Saturday, 27 December 2008

The Wonder Of Woolworths


Who would have thought that we would ever lose our Woolworths stores? It is unimaginable. There has always been a Woolworths in every town ever since I could remember. When I was a child, it was the place for bargains and children could afford to buy there.

In those days, there were different counters in the store with an assistant looking after each one. It was time consuming if something needed to be bought from several counters and the queuing had to be done again, but thats how it was then. Even in small shops there was a slow queuing system and if shop keepers asked how the family were and got a long reply, then everyone had to wait!

Woolworths did move on, once supermarkets came into being and things went up in price but it was a much loved shop, always there, just like the British Post Box. It was a good old British shop and it belonged to us for 99 years, though it came over from the USA originally. 

What ever are we going to do? It makes all of us in England feel very vulnerable. What other much loved and taken for granted thing is going to disappear from our lives?
Whatever are all those employees going to do now from the Woolworths shops? Just think how they must feel.


36 comments:

lmerie said...

Woolworths!!! I have not been in one since I was little! I had no idea there were any anywhere! When I was little and lived in Denver, I remember my mom taking us there and if we were lucky, we could sit at the lunch counter, on the twisting seats and eat the best grilled cheese anywhere!! I am sorry you are losing yours!

softinthehead said...

I agree Maggie, I was very shocked to hear they were going under. Such an institution. I remember the old ones with wooden floors who sold freshly roasted salted peanuts! (amonst a million other things) It is a sad day.

The Dotterel said...

I've been in to a couple of their soon-to-be-closed stores over the Christmas shopping period and was amazed at how cheerful and helpful all the staff have been. (More so than many so-called shop-assistants with a job to take them through the New Year!) Sad.

Casdok said...

I to have memories from childhood. Very sad to see it go.

mrsnesbitt said...

I remeber as a child toys for 2/11! The end of a great institution, i wonder who will be next? The next of many no doubt!

Came here via David, great to meet you.
Merry Christmas from North Yorkshire.

Jeni said...

Back in the "good old days" when I was a kid, in the bigger (but still smallish) towns where there were various stores, I remember there being Woolworth's, Murphy's and also McCrorys, as well as Grant's. They were main staples when I was growing up, even existed when my kids were small but by the late 80's or early 90's, all of these had long since ceased to exist. What a loss too. It was always so much more personable to shop in those places, with the clerks, the assistance and such. Now, what do we have? Walmart! How times have changed, huh?

Suburbia said...

Everyone seems to be sad about them going, so why weren't we shopping there?! I remember the bright colours and sweet smell of the pick and mix when I was young.

Now where will I go for cheap childrens wellies and toys??

i beati said...

many years growing up and sitting at the wonderful lunch c0ounter/fountain and oh the barains in the stor !!Miss the bygone days.. loved your roast ..sandy

Granny Smith said...

Woolworth's was where the five=year-old me bought her first Christmas gifts for giving - nothing for more than a nickel or dime in those days. A nostalgic post!

Alison May said...

Oh Maggie it is quite the saddest thing isn't it? I suspect I shall be in mourning for a very long time...

Dr.John said...

We lost ours long ago.

CrazyCath said...

The end of an era without a doubt.

Just been over to your "Roast" at David's. A great interview. Glad you don;t do "full frontals"!! lol

Wendy said...

{{sigh}} our woolworths went out ages ago. Now we have walmart.

Shrinky said...

Hi, I am over from David's!

You are right of course, Woolies is a British institution. We all grew up with their stores. One of my earliest memories is being found by a woman I'd been following around there with the same coat as my mother's, I never thought to look at her face, when I did, I burst into tears. (I soon was found again!) In my teens, I worked a Saturday job there, it was the era of the "mood-stone" rings, and my friends pointed out how mine always turned black when I manned the tills (but I loved working on the pick n' mix).

It is a scary and uncertain time, isn't it? As you say - whatever next?

Retiredandcrazy said...

Scary, scary times Maggie.

Hilary said...

Yes, they were scattered through my home town in Montreal too, but long gone. I believe they turned into Woolco stores first then eventually vanished along with other old time shops.. wood floors and all. Nostalgic piece.. but very sad.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

hear hear Maggie..I was passing it on my way to cinema last evening and my pla and I stuck our heads around the door, sheer hysteria, people were buying up the shelving...what for the sake of it??

A shame...but I think there is mor eot come, IF woolies can go...then anyone could even M&S...although Ive been saying that for 5 years now...as a retailer they make basic mistakes all the time...no staff no labels, no prices, crap displays...don't get me going...that would be a shame too...
noting stays the same forever, and many people have said this debt based society couldnt go on forever..they wee right.

Akelamalu said...

We too are lamenting the closure of Woolworths. I bought my first set of pans from Woolworths in 1972 and the last one only recently gave up the ghost!
PS loved your interview at Davids. :)

Working mum said...

I worked in Woolies one Christmas as a student - on the toy dept, of all the places to work at Christmas! It was mad but fun.

