yet worked with me side by side every day. Staying with me until 11 pm on some nights. (I always made sure the case was full and ready for the next morning before leaving.) I had been searching for someone to help me with the state, as it had got too big for just me. After asking if she was interested in working with me all the time, she jumped at the chance. She had been in Deli since a young teenager and it turned out this was her dream job, too. She was who I wanted.
“She is too young.” Mr. Taylor scowled at my choice.
“You told me I could pick anyone I wanted. I want her!” I insisted.
He came back twice to reason with me and I said it’s her or no one. He knew I needed help so made it happen. He was a good man. Knew he would work out a way. So she got the job and was given the same wage as me and got a car, too. I was stoked they had given her the same. This wasn’t an easy job, and it had taken me a long time to find the right person with the right temperament for the job. I didn’t want to lose her because she wasn’t getting looked after.
We halved the state but still did openings together. That was of course if we didn’t have a remodel or opening of our own. Marsha was the best partner in crime🤭😃I could have ever wished for. Not only did we work well together, but after 40 years she continues to be my best friend. And is also one of my lovely readers who has encouraged me to keep writing this blog.
And although I will keep our working career together private, I can say this; we worked hard accomplishing over a hundred openings and remodels, together, and over the next couple of years became best friends in and out of the workplace. And although at the openings, none of us got much sleeping, I can honestly say there wasn’t any sleeping around going on by anyone either. Not in our circle. Well, not that I saw. It wasn’t like that for us. The men were good people who shaped my mind and taught me what I should look for in a man. They loved their wives and showed me not all men were sleazy. Many were genuinely great blokes who captured my full respect. The sleazy ones I came across I knew straight away how to handle. I was married to the best of the best and he had taught me well how to avoid without causing confrontation or conflict.
As for Marsha and those I worked closely with weekly, they sure were made of superior stuff and never let me down. Not once. We treat each other as equals and we were. Worked just as hard as each other and laughed and had fun together after the day was done. We were a different breed to the previous opening Delicatessen team. In jest, we hung it on each other until our gut hurt from laughter and the joking banter didn’t end until we said our goodbyes until the next time we worked together. We were as tight as an opening crew could be. There was strong mateship unlike I have ever had or will have again. My other memories, therefore, I will keep close to my heart, but if I am ever with any of them, we memorise the hell out of them and every detail is like it was only yesterday. My friends who read this will know who they are. And just for a moment, I take pride to say thanks to you all for the memories. Love you guys.
Thanks for stopping by and following my journey as the Deli Girl. If you are enjoying the ride, I welcome comments below.
Until next time, join me when I share how my working career with Coles ends abruptly and the ugly truth, how and why?