When I was 16 I got a job working in Asda. It was my second job, I’d previously discovered that I was a terrible waiter so stacking shelves in a supermarket was quite appealing – I figured that I could work a couple of hours every weekend; never have to talk to any customers and enjoy listening to Asda’s very own radio station: Asda FM which broadcasts throughout every store in the UK. I was wrong about all of these points but only two of them are important to this story.
My first weekend working at Asda just happened to coincide with the release of Robbie Williams’ Greatest Hits album. In some kind of sick publicity campaign Asda FM decided to play this album back to back, every hour of every day for the entire weekend. This wouldn’t have caused a problem were it not for one thing – I got screwed over when I signed my contract with Asda. I was desperate for a job and agreed to work 20 hours every weekend, which is a lot for anybody, especially a teenage boy.
Even taking into account my 3 hours of breaks that weekend, I was subjected to Robbie Williams’ Greatest Hits (with a running time of 78:43) a ridiculous THIRTEEN times. I dare you to listen to that album thirteen times in a row without wanting to cut off your own ears. No wonder Robbie Williams suffers from clinical depression – his inner monologue is in that voice, over and over, forever. The poor guy.
There must be thousands of people who worked in Asda that weekend in October 2004. Did any of them notice the music? Did any of them share in my own personal hell? How are they now? I hope they’re okay. I don’t think I am.