Eighteen women and two men in the stockroom. The stockroom is large, but not huge. With 20 people it’s quite crowded. I would call it lively if it weren’t so quiet in there. People don’t talk to each other. They count. Pick a box from the shelf, take all the contents out of it then fill it again counting all the items (necklaces, bracelets, earrings or whatever the contents of the box). Write the counted number on a sticker, put the sticker on the box, put the box back on the shelf. Pick the next box from the shelf… I offered to help, but weren’t allowed to do it at the end – too expensive.
I need to ask something. I stand there between the shelves waiting till Pauline is ready with the box. She sees me and has to struggle to gain her concentration back. Pauline: ‘Forty three, forty four, forty five, forty six… forty six… forty six…’
Me: ‘Forty six.’
Iris (working next to Pauline): ‘Forty six.’
Nel (passing by): ‘Forty six.’
Pauline writes the number on a sticker and puts it on the box. Nel walks away. Iris starts a new box. I may ask the question now.