Saturday, 7 April 2012

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Saturday job

Great excitement when I reached the magical age of 15 and was old enough to have a Saturday job! My auntie worked in a department store called Patrick Thompsons - known to everyone as PT's - and she managed to get me a job in the Accounts Department. I only worked one Saturday there and then I was transferred to the Cash Desk.

PT's was built on the North Bridge of Edinburgh and was an enormous building, with 4 basement floors below the bridge and 5 above it. The shop had one of those wonderful pneumatic tube systems. Every sale had a hand-written triplicate receipt, 2 parts of which were put in a small cylinder (see picture above) with the cash and sent through the tubes to the Cash Desk in basement 2.

The cylinders arrived on a small conveyor belt in front of us - similar to the one above - and we would keep one copy of the receipt, stamp the other as paid and put it with the change back in the cylinder, which then went into a tube in front of us. It whizzed across the room to the return tubes station - like the one below - and someone would put it into the appropriate tube to be returned whence it came.

Cheque payments in those days were rare and all cheques had to be dealt with by the Chief Cashier, we lesser mortals weren't allowed to have anything to do with them. Occasionally a request for a cash refund came through. Refunds were never sent through the tubes for some reason, but had to be taken in person to the appropriate department. This was usually my job and it was a great excuse to be released from the dark, windowless basement!  When it was quiet, one of my jobs was polishing all the brass tubes - a mammoth task akin to painting the Forth Bridge!

Most of my friends had Saturday jobs and there was one girl who worked in her Dad's shop, although she was always very coy about the nature of the business - we eventually found out her Dad was an undertaker. You can imagine the reaction of a bunch of 15 year olds to that one!

I earned the princely sum of 17/6 less 3d for NI. I used to buy most of my clothes with my Saturday money - it helped that we had a staff discount in the store. I stayed there until I left school and got a proper job.