Working Lives

Happy Families at Jarrolds

Location: Norwich

Myra, following in her father’s footsteps, recalls her time working at Jarrolds.

My father, Ken Sargent, worked as a dispatch worker at Jarrolds. I’d gone to the Hewett School and later on, when I was twenty and had my baby daughter, I began working there myself. I was living in Lakenham with my father and my mother, Violet, and my sister, Beryl Rosemary.  Initially it was an opportunity for me to earn money for Christmas, at a place where my father enjoyed working, and it enabled me to go out and socialise and be more independent of my parents.

I began in the toy department and my main duties were maintaining stock levels on the shop floor, helping and serving customers, and demonstrating battery toys, talking dolls, rocking horses and building Lego constructions.  The children loved it.

There were about seven staff who each had their own special areas. I worked from 9.00am to 5.00p.m.

I became the main cashier on the till, ensuring all monies handled were correct and that all the customer accounts were kept up to date. I also had to deal with customers’ complaints about goods and returns. There were usually returns after Christmas. It was company policy to give a refund. I had to learn to handle large sums of cash and bag it up at end of trading. It was usually alright!

At Christmas time the toy floor was always very busy and I gained a lot of pleasure seeing the children getting very excited. Mr Richard Jarrold often helped out in the department when we were busy.

I met many Norwich City footballers and their families, including Kevin Keelan and Graham Paddon.

During the short time I was there the old lift was removed and the new ones installed. I think the biggest changes were improving and modernising the store and, of course, the introduction of decimalisation.  I found it so much easier, especially giving receipts for staff discount.

I really enjoyed the friendliness of all, from the owners to the cleaners. We all worked as one big family. I occasionally met my colleagues at a local cafe or pub, but not very often. I did make friends but failed to stay in touch although I have bumped into them since.

I didn’t like the very early lunch break at 11.30am, or getting stock from the old stock room above the lift.

Jarrolds is as much a part of Norwich as the Castle. Speaking to people who live away, they always mention Jarrolds and what a lovely store it is!

Myra talking to WISEArchive in January 2006.

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