Letters, Monday, November 25, 2013

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Many opportunities missed at Co-op

THE current kerfuffle at the Co-op has brought back memories of my youth where, as a 12-year-old, I used to help in a small Co-op shop at night and weekends.

 It was unpaid, of course, but gratuities came in various ways via broken biscuits, chocolate etc.

 Work involved filling sugar bags, flour and so on. I also set off on the shop bike to deliver groceries.

 It was a happy set-up with about six servers doing the necessary, there was no self-service then (1953). The staff were poorly paid, but being dedicated, as folks were then, it didn’t seem to matter. Promotion was by stepping into dead men’s shoes, providing you had an influential contact.

 Then we come to the manager, a suited gent, unlike the staff in their dustcoats. His office, set at the side of the main shop, strategically in a position to keep check on all movement (of staff presumably).

 You did not speak to this patriarch unless approached, such was his vaulted position and attitude to his underlings. This tin god owned his own detached house (almost unknown at this time among the working class), a motor car, smoked large cigars and, would you believe it, went on holidays abroad, or so he said. All this, I was reliably informed, on £8 and 10 shillings a week, according to staff who earned between £3 and £4 per week.

 You might assume that, in view of present information about the Co-op Bank, not much has changed, and you would be right in your assumption.

 Locally the Co-op was known at that time as ‘The Stealworks’ – yes, the spelling is correct.

 Remember also that it had the very best sites in the main street for its shops, often being over 100 yards in shopfront.

 What an opportunity missed. Naturalised industry as it was, and is, will always fail due to lack of managerial control and personal interest.

Alan Wilkinson

Not Nissan’s call

SO Nissan, who once said it would leave Sunderland if the UK did not take on the Euro, is now trying it on once again, saying it will leave Sunderland, the most successful car manufacturer in Europe, if we leave the EU.

 Pull the other leg, Mr Whipple (November 16). How much do you think it would cost Nissan to uproot and leave Sunderland? Nissan and Japan cannot make the decisions for this Government.

 Can you give me five reasons why we should stay in the EU, Mr Whipple? I can give you at least 20 why we should leave. It has been shown that 80 per cent of our citizens know we should leave the EU.

 Now the EU, which wants to weaken the UK, has decided that it is okay for Spain to cause harm to Gibraltar, a British protectorate.

 We should be able to say to the EU that our borders must be closed as we are massively overcrowded and we can take no more immigrants.

Marjorie Matthews

Watch your bags

ON November 20, my wife and her sister went shopping in Sunderland and after their usual tea and toast in Wilkinsons cafe, they went to Dickson’s the butchers, close to British Home Stores.

 In the butcher’s there is a rack on the counter to rest your bags on while being served. The assistant gave my wife the items she requested, but as she did so the assistant dropped her change all over the counter and floor. As they both picked up the change, in the confusion, my wife left a black plastic shopping bag on the rack.

 This bag was printed with a picture of the cartoon, Betty Boop.

 My wife and sister then visited BHS store where they discovered they had left the bag in Dickson’s.

 They went back but were told no bag had been handed in.

 In the shop at the time were two other women. One of them must have picked up the bag.

 We do hope they enjoyed a pasty and some cooked ham. Oh, and by the way, you could share the copy of the Echo which was also in the bag.

 So a warning to all shoppers – watch your bags.

 Merry Christmas.

Mr Hopps