As a schoolboy, I put my name down at the newsagents to take on a paper round when a vacancy occurred. I did get called on once or twice to stand in when one of the regulars was away, but I never did get a round of my own. I was complaining one day about being short of cash when our next-door neighbour told me that her sister, a supermarket manager, was looking for a schoolboy shelf-stacker to work after school on Fridays and Saturday mornings. That sounded to me considerably better than having to struggle out of bed in the early mornings, often before dawn, and take a three-quarters of an hour walk in all weathers, so I hied me down to Bellman's (the supermarket) post-haste and was taken on to start that very week.
I was put on the dairy food section. This involved me taking a box of half-pound packs of butter from the walk-in fridge, stamping each pack with the correct price (no bar codes in those days!) and replenishing the chiller counter, always remembering the need for correct rotation. Hardly the most exacting work mentally, but even if I did have to go into the fridge on cold days, it was way better than a paper round.
There were two or three other boys employed as well, but otherwise it was an all-female staff of till operators and shelf-stackers. Except for one man, the general factotum-cum-odd-job-man-cum-cleaner. He was a man of mature years (remember, I was a teenager so he might have only been in his 40s), an Irishman. One day, Paddy (yes, that really was what we called him) told me that he didn't like walking on Saturdays.
"But," I replied, "the buses run on Saturdays just like the rest of the week. Why do you have to walk?"
"Oi don't mean walking," he responded. "Oi mean working."