Working on Saturday

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When I was 13 I got a Saturday job at Wembley Woolworths.
For working Saturday I got 13s 9d; that included the tea in the tea break and lunch. Woolworths had traditional counters, where customers selected or asked for various items. These were added up by us in our heads, as I remember, and the final total entered on the manually operated till.
Saturday girls worked on the counters; Saturday boys worked in the basement where the stock was kept. Mostly we didn’t meet except at lunchtimes.
I worked on several counters over the years (and I cannot remember when I stopped working there). Each counter was separate. On Electrics we tested every light bulb manually before the customer took it. Working on the Gardening counter was different – if a customer wanted a rose bush we took their preferences – yellow tea rose, white rambler etc, then we went down to the basement where new batches of uprooted (no pots) plants were delivered every Saturday morning, and chose one for them. the rose season was autumn; we only had roses then; bulbs before Christmas – hyacinths had to be handled carefully as some people were, apparently, allergic to the skins.
We stood the whole day; there were seats behind each counter that, in theory, you could pull down, but they were locked in the up position.
As far as I remember all the full time staff were women; there were three supervisors for the whole store who walked around to help if we got into difficulties, or if – heaven forfend – someone brought back a faulty item and needed a refund. That did not happen often.
As far as I can tell, the age for part-time working for children is still 13.

Posted by Jo

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