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The Clothing Store is the central location of a unit which supplies its soldiers with their often essential kit. From boots to bootlaces, from jackets to gloves, from trousers to twisters, it's all here. And here it will stay!
Attempting to get items of clothing issued to you from the Clothing Store, has been likened to that of the Krypton Factor, whereby you have to use cunning mental skills as well as a good dab of physical stamina in order to cheat/trick/confuse the Storeman into handing over the items you require.
The Storeman himself, is something akin to a mythical guardian to the gates of a forgotten land. Tasked with ensuring that nothing from the sacred place within should escape out into the harsh reality of the world we know, he takes great pride and care in making it as difficult as humanly possible to get anything from him.
However, although he takes his role extremely seriously, the Storeman is generally Medically Downgraded, and unfit for proper Soldiering duties. As such, he makes up for this downfall of his by being a Bastard to everyone that enters his store, and treating everyone below him, and sometimes above him, like dirt.
Should you approach him with less than three stripes on your chest, you will likely be met with such fine excuses as:
- "I've got a Board of Officers this week, come back next week."
- "I'm closed."
- "I've got a hospital appointment."
- "I've got a dentist appointment."
- "I'm handing over, come back later."
- "Just off on my NAAFI break. Come back before lunch."
- "Just off to lunch, come back before dinner."
- "He's went home after lunch."
- "He hasn't come in today."
- "Too busy, come back another time."
- "I'm on leave."
- "It's a store, not a shop."
- "That can be fixed, take it to the tailors."
- "Fuck off."
Often, the only way to successfully exchange or request new items of clothing and equipment, is for the CQMS himself or the CSM to request an Exchanges Day. Woe betide anyone on Guard duty or away on other taskings, because he will not make any exceptions if you arrive a day later than what he agreed to.
It has been known to cause rioting within Units when people have been spotted with new exchanges. Often the case of walking by someone with fresh socks and trousers in your hands will cause a stampede of bodies towards his store, seeing that he has weakened his resolve. This often results in harsh rejections once the Storeman realises how much work he has in front of him, and he promptly closes and goes for a NAAFI break.
Another art which the Storeman has to a fine knack is that of charging you for items. Often he will accuse you of damaging something on purpose, or insisting you get billed for the item as it's negligent damage.
Although the Storeman does not pay for any of the equipment out of his own pocket, he will flatly refuse to let you 'Shop' i.e. the act of requesting extra items, to make life more comfortable. Such as five pairs of socks instead of just three, or an extra pair of trousers so you can have a Guard set. This kind act would require the Storeman to fill out yet more paperwork and make more Demands for fresh items to be delivered, which would task him to the limit of his physical ability.
The easiest way to get new items, is to wear the damaged/broken items to Guardmount, whereby the Orderly Officer will order you to get them exchanged.
Even the Storeman cannot fight against the Will of the Orderly Officer.
There have been many discussions and rumours throughout the ages as to why it is so difficult to get anything from the Storeman. Such reasons have been bandied about as:
- He has to meet stringent stock levels
- He's just trying to make sure people aren't ripping the arse out of it, and he's keeping it for genuine need cases
- He's a cunt
However, the simple reason is that were the Storeman ever to issue kit in any significant quantity, then mysteriously, the amount of military 'surplus' available on Ebay would decline dramatically and the Storeman would be unable to pay for his families three week break in Hawaii this year.
It is worth noting however, that the weakest you will ever find a Storeman at, is when you walk in to demob. You appear, dragging a large sack overflowing / MFO bursting at the sides, and refuse to leave until it has all been individually checked and signed back in to avoid a bill hitting you later on.
As he sighs and starts to wind up his excuse-o-meter, you turn to him and say: "Or if I slip you £50 we'll call it quits?"
To which the thieving gypo nature that he tries so hard to hide, will rear its ugly head and snatch the money out of your hand, clearing you off the system and letting you walk off into civvie street with a large, large amount of now surplus and somewhat valuable kit.