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Rudely but surely they bedded the plinth of the days to come.
Behind the feet of the Legions and before the Norseman’s ire
Rudely but greatly begat they the framing of State and Shire
Rudely but deeply they laboured, and their labour stand till now.
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Author Topic: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"  (Read 68161 times)

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Ron Stilwell

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #106 on: August 28, 2013, 20:03:58 »
Yes you are right, we also had green leaves separating some of the various meats.

We didn't actually have meat.....only bacon.  The sides were delivered sewn into sacking by the railway company.  Smoked in one and green in the other.  I had to fold all the sacking up and tie it ready for collection at the next delivery.

I hated the large sort of tins that the corned beef came in.  Large at one end and smaller at the other.  I had to open them with a large fixed can opener, and managed to slice my wrist on one of them.  I still have a faint scar after all these years.
Yes, I meant meat, as in cooked meat.

busyglen

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #105 on: August 28, 2013, 19:54:01 »
Yes you are right, we also had green leaves separating some of the various meats.

We didn't actually have meat.....only bacon.  The sides were delivered sewn into sacking by the railway company.  Smoked in one and green in the other.  I had to fold all the sacking up and tie it ready for collection at the next delivery.

I hated the large sort of tins that the corned beef came in.  Large at one end and smaller at the other.  I had to open them with a large fixed can opener, and managed to slice my wrist on one of them.  I still have a faint scar after all these years.

Ron Stilwell

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #104 on: August 28, 2013, 19:13:31 »
Ron Stilwell,  a thought sprung into my mind (apologies if you mentioned it and I've missed it) but we used to put all the meat products in the shop window, which was marble (if I remember correctly) and this was lit by slightly coloured lights which made the meat look pinker. This meant that any sliced, bacon, ham, spam etc. where it was drying out, wouldn't be noticed.  I can remember the manager occasionally taking a few slices off the top of some spam (luncheon meat) and putting it further down.   Or, using the piece of paper to pick some slices up, he would put the top piece on the bottom so that it wouldn't be noticed until the customer was home!!
Yes, you're absolutely right in all of that.  In addition there were dividers with plastic green leaves that went in between the meat to make it look more rustic.

busyglen

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #103 on: August 28, 2013, 18:50:58 »
Ron Stilwell,  a thought sprung into my mind (apologies if you mentioned it and I've missed it) but we used to put all the meat products in the shop window, which was marble (if I remember correctly) and this was lit by slightly coloured lights which made the meat look pinker. This meant that any sliced, bacon, ham, spam etc. where it was drying out, wouldn't be noticed.  I can remember the manager occasionally taking a few slices off the top of some spam (luncheon meat) and putting it further down.   Or, using the piece of paper to pick some slices up, he would put the top piece on the bottom so that it wouldn't be noticed until the customer was home!!

 

Offline Lyn L

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #102 on: August 28, 2013, 17:58:38 »
Busyglen... we use our local Asda, I think that the only 'thing' that doesn't get moved is the Polish stuff  :) it's always in exactly the same place even if nigh on everything else has shifted. I must admit it drives me barmy when they have a reshuffle, I know what I want and think these days with money being tight, most people think the same way. I quite understand the reasoning obviously, but they do it so often. Just remembered, another thing that doesn't seem to change places is shoe polish  :)
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life tryi

Ron Stilwell

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #101 on: August 28, 2013, 17:15:42 »
Mr Barnes, the District Manager, would come round every week or so to write off unsaleable items.  This would include ‘blown’ tins, damaged packages, and perishable food that was past its best.
Were there any general guidelines as to when a type of food, as opposed to individual items, became unsaleