This article was sent in by an old twerp who used to work in the food retail industry, to the 'Oil Drum Lane Gazette, in Nottingham.
"Eeeeh! The price of things nowadays! Why, I can remember when ten shillings would buy you four pints of bitter, a fish supper and you would still have change for tram ticket home." How often have we heard this sort of thing from some people usually a bit older than ourselves? And if we are being really truthful we sometimes find ourselves saying, or at least thinking the same sort of things don't we? But just how cheap were things back let's say forty-five or fifty years ago?
Take a look at this very interesting site for a good idea of what it was really like:
I worked in food stores in England, varying from grocery, butchers, greengrocers, provisions, and Wet Fish outlets.
Yes, they fiddled then too!
I was shown how to 'adjust' the scales to the stores advantage.
Short change a customer as I counted out the change to him/her. (palming half a crown)
Slip extra on the scale, then remove it before wrapping the product.
Not all branch managers were crooked like that, just a few, the others were either little Hitlers, or damn good chaps.
I recall opening the shop using candles when the power cuts were on (no electric scales or tills then).
No fridges, we had a cellar, and cold slab.
All the transactions were recorded on a slip pad, and had to be added up at the end of day (no calculators either), if the float or taking was down or short, we had to make up the difference from our £2.15.00 (£2.75p) wage. If they were over, the manager became strangely quiet!
I had to make up orders in shop then, deliver them on the carrier-pushbike, along with change to the nearest pound, whatever the weather!
We were reprimanded if we used American terms like, OK to a customer.
If jobs or emergencies needed doing after hours, we just did them, no pay, no thanks, all part of the job.
Later, I moved to work for Tesco (only one in Nottingham then, on Goosegate. Now a massive sex shop. No change there then!
You would not believe what we put in the shop made burgers, but they sold well!
Ah, good times I think!