February 9th 1973

“Start work” / “Work is quite easy really – stacking shelves, clearing rubbish, marking up + humping sugar around”

So… my life as a ‘worker’ commenced today.

Yours truly became a ‘weekend boy’ at Lancaster & Crook supermarket, just across the road from where we lived.

In retrospect you have to agree that it was a terrible name for a business wasn’t it? Quite ironic in light of the fact that from that decade to this (it’s now a Co-Op supermarket) it has suffered an ongoing problem with shoplifters, mainly as a result of a very poor layout and shop design.

I digress…. my job, as I suggested, involved re-stacking the shelves with cans, jars and packets which were all stored in the tiny stock room to the rear of the store.

As far as my memory serves me, there was never any real or reason to this activity.. one merely walked round the shelves, saw what products had a few gaps and then filled those gaps up. No computerised stock control or anything. Mr Ward, the boss, (was he also the owner of the shop?… I don’t remember) wandered around with a clipboard packed tightly with sheets of paper that announced the price of everything the shop sold.

We would then ‘mark up’ the goods using a price gun similar to – but nowhere near as sophisticated as – the one shown in the photo. Without fail this simple bit of machinery would leave our hands covered in printers ink as we had to manually change the dials to set the required price. We would then sticker everything.

Have I mentioned that I wore a long white coat*?

I wore a long white coat at the job, one which – over the course of a shift -would get completely covered in black ink, fruit & vegetable stains and more besides. It was always laundered clean and ready for my next shift – I suspect Mr Ward’s wife was responsible for this.

On my first day there must have been some kind of run on sugar.

I’m waiting for my memory to kick in with hilarious anecdotes and funny tales of my time there. Please don’t wait up.

*Proof that I got it long before the men who usually wear them got me

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