Mall Work

I thought I'd let you all know what it's like working in an Icelandic shopping mall. Mostly terrible, you will not be surprised to hear! I mean, clearly I am unsuited to the service industry. I knew this before I started, as did all of you who know me, I'm sure. Looking on customers as irritations who have come to bother you right when you were in the middle of doing an experiment with the different teas is surely not the best attitude. I started off with better intentions, and to be honest there are people who I don't hate - it is a hundred percent to do with how they treat us. Sometimes people come in who are nice, polite and manage to interact with us without making it clear that they consider us inferior, and then you actually feel inclined to do things for them. Most of them seem to regard us as not quite real people, though, judging from their manners. Then you feel like you really don't want to do anything for them, but you still have to, and that kind of breeds resentment. 

There are many, many things which annoy me about the sort of people who have the audacity to come and try and buy things from us. Probably top of the list is: why do they need to take about fifty paper napkins, no matter what they are having? I manage to consume almost all of my food and drink simply by putting it my mouth instead of on other parts of myself or my surroundings. Everyone puts food on themselves sometimes. These things happen, I understand. But it's the exception, not the default. If you regularly require a fistful of serviettes every time you tackle a cup of coffee or a plate of salad, I don't know, it might be time to sign up for some sort of soup-eating course at your local community college. Fuck's sake, guys. I don't actually know why this irritates me so much - it's not like I'm paying for them. It just really gets on my nerves. 

I could write a lot more on the subject of annoying things about my job, but I'll save some for another time. Luckily, everything else in my life is pretty fantastic. I recently applied to do an MA in Translation Studies at the University of Iceland, so hopefully by the autumn I will be returning to the role in which I feel happiest - student! Being a real person is so over-rated. 


  1. Cooper, I remember MANY-a-trip to Vittels where you ended up wearing most of your sandwich.

    Ann x

  2. But since I went on that course, it's been mostly plain sailing!

  3. I think it's because you have too much time to think at this job. I hope you're at least going to the ice cream place on your breaks, or buying wool at Hagkaup, or anything else I would be jealous of.

  4. Translation studies? I think the world could use an English version of Halldór's Barn náttúrunnar...

  5. I don't think it's because I have too much time to think, I think it's because I hate people. I like thinking, they come along and ruin it wanting salad and that. I suppose it's kind of useful that you can just pop off to Bónus or Eymundsson or the Vínbúð if it's quiet, but otherwise I honestly would prefer never to set foot in Kringlan.

    If I manage to make it as a translator I can work alone, all alone, and only speak to people I actually like. It's going to be amazing. Mávahlátur is top of my list of books I would like to bring to the English-speaking world - think I'd need to work up to Laxness.

    N.B. I like my co-workers a lot! It is lovely having coffee and conversations with them when the people leave us alone. And bitching about the customers together certainly helps me stay sane.

  6. Welcome back. After your report that you were caught in a blizzard, and then nothing for two weeks, we were rather afraid that you might have gone "Under the Glacier". You seem to have enough difficult characters on your plate as it is. Anyone who ever waited on tables knows how you feel. Thank you for the summer pics of Reykjavík, it's good to be reminded that sometimes the weather can actually clear up.
    Rock on.
    F16 Landing Gear