Thursday, 11 December 2008

Picking the carcass at Woolies

I suppose I should pay homage to the jumbled up mess of crud that has become Woolworths, as it vanishes from our high streets.

I used Woolworths. Five years ago, it was a convenient half-way stop back to the car at the shopping centre. Here I bought Thomas the Tank Engine toys. Three at a time.

Not that I wanted to. I am a woman in my forties and each Thomas toy cost me a fiver. However, it was an easy solution to a horrible problem.

There was a point when pushing the triple buggy became too much for my weedy arms. Squirrel, Shark and Tiger were not exactly delicate and fragile babies. Here's one.*

About the age of two they became enormously plump and heavy. They looked like miniature washer women from Halifax. Pushing one of these bumpers was an ordeal. Pushing three in a triple buggy was a task of which Hercules probably said, Sod that. I'll do the stables job instead.

The solution was that Squirrel, Shark and Tiger had to walk, like it or not. The response was usually not. Grit, being a crafty child manager, knew that small children with little fat legs could manage so far and then would need encouragement. Carrying three at one, using electronic motors, strapping on rocket propulsion or administering discreet kicking were all out of the question. Instead, I detoured through Woolies and bought three Thomas toys.

Crucially - and apart from being the adored and wonderful Thomas for whom we would sell our souls to possess and chew his lovely face off - these toys had wheels.

From then on, the progress to the car was straightforward. I would rip open the packaging and give Thomas, Henry, James, each a firm shove, sending them careering forty miles an hour towards Debenhams, where the car was parked. Behind them would hurtle, screaming with delight, Squirrel, Shark and Tiger.

This technique had the added benefit of causing the crowds to part, Red Sea style, for fear of being annihilated by three small torpedos, totally oblivious to all the world except the departing rear ends of Thomas and all his little chums. For me, I just enjoyed seeing the childless women in heels run.

And those are my fond memories of Woolies. And this, my kind farewell.

* OK, that was just an excuse for a cute baby shot. But she's my cute baby, dammit.


The Finely Tuned Woman said...

There is nothing sadder than a half empty, going out of business store. Except for the incredible deals you can get.

You must have had your hands more than full with triplets. I see you as a mother hen herding her chicks back to the safety of the coop.

It must have been a sight to behold, you and those three little pudgy darling toddlers. No wonder the crowd parted.

Anonymous said...

I think it's sad about Woollies. There hasn't been one in my town for about a decade, but I used to love it as a kid, you could get everything in there - records, make-up, t-shirts with Billy Idol on them (yes, I still own this!) - there was even a little cafe at one point, long before there was one in every bookstore. Oh, yeah, you could get books in there, too. Brilliant shop in its heyday, in my opinion.

Cute picture! :)

Lynn said...

I was in Woolies at the weekend reminiscing.I used it quite a lot when I was around 11/13 I had fond memories of my best friend and I wandering the aisles trying to find something to spend our meagre pocket money on and we always found something:-) Really quite sad to see it go.xx

Lynn said...

Oh forgot to say cute photo :-) xx

Michelle said...

I sent into Woolies and couldn't find any bargains. Picked up a pack of laminating pockets, but then put them down as don't actually have a need to laminating pockets and it was only 20% off. Reckon I could find cheaper online anyway.

So walked out empty handed.

Then went into Wilkos which is all Woolies used to be (without the cafe). Even has the pick and mix that someone said was unique to Woolies. Not that I ever did the pick and mix thing, but Wilkos still has theirs.

Personally don't think Woolies will be missed in reality as much in nostalgia.

Ruth said...

I picked up a couple of things before they said they were having a closing down sale. The discounts were the same, there just wasn't the public admission that it was all over. Couple of packs of plain children's t-shirts (handy for decorating), couple of packs of multi-coloured pipe cleaners, one Kung Foo Panda Tigress toy (guess who picked that out).

Really no great loss except that the departure of Woolies leaves our town with no toy shop. Their toys weren't wonderful except for the Lego section but they were at least within walking distance.

mamacrow said...

aw! cute chubby todler!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

i have sent woolies xmas cards this year, with no mention of a charity on the back. i did feel bad, but then felt it was my act of homage to a national institution. and i have cunningly kept a pack to flog on ebay in 10 years time. cunning me.

SUCH a cute photo, and the one above showing the matured version.

have fab xmas sweet grit, see you in 2009, perhaps i'll just throw my espresso out the window and start home edding as well? if the euro keeps inflating like sarko's ego and the company stops paying the school fees...i might have to!!!

love and hugs,#

Brad said...

And who do we have there? I'm guessing from the devilish smile that's Tiger.

Grit said...

see you in 2009, pig! and brad, you are right.