Here’s a bit of a blast from the past… Hubby was rummaging around in his sports bag and brought out a piece of equipment he keeps in a plastic bag for safe keeping… I don’t know how long it’s been kept safe in there, but the name on the bag should be able to give us a clue.
WOOLWORTHS… Once a high street staple closed its doors to the public back in 2009.
I can vaguely remember the local branch of WOOLWORTHS where I grew up, or Woolies, as it was known to its friends. Large glass doors and huge windows set back from the pavement, big square pillars covered in the same cream ceramic tiles as the floor in the doorways, the perfect place to shelter from a rainshower. But what about the inside… Let’s take a stroll up and down the ailes in my memories and see what we can find.
I have a very vague blury memory of standing next to an adult who was buying sliced meat from a delicatessen counter, I don’t know if its my memory or a tale of someone else’s memory, but the memory is viewed from a child’s height, through the glass-fronted counter, not over it.
I remember the children’s clothes… Very nice, affordable clothes, branded with a Ladybird logo. Of course, I had three girls so I remember well the pretty dresses and frilly socks, and of course the school uniforms.
I remember the household section, I would look on all the new gadgets with amazement, it’s just as well just looking made me smile, as pennies were pretty scarce when the girls were small so the looking at happened a lot more often than buying of.
I remember the huge “pic-a-mix” island with paper bags and plastic scoops… I also remember one Christmas, not long before I discovered the connection between eating chocolate and suffering the emotional consequences, I bought a bag of carefully chosen wrapped chocolates, more often found in a tin which was “made for sharing”. I chose the ones in the gold, blue and dark red wrappers, I took them home, tied loops on them and hung them on the Christmas tree to add sparkle and colour. However, my chocolate addiction was in full swing and I would pick them off the tree and eat them when no one was around. It would have been cheaper to have just bought myself some ordinary chocolate to eat. Because the tree would start to look a little sparce and I’d have to go back to Woolies and pick up some more, then spend the time tying them back on strings to hang the back on the tree again.
Little did I know then, and I’ve only recently found out that Youngest Daughter was sneaking Christmas tree chocolates too… And so all that time ago, when I couldn’t remember eating so many as to make it notice… I wasn’t.
Woolies sold videos and, later, dvds too, the cheap ones, the ones everone else had seen at the cinema, then bought the dvd as it was released, then got bored with it as the newer releases arrived, these were the dvds that I bought, I was good at waiting for something I want, and eventually a film I was waiting for would arrive in the reduced price section and I would buy it and watch it over and over again…getting so many smiles per £1 that the wait was well worth it.
I’m sure there were many, many more items on sale and I can remember just wandering up and down the aisles just browsing, I love to window shop too, and yes, I am also one of those people who will read a catalogue from end to end as well. Knowing, as I do now, how frustrating it is to have to watch out for shoplifters, I must have been an absolute nightmare for any sort of store detective.
As the memories get dredged up from the murky depths within the old grey cells, I can remember once more wandering around Woolies, I must have spent hours and hours in that shop, the problem was they needed me to spend more than time and they didn’t make it through the last recession. I’ll keep one last memory to hold onto a little longer, a Christmas memory, when the shop was filled with decorations and beautiful gifts to entice you to open your purse… And the jingle from a TV advert…
The wonder of WOOLWORTHS.