Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Pump it up
Next up was trying to convince folk to buy a new battery - I see that in today's terms a battery cost around £200 when Queenie came to the throne in 1953 - no wonder people were paranoid about checking them or leaving car lights on. The job we dreaded was cleaning windscreens - no money to earn, and a real risk of waiting customers moving on to the next garage before we got to them.
Because here's a thing - there were around 500 cars for every petrol station back then, compared to nearly 4,000 today. In and around my home town I can recall 12 service stations as they were called - today there are just three. And you have to serve yourself, then queue to pay behind someone doing the weekly shop. Same thing's being tried in supermarkets with self service tills and of course online shopping - we do all the work, and the chap who used to serve you has long gone. Along with the shop, the cleaners and everything else that made a small town tick. I'm sure there was at least as much delivery work back then, because most shops would deliver, and of course stock had to get to them first.
This is why, batteries, oil and fuel aside, everything's cheaper now in real terms than it was 60 years ago. But that means far fewer semi-skilled jobs are available too. Some you win, some you lose. Or rather, some win, some lose. Anyway as a bit of nostalgia here's my old Darmah as seen past issues of Benzina plus a great bit of reimagining forwarded to me by Jan Leek