Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday...

I did already have a Saturday job, in late February of '83, Mark had got me a job on Arnold Market, working for a flower seller, but in truth I hated it... fetching and carrying for a couple of '80's barrow boys, in all weathers was no fun at all, so after working on the stock take, I asked Kate if they needed a new Saturday-boy to fill in for Robert (who's second name I can remember), the lad who had done the job for the last couple of years and who was finishing his A levels and heading of to Bristol for Uni...

 
an afternoon tipple

Kate gave it a thought, I assume asked Bob, and said yes. The Saturday post was all about watching the shop whilst Kate got on with a day-to-day life, which from what I remember was sitting with her feet-up, drinking coffee, or after 2pm a barley-wine, and reading the paper... Bob, most weekends would be away at a Wargame Show (a what?), so Kate liked the idea of not sitting in the shop all day whilst he was gone.

'Watching the shop' suited me down to the ground...
Plonked on a tall stool behind the counter, I would sit and read game books, or White Dwarf, or whatever came to hand, and wait for the bell to ring to announce the entrance of a customer...
Saturday Mornings wouldn't be too busy, opening at 9, Kate would fulfill whatever mail-order she could that had arrived that morning, but mostly it was only a light trip to the post office before the last collection at 11.00am, and then a day of waiting for customers...

Trying to remember back to those early weekends, I don't think we ever took over £150, some weeks much less, which doesn't sound like a lot of money these days, but it could be quite hard work when we were selling 15mm minis for 7p (25's for 30p)... and even a big sale, a boxed game or D&D book, might only be £8 - £10, getting to £150 wasn't easy...

The thing that made it for me was the customers, mostly they were fabulous, people wanted to be enjoying themselves when they arrived at the shop, so every-time the bell went, there would be another happy Wargamer delighted to have found a little Aladdins cave of stuff...
 And OK, we did have our share of 'characters' though the place, (more of whom later), but mostly customers were bright, knowledgeable and funny, and I couldn't think of a better way to spend my time on Saturdays than fishing around in the figure cabinets for missing T72 turrets, or dusting down copies of Starship Troopers, or whatever else the customers wanted...

Not only was I doing something well with-in my skill range, I had started to enjoy it too.