New Series; confessions of a retired SHOPKEEPER
Mandy & the V.I.P.s
In my days working for a D.I.Y. chain it was difficult to take a lunch break, so different from the department stores where an hour and a bit strolling up & down the High Street was seldom missed.
Nevertheless one time I was expecting a visit from the firm’s executives to see how I was faring in this out of town environment. I had worked in Department Stores for 12 years previously.
The day before I had popped into my local the VILLAGE GREEN public house for a steadying pint. The bar maid was Mandy. I knew her surname because she had worked in my store for years before me, but moved when her marriage broke up. She professed her dislike of children, which didn’t ring true as she gained custody of all 5 of the children affected by the divorce.
Despite her domestic problems she was always bright and breezy, greeting me with
“Hullo Bob ! The usual is it?”.
I went for a pint mostly once a week and passed the time of day with the regulars and Hilda, the other barmaid. Hilda was the mother of Sonia one of my shelf fillers, so I was careful what I said whilst supping my Courage Best.
Any way, the day of the visit came, the V.I.P.s came enjoyed looking around my D.I.Y store, making favourable comments & declaring it
“A store that well run & interesting to browse around”
Then one of them, general manager then , later main board director, asked me to escort them to a decent pub with food. I assured them that I hardly ever went out for lunch but I knew of a good pub, the VILLAGE GREEN.
So we drove in convoy the 500 yards or so to the pub. MANDY welcomed me in & trilled.
“Hullo Bob, you in again”
at which & to my relief my colleagues burst out into raucous laughter. .My boss put his hand on my shoulder and said,
“What’ll you have to drink Bob”
“I have it here, a pint of Courage Best your usual Bob"
and so she did.“Your usual!”
During lunch Mandy periodically gave me soppy forced smiles , thumbs up signs & little waves.