“Mr Ward did not need me so had day off. Sarah’s party – Rubbish”
Would Mr Ward – my boss at Lancaster & Crook – ever see me again?
I seem to remember that once I turned 17 (in just 3 days time pop-pickers!) he would have to pay me more per hour than he did at 16, so maybe he was edging me out slowly to try to save wages?
I suppose my job there gave me a little ‘structure’ and ‘work experience’ but I can’t say it was enjoyable. Mr Ward was a very unforgiving boss, short of any sense of humour. He gave everyone a hit list of things to do each day and expected them 100% done by closing time, even if he interrupted your flow with other projects to do ‘on the fly’. This included having to execute home deliveries on that “bloody bike”.
I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt though. The early seventies must have been challenging for any business owner in the UK. Inflation, the cost of living and the three-day week plus those power cuts must have created an air of uncertainty for everyone, making them nervous about spending money. Maybe Mr Ward thrived on the challenge? – some people do – and just wanted to make sure his stake in the Supermarket (I believe he co-owned it?) was secure.
He certainly treated his full-time and part-time staff differently. He had two full-time employees when I was there; Roger, his assistant manager, and a woman (Sharon?) who ran the deli and meats counter. They always seemed to be able to reason with him. We underlings however were supposed to be seen and not heard, just get on with our jobs and be grateful for whatever meagre wage packet we received.
Years later my Mum would also end up getting a part-time job at “Lankies” – as it came to be known colloquially – and she HATED Mr Ward who always treated her like a total idiot. Part of the problem was that my Mum – employed as a cashier – was not trained properly in all the aspects of ringing someone up, and so was always having to call for help. Mr Ward would invariably come over, tap a few buttons on the till, get the customer sorted out and then berate my Mum for not knowing what to do. He would never show her what she was doing wrong, just assume she should know. Mum lasted at “Lankies” no more than a few weeks, but she was later ‘tapped up’ by the small newsagent next door to perform till duties there. Where she excelled… at least until boredom and her argumentative nature got the better of her.
Meanwhile my social ‘whirl’ for the day was a party at Sarah’s. Looks as if it wasn’t very memorable?… other than being “rubbish”. However, that could have just been my personal code for “never got off with anyone”