Tag Archives: customers

Dreams and Confessions

I woke early this morning. You can probably tell that from the fact I was able to post before going to work. I woke around 4.30 after having a bad dream. I can’t tell you what it was about but it featured being trapped in tunnels and saying more risks having unwelcome Freudian interpretations forced on me.

After a trip to the bathroom went back to sleep until 5.30 when I awoke convinced that the police were about to tow my camper van away because I’d obstructed someone’s driveway by parking it round the corner from the house. This was very vivid and it was a few seconds before I realised that I didn’t have a camper van and didn’t have a corner to park anything round.

The subconscious is a weird and wonderful thing. Mainly, in my case, weird. It’s not many years since I dreamed I was a spinning top on a fairground ride and woke up to find I was in mid-air, having spun myself out of bed. To be fair, I wasn’t in mid-air for long as gravity did its part rapidly and efficiently.

Julia said: “Have you broken anything?”

I assured her I was OK.

“I meant the bedside table. I knew you’d bounce.”

And they say romance is dead…

Then there was the time I woke up screaming because the giant rat was eating my leg, only to find the “jaws” were my own hands grasping my leg.

Anyway, I popped into wakefulness again at 7.01, which is my normal weekday time (I normally allow myself to lie in until 8.00 on Saturday as I don’t have to run Julia to work). It seemed pointless to go back to sleep so I got up, had the last of the Chinese takeaway for breakfast, blogged, made my sandwiches (yes, cheese again), went to the local shop, did some long-term financial planning (or bought a lottery ticket if you prefer the unvarnished version) and turned up at work just in time to get the last parking space. For some reason everyone thinks they can park in front of the shop on Saturday, even though they are nothing to do with us.

We had quite a crowd in at one time and succeeded in getting a customer to join the Numismatic Society. We had nine customers and three staff in at one time. In the old shop you were uncomfortably full if you had three customers and if you had four you had to synchronise your breathing.

By four I was glad to escape and go shopping with Julia. I say “go shopping” but we have developed a routine that features us having a toasted teacake and a mug of tea before she goes round the shop while I sit and read the paper. It suits me because I’m a lazy male chauvinist pig and it suits her because she hasn’t got someone trailing round behind her complaining about prices.

The rot started  a few years ago when I found myself nodding and saying “Yes dear.” when I wasn’t actually listening. I’d always said I wouldn’t do that, but once it started, the rest seemed to follow naturally.

That, I think, is enough for now. To continue risks me getting a fleas in my ear if either Julia or my sister read this. Like Bertie Wooster, I have a set of female relatives who can be fearsome when annoyed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nearly there!

The pictures show one of the answers to my question from yesterday – where does all the time go?

Robins, stamps and Robbie Burns

The featured image is one of the robin Christmas stamps from 1995. I have looked them up and can yell you there were five of them. I can’t recall any of the other designs – this is the only one we seem to get.

We also have a fine selection of Scottish mini-sheets.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Off to Australia

It seems, looking at the prices charges by stamp dealers, that we are being awfully extravagant in using these stamps for letters. In fact you can buy lots of stamps in the trade for below face value. There are even companies that specialise in this sort of thing – search “discounted stamps”if you want any.

Much of my working day was spent packing parcels as we kept getting orders through the day. We also had phone calls and a few customers actually visited the shop, despite the boarding.

One or two mentioned the boards with questions like “Have you been robbed?”. To which, after a few polite answers, we started replying “No, we’re just going for a shabby chic look.”. A few more and it was “No, we’ve joined a Blitz re-enactment society.”

If anyone else had asked there was a danger, by the end of the day, of the answer being less than polite.

There’s only so much to be said.

The rest of the day was taken up with moving stock and furniture round in preparation for our new security precautions. It appears we are not allowed to dig pits and line them with spikes.Or use guns and tripwires. Or train rottweilers to attack people wearing hoods and concealing their faces.It’s the nanny state gone mad, I tell you!

The spell-checker wants to remove “rottweilers” and substitute “erstwhile”. I originally spelt it “rottweillers” and the suggested alternative was “steamrollers”. I’ve often wondered how these things work. I’m definitely no wiser after this last selection.

I’ve given myself the night off tonight and watched TV with Julia instead of trying to force the writing. I’m not sure she’s grateful.

Another Busy Day

Yesterday we had end to end customers, and the same was true today. Earlier in the week we had a Guildhall Coronation Medal brought into the shop with a selection of other medals associated with Guildhall dinners and the Freemasons. We weren’t able to buy them, though we did buy the associated coins. The owner has taken them home to talk to their children and decide what to do. This is an example photograph from the internet as I didn’t think to ask if I could take a photograph at the time.

The photographs below are ones I took of an interesting group of medals that came into the shop today. They represent 38 years in the army, with six tours – three in the Balkans (one with the UN and two with NATO) and three in Afghanistan. The last three medals are the Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals and the Army Long Service and Good Conduct medal. We tend not to give a lot of medals out. The silver laurel leaves are the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service, which the recipient was awarded for his services in Helmand Province.

Modern Group with QCVS

Modern Group with QCVS

Lots more happened, but that, for me, was the most interesting part. I’m a man who is easily satisfied.

Hard Day at the Shop

Obviously “hard” is a comparative term. Six hours sitting in a heated shop packing parcels and chatting to customers is not hard compared to some of my previous jobs, and they weren’t hard compared to working on a trawler or building skyscrapers.

