Will Hudson* threw in the towel on his Alton Towers job after a rollercoaster of a first hour – which included eating stolen sandwiches, failing to prevent theft and getting accidentally spat on
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Being asked to lift a person and guess their weight during a workplace induction didn’t seem particularly relevant to my new job at Alton Towers. Yet as the only one of six newbies to refuse the request, I immediately became the outcast.
At this point – five minutes after arriving for my first shift with the carnival games team at the UK’s biggest theme park – I knew my days were numbered. I didn’t realise that number would be one.
I should note, my new female colleague was a happy and consenting participant. It clearly wasn’t the first time they had played, nor I suspect the last. Just a bit of friendly banter, apparently. But it felt inappropriate, so I politely declined, and we headed outside.
As a natural introvert, it became clear I had no business manning carnival games. When someone won a prize – by landing a ping pong ball on top of an open bottle – the requirement to repeatedly shout “WINNER” and ring a bell loud enough to warn for icebergs was only marginally preferable to pleading with punters not to steal prizes.
“I won – my ball is on that bottle!”
“Sir, I saw you step over the counter and place it on.”
“No, I didn’t. I won! Are you calling me a liar?”
“No, sir. But… please don’t step over the… please don’t take that… Oh.”
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Having failed to prevent three thefts in 45 minutes and delivered several underwhelming winner announcements, I was sent for an early lunch.
Perhaps a result of my earlier reluctance to join in, my carnival games kinsmen had not saved me a seat in the canteen. Introducing myself to a table of colleagues from elsewhere in the theme park, I was greeted with blank stares and one notably curious look towards my plate.
“Did no one tell you not to eat the sandwiches?”
This vague and unsettling warning was delivered with an inadvertent projection of spit that landed a little on the crust and a little on my hand.
I was done.
Calmly, I stood. I walked towards the canteen door and exited. I then sprinted through the Alton Towers car park like runaway bride, regretful of every decision that had led me there, leaving a trail of uniform strewn across the tarmac.
I got into my car and sped back down the A52 to Stoke-on-Trent. 17 missed calls later, I was back at my university accommodation. Having left for work only two hours earlier, there were surprisingly few questions from my disinterested housemates – more bothered about what Carol McGiffin had to say on ITV.
“Good first day?”
“Yeah, not bad. They wanted me to guess a girl’s weight. I was stolen from and spat at. And there is something wrong with the sandwiches.”
“You should quit.”
“I think I just have.”
And that is the story of my 45-minute career at Alton Towers. More money spent than earned on a lunch I didn’t eat and back in time for Loose Women.
*Will’s name has been changed.