With 27,000 workers about to lose their jobs my sadness about good old Woolies closing is unimportant. I am not approaching Christmas in the certain knowledge that, as I watch the goods disappear from the shelves, so does my employment. I am not having to deal with insensitive customers, annoyed that they haven’t read the signs advertising ‘up to 50% off’ correctly, berating me for paying more than they expected. No, I’m just one of the ‘scavengers, picking over the bones’ (Hubby’s description), who will miss having this gem of a store. Living in a small town we have very few shops so, to have a Woolworth, was a wonderful amenity. Yes, I could buy pairs of children’s socks in an expensive, bijou establishment, but I would rather not; suddenly remember that it’s little Johnny’s birthday, no problem, quick walk into the shops, into F.W, and the problem is solved.
I have memories too. I remember Woolies when it had worn, wooden floors. When all the goods were on counters, and the assistants served you. As a small child I was fascinated by a glowing machine which dispensed warm, oily peanuts into a greaseproof cone. Woolworth has always been there, I jumped down it’s wooden floors as a child, took my own children shopping there, lamenting the day when the floor became vinyl, and now take my grandchildren in there, but not for much longer, the handy ‘in town’ store is succombing to the not handy ‘out of town’ store.
Usually at this time of year I wish assistants in shops ‘A Happy Christmas’. Yesterday, at the till, I so wanted to do that, despondency was all around, I didn’t say it as it seemed somehow inappropriate. I’ll say it here though-