My summer working in the family business on Corfu

Keys to the mini market and white striking

on October 3, 2012

Maria, my mother in law, (the matriarch of this, my Big Fat Greek Family minimarket/restaurant/beach bar/car park complex here on Corfu) may seem occasionally docile (with occasional lashings of lettuce box throwing anger), but be not fooled.

She is owner of some of the best quotes of my time here – let us remember….

Regarding her hair dying while wearing a yellow or indeed blue plastic bag on her head – “What bag?”

Regarding her husband, my father in law – “Every day is a new cancer”.

Regarding me – “You whores, (including my sister in law here) – you came and ate my life”.

I love her for her attitude, her smiling through adversity, her hypocrisy, but above all for her quotes. I also admire her efforts to thwart independence and thievery from her otherwise underpaid children.

She has lately, and not stupidly, started to hide the keys to the mini market (when it’s closed) from their usual position of a little bowl by a door in the restaurant. I suspect this is down to me. Yes, it’s true, I am the greatest thief of the mini market. I think she might have caught on. And so we come full circle. I started working in the mini market. I am now working in the bar to bide my time, but the mini market was the theme originally of this blog and has been my greatest source of snacks by theft.

I asked Prokopis, my brother in law, at the beginning of my mini market induction, “How do you deal with thieves?” Then, I laughed, as for years, among all other family members, I acknowledged I am one of the greatest.

I am not alone in my mini market thievery, please. Prokopis, my brother in law, and indeed my partner Jimmy, all rob from the mini market after hours. We take home, for the most, such goods as, (hold your breath), coca cola, an occasional can of beer, and croissants. I’m telling you, grand theft auto, that ridiculous playstation game has nothing on us. I’ve also been known to steal Haribo gummi bears like they were going out of style. I pass them round to acquaintances like a drug dealer. I consider it a personal perk of the job working for the family business…

“What do you need? I can get you liquorice wheels or perhaps some fizzy fruit berries?”


So, Maria has started hiding the keys to the shop when it’s closed. I suspect they are under her mattress, along with the profits from every other aspect of the business. (I would really love to get my hands on that mattress were I given half the chance).

We have, at this, the tail end of the donkey (getting to the tip), a member of staff not previously mentioned working in the restaurant. His name is Nikos. He is a waiter. He’s young, bright, dramatically underpaid for his time, and observant. I’ve been moaning even more than usual (unfortunately for him) since his arrival. He suggested that we strike. (His English is very good). I suggested that that might be a good idea but we wouldn’t get paid. There are no Unions for the kind of work we do. He said –

“A white strike then,” as he was continuing to make a coffee for a customer,

“What’s that?” I replied.

He answered, “When you keep on doing what you are doing but you complain a whole lot more.”

I love it…

“WHITE STRIKE! WHITE STRIKE! WHITE STRIKE! … (to customer) five euros, thank you very much, have a safe journey,” (Unheard, management upstairs)

The final throws of the revolution…


4 responses to “Keys to the mini market and white striking

  1. Diane says:

    Spiro and I both agree that this is the best of the posts! Can’t wait for the sequel.

  2. Bean says:

    OMG Loob you would be brilliant at the White Strike! Unbelievably good at it.

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