The Worst Job in The World

It’s strange how many conversations I’ve overheard or been a part of, where “who’s got the worse job” has been argued relentlessly. Who claims that pub title and with it some sort of ridiculous mutual respect due to enduring worse than others. In the past I have no shame in saying I was a bin-man, and that usually beat other competition convincingly. I joined the council expecting the rock n roll lifestyle as is portrayed in film, yet this was surprisingly not the case. It’s still not the worst job for me. Oh No. Working in a book-makers was by far.

The bookies is a greedy, evil, and sad place. One that fills you with false hope and promise, takes away more than just your whole months wage, and then kicks you out at 9:55pm. For two years I worked in one, and for two years I saw the same pattern over and over again. A pattern that drove grown men and women into fits of rage and later tears. Addiction. Yet for some reason it’s never received the same level of attention as drugs or alcohol.

Next month is pivotal in the battle against this cancer that plagues high street upon high street. The government have wisely announced as of next month the FOBT machines (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals) will have their £100 limit slashed to just £2 a spin. I myself believe this could come no sooner.

The amount of people I saw lose month’s wages, bus fare’s home, even rent, on those merciless machines was quite honestly upsetting. More so because it was company policy that all we could do in that situation was ask “are you comfortable with the amount you’re currently spending” stopping the machine for them was strictly not an option. A bloke that’s just lost £2000 in an hour and you want me to lead with that? I’d rather not have a stool wrapped around my head thanks. 

I can’t help but feel for my ex colleagues. William Hill announced a £720 million loss for last year after this new rule was given the go ahead, and I expect many other betting companies will suffer similar fates. Jobs will certainly be cut, and stores will definitely be closed. For William Hill alone 900 shops are expected to close, that employs 4500 or so employees. Those that work there simply to get by will be the ones to suffer, and likely not be compensated anywhere near enough, if at all. 

Not everyone was a big gambler. Those that bet small were in-fact usually the worst behaved. The amount of times I was called the C word because BMI Bill couldn’t approach the counter in time to place a last minute 50p each way on a virtual was decisively high, and no I don’t mean ‘Cretin’. 

It was by no means a dull place to work. Oh dear lord no. We had multiple fraudsters that came in, ambiguous betting, slow counting etc. We had gangs come in and use fake notes in the machines. Once even, whilst on a cigarette break, I got thrown through our own doorway by some delightful soul, and as of 28/03/19 I’m still yet to see “danger of being rugby tackled” on a fag pack. 

I honestly hope the bookies don’t find a loophole around this restriction, such as offering a £100 promotion on a coupon that can later be transferred to machines. I would honestly not be surprised. Gamblers won’t change overnight because of this either, you think addicts care what they gamble on? Do me a favour. The buzz isn’t winning, it’s waiting in total purgatory, wishing, praying, and often shouting for either a number or a horse to come in. 

The worst effected I thought, were those that came in with notepads and pens, thinking they could spot the pattern in a random spinning game, and it’s this type of delusion that these machines cause. The term “crack cocaine gambling” could not be more accurate. Some people just cannot walk away, the next spin will always be the winner, they’re certain of it. It should certainly be treated the exact same as alcohol and drug abuse. Without a doubt. Unlike drugs it’s legal, and unlike alcohol it doesn’t ruin your body, so it’s just fine is it? Not a chance. 

That is why, for me, it was undoubtedly, and unquestionably, the worst job I’ve ever had. 

My Worst Job