Despite having been working at Woolworths for almost a month now, I still haven’t been given my own name. Unlike some shops where nametags are essentially made out of a bit of paper put inside a plastic case, Woolworths seem to have to specially engrave one in a top-secret time-consuming procedure.
So while we wait for my proper nametag to arrive, I have been told to use another male nametag from the drawer. Of course, I was to be given a male nametag because I am obviously not female. But the fact that I am obviously not Asian didn’t seem to put them off when they decided to make me Engin.
I had never heard the name before I worked at Woolworths, but inside Woolies it is a name I’ve heard a lot. Infact, on my first day on the tills (before I even had Engin as a name badge), I was asked, “Does Engin still work here?” At first I thought it sounded like it might be a Welsh name, but apparently the real Engin is Asian.
At first I found the whole thing quite funny, kind of poking fun at the whole need for sales assistants to wear name badges. But I have had to endure three or four weeks of the same old cracks. For instance: “Engin’s looking awfy peely-wally today.” Amusing the first time, boring the fifth time.
Of course, I also get loads of customers asking me how I say my name. I have to explain the whole situation, that my name is actually Duncan, I’m new here, I still haven’t got my nametag yet, this is somebody else’s nametag, but it’s pronounced /’É›n.É¡Éªn/.
This explanation doesn’t please everyone. Yesterday I had a group of boys who looked like they might be troublemakers but turned out just to be playfully cheeky. “What’s your name?” Once I had given my explanation the boy replied, “Your name’s engine, isn’t it?” About an hour later they came back, shouting, “Alright, engine?” on their way past me.
I should just say that my name is pronounced like ‘Duncan’, but I just use a really avant-garde spelling.
There is one plus point to it all though. If I get the mystery shopper and I mess it up by failing to ask him twenty questions about what he hasn’t bought, Engin gets the blame.
Means “vast” in Turkish.