This is a slight cheat as this wasn’t technically my first job. But it’s the job I think of as my first job. My Mum likes to reminisce that I was both head-hunted and made redundant by the time I was 15. It doesn’t count in my eyes but I suppose she was right. I was asked to do a 2 hour shift a week for £2 an hour in the toy shop my old reception class teacher set up after she quit teaching, and then for the shop to be promptly sold and finding myself surplus to requirements a couple of months after I started!
As for the job I’m going to talk about here, I spent every Saturday (and days in the holidays) working here, at Volumes bookshop. I may well have had one of the worst paid Saturday jobs out of my group of friends (although I did earn more than £2 an hour here!) but I think I had the most fun. The management here were all friends and/or family and the shop was much loved, and had a great atmosphere. Downstairs was dedicated to fiction, cards and children’s books and on the second floor there was a little cafe alongside factual tomes and a HUGE selection of travel guides and writing. It goes to show that both I and most Saturday girls before and after me all came back to help out in the university holidays, and it wasn’t just for the extra cash.
Working here cemented my love of books,
taught me how to make great coffee turned me into a coffee snob and I’ve no idea what percentage of my wages went on in-store purchases except that it was probably far too high! I bumped into my old boss Simon over Christmas and had a good chat and whenever I see any of the other old employees it’s still good to catch up.
I’ve got a ‘Volumes’ mug somewhere hidden away as a permanent reminder of my time there. I started way back in September 2002, and was still doing the odd shift after I finished university in 2008- so worked there on and off for 7 years! Oh, and amongst the ordering, unpacking, alphabetising and dusting, we ate a lot of cake and drank a lot of coffee.
Now, for a sad tale.
The shop was beautiful, but spread out and on the quiet side of town. In 2008, the shop moved premises to a more compact, less sprawling and more central location. It lost the cafe, and for me some of it’s character but really it was just a case of unfortunate timing. The recession was just starting to bite, and being unable to find a new leaseholder for the old premises, two years later the shop closed in January 2010. The new premises became yet another estate agent and the shop in which I used to work, was finally re-leased last year is now home to a craft and art gallery. The new owners of the toy shop, however, remain very much in business.
This post represents day eight of Blog Every Day in May #BEDM with Rosalilium