We all had Saturday jobs in the 90s. My first foray into work was Saturday girl in an old lady shop that sold tea-towels and big bras. I think I earned £15 a day which was given to me in a brown envelope at the end of every shift. It was the most money in the world. That with a mix of baby-sitting and waitressing, were my first footsteps into the world of work.
Then when I was 16, in between my obsessions and homework, I managed to hold down a regular evening and weekend job at a popular men’s fashion store in Ilford.
My job came an extension of my social life. I got paid somewhere around £4.50 an hour to talk to ‘fit’ customers, visiting school friends and colleagues, and on occasion, I even folded Tshirts.
Ilford was hardly a style mecca and the men’s shop I worked in was basically the best of a very limited offer. Popular for the choice of Ben Sherman shirts, 501s and Kickers shoes, it tried desperately to be hip and trendy. Management sent us tape cassettes full of eclectic mixes of LL Cool J, St Etienne and the Cardigans – horrible mixes that everyone in the store hated, staff and customers alike.
There was a lot a lot or romance going on in the stock room. I remember taking the rubbish out with a colleague and having an illicit snog in the lift on our way to the big rubbish bins. It was the first time ever I got paid to do something I shouldn’t and it felt great.
Even better was that a lot of mates worked in the neighbouring stores. We’d go and stand over the other’s till and gossip right through lunch-break and then later get dressed for a night out in the mall toilets.
I made so many friends through my Saturday job, that when I look back now, some of those Saturdays and Wednesday evenings, even the Boxing Days and Christmas Eves, these days are as important to me as those spent at school or on nights out. Somewhere subconsciously I was picking up life-skills as well as having a great time with great people. And true story – my husband always asks me to fold his jeans and T-Shirts for him as he likes my ‘professional’ style. All that training finally paid off.
*The 96 diary entry above makes me sound like the ‘bitter bitch’ – not the girl I was referring to. The poor girl had done nothing wrong but be my ex-boyfriend’s next girlfriend. She was actually lovely but I had to maintain an irrational hatred for her. Sorry!
If you’re wondering how much the 90’s high-street has changed from the high-street we love today, the answer’s not much. Sure we lost Our Price and Woolworths, but the River Island, Debenhams, Burger King – the big hitters – they still all reign supreme.
If you like YA and are interested in reading more of my insignificant ramblings, then why not sign up to Beta read my first novel – whooohooo. Who knows, you might just like it (if you hate it then keep it to yourself).