Yes, Woolies was an institution, but didn't move with the times: Cds and DVDs cheaper on the internet, toys and games cheaper in toys r us, sweets cheaper in supermarket, etc, etc so we didn't shop there and now it's gone. A salutory lesson for chief executives who think the brand is bigger than the products.

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi Maggie,
I was extremely saddened to hear about good old Woolies...
I have many memories of my childhood, shopping with my Nan, in the local Woolworths and I continued to be a loyal customer right up until I left the UK.
Even when I returned to London for visits I often bought things there.
It's unbelievable how such a great and large British retailer can go bankrupt! It's very, very sad and also so sad for all the workers that have now lost their jobs, many of whom spent their working lives dedicated to Woolworths.

If Woolworths can go bankrupt then lets hope that Marks & Spencers, Tesco's, Sainsbury's and all the rest are safe! Very worrying.... X

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

I'm back again Maggie!
I've just read your Sunday Roast over at David's! Wonderful!!!!!
It's so great to see you doing a Mcmahon Sunday Roast!
Congratulatons dear friend! X

VioletSky said...

We lost ours a long time ago. It morphed into Woolco which then was bought by Wal Mart. But I remember the old ones: the wooden floors, the lunch counter with the red bar stools...

Moannie said...

Hallo, Maggie. I too worked in Woolworths one Christmas. I was sixteen and was on the cosmetics counter, it was long and rectangular and the counter was in sectional boxes containing all the powders and paints, lipsticks and rouges. Drene Shampoo in sachets, powder puffs amd blocks of mascara in small black boxes with a small brush you had to spit on and rub on the block. I was not allowed to wear make up, but I loved it. Each counter had a till, a wooden box with a roll of paper inside and you wrote the item and price on the paper, pulled out the drawer with a 'ping' and make change.
If Woolworths can go, any one can...except those who got us in this mess with their 'buy now, pay later' message to us all. Simplified perhaps but we have all been guilty I guess.

Moannie said...

Oh, and congratulations on being roast of the day....richly deserved.

Mean Mom said...

Woolworths came to our country town a few years ago and it is/was a great store. I've bought loads of stuff there - crockery, stationery, toys, gardening tools. It is/was a very useful store and will be sadly missed by the whole town.

The small shops are being pushed out of business by the giants, who have the money and the power to constantly undercut. The way things are going, only stores like Tesco will survive and we will be left without choice. It might be easier to make a list of what you can't buy at Tesco, rather than what you can. Are they making a bit to take over the world, or what?

Mean Mom said...

Sorry! Last sentence of my first comment should read 'bid', not 'bit'.

Breakfast in California said...

Just wanted to mention that if you highlight the text on Irene's page, it comes up white and can be easily read against that red background. I had trouble with it too.

Rose said...

The Woolworths have all been gone in our area for quite a few years; I wonder if there are any left in the US? Like you, Maggie May, I have fond memories of these stores when I was young. The candy counter was a favorite of mine then, with its glass bins of so many different kinds it was hard to choose. Eating lunch at the lunch counter during a day shopping trip was always a treat, since we didn't eat out often.

It's sad to see these familiar places go. You might have had to wait awhile to pay for your purchases, but at least there was always someone to help you, unlike the modern Walmart of today!

Rose said...

I just read all the comments here, Maggie...It was interesting to read so many similar sentiments. But now I'm curious--where is this roast at David's?

Robin said...

Maggie, when I grew up we had a "Dime Store" down the street where you could buy penny candy and maybe everything else. I remember asking for empty cigar boxes to use as pencil boxes. Can you imagine such a thing now?

Pienovski said...

I've just come here over from David's blog. I read your Sunday Roast! Loved it!

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

It does sadden me to see these parts of our lives moving along. I don't know of any left around here. I loved 'dime stores'. I guess Target and Walmart have pretty much taken over the dime store market. Ours always had a lunch counter where you could get a sandwich and wonderful cherry coke. So much has changed. I suppose as we get older there will be many things like this. It's still sad to me.

ladythinker said...

Well if MandySon is to be believed it's farewell to our good old reliable Royal Mail soon.

I used to shop often in Woolies in Sidmouth. Just when you wanted something old fashioned and cheap I'd think Woolies and yes - there it was. the last trip was for a potato masher and several packs of playing cards.. Deep Sigh ..

MarmiteToasty said...

I was trying to explain me lads about Woolworths when I was younger and how each section had its own counter with a shop assistant behind and how the money from the til was put in a tube and sucked up a pipe and along the ceiling to the accounts office upstairs, they just blank stared at me and said that must have been well in the olden days lol

I will miss our Woolworths.... times they are a changing :(

x

MarmiteToasty said...

oh my goodness softinthehead, I remember the freashly roasted peanuts in the little machine that kept them warm lol and cabuary chocolate buttons sold as weigh outs in Woolies.... and the wooden floors..... and when they went over to carpet, how I use to get a static electric shock if I touched anything metal in the shop......

x

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