However, from starting to finishing, there was scarcely a moment when we didn’t have a customer in, often two or three at a time.  We sold quite a lot in the morning, spent over £1,000 buying during the afternoon and ended up selling some more. We did all this with just two people as the boss was off at the York Coin Fair. We often have busy days when he’s away.

Souvenir Medal Castle Rising Norfolk

Souvenir Medal Castle Rising Norfolk

This is one of the medallions we put on eBay. At this sort of magnification you can clearly see  the reflection of my camera and a large quantity of dust. It’s not a stunning level of professionalism is it?

Southwell Minster Souvenir Medallion

Southwell Minster Souvenir Medallion

I see we’ve already sold seven items on eBay, so we will have to get a move on, as the Post Office closes at noon.

While the Cat is away…

It was all going so well…

I dropped Julia off at work, parked right outside the shop, found all the stock for eBay parcels on my first attempt and had everything ready for the post by the time Eddie turned up. The Boss was at the York Coin Fair today so I was then able to relax.

I wrote a reply to an email that had arrived overnight, and then kept my fingers crossed.  Then I wrote another email, demanding action from someone who was being slow with a parcel.

Finally, I composed a message to KFC in my head. I had to administer a touch of firmness to them earlier in the week after a rather disorganised meal on Sunday. We ordered four things – they were only able to supply one. Not good enough,  I told them.

Their, reasonably quick, reply agreed with me, told me that training would be administered and told me they looked forward to seeing me again soon.

Why would I go back soon after the meal I just had (a very different one from the one we had ordered)? The staff were disorganised, the manager was ranting and the bins were overflowing. And it was not as if they were busy. It was a far cry from the last meal I enjoyed there.

After reading their reply, I was left with the distinct impression that they were taking the mickey.

The last laugh is with me, of course. I will stop eating KFC, will save money, lose weight and, in all probability, be better off without them.

As I was savouring my imaginary victory my mobile rang with the reply from the first email. It was a positive reply, which was good.

I then put some things on eBay, served customers, unwillingly stayed an hour late to serve another customer, went back at 7.00 the see another customer (by arrangement  – he’s a market trader who needed stock but had been unable to get down sooner).

Now, after refreshment, I’m off to pick up Number Two son from work. It’s cheaper than paying for the bus.

 

 

 

Sixpences, Sweethearts and Samosas

It was a hectic morning, with fourteen eBay parcels to be packed and sent off before the Post Office closed at lunchtime. We would have managed it easily, working together as a well-oiled machine, if it hadn’t been for the arrival of a shopful of customers.

It’s a real dilemma – we want to provide a quick and efficient eBay service, but our core business is based on the customers who come to the shop so we can’t neglect them.

We were expecting a quiet day as two of the Saturday regulars came in on Friday, but it didn’t work out like that. Within the first hour we were full with people buying and selling and the post had to wait. We got most of it done in time, though some will not be going into the post until Monday. Such is life. It’s not ideal but we are still within the time allowed for posting.

During the rush I managed to sell a nice Victorian sixpence to a young collector who is just starting to collect coins. Hopefully it will be the start of a lifelong collecting habit, and hopefully he will continue collecting good stuff instead of modern decimal coins. We owe a lot to decimal coins, as they are fuelling a great interest in coin collecting, but I can’t help wondering if it will still be popular in ten years, or if it will be a bubble that bursts.

In the afternoon we also managed to sort more shillings, put several lots on eBay and polish the counters. One of the later customers bought us samosas from the Indian shop across the road, which proved to be an acceptable snack with our afternoon coffee.

I’ve described one of the sweetheart brooch lots as having a pin that has been “replaced at sometime in the past”. I resisted the temptation to tell them that it had actually been replaced by me five minutes before I took the photos for eBay. It’s not a bad job, even if I say so myself. It came from the back of a cracked enamel badge that said Delegate and involved two sets of long-nosed pliers and a certain amount of muttering.

This is the brooch – a WW2 mother of pearl sweetheart brooch for the Royal Armoured Corps.

We have several more on sale, including these two for the Middlesex Regiment.  The one on the left is a silver and enamel tie-pin or bar brooch, the one on the right is silver, with hallmarks for 1915. It’s an interesting subject for collecting, with all military units depicted in a variety of styles, though I often wonder who gave them and if they came back.

 

 

 

End of The Beast

It was definitely wet this morning, with a few drops of rain in the air as we walked to the car and puddles where ice had recently been.

The temperature is now a couple of degrees above freezing and I’m hoping that his will continue. If it freezes at this point it will be like being in the middle of the biggest ice rink in the world. The forecast for the next week is rain and rising temperatures. I imagine that the rivers will rise and we will move seamlessly from snow to flooding as our topic of conversation.

It was noticeable that ebay sales were down in the shop over the last week, something we attribute to a general feeling of misery in snowbound areas. The post has been a bit haphazard over the last week or so, with people not able to get to the post to send me things, and our post office not getting a collection sent out  when the van failed to show up. I also had no post at home for two days, followed by a big wad yesterday. None of it was actually important, or even interesting.

In the shop we still saw quite a few customers, both buying and selling, though not on Thursday. On Thursday only the staff turned up, and at least one of them would rather have been at home. I still haven’t really got the hang of this employment thing.

By Friday it picked up and Saturday was back to normal. Hopefully ebay will pick up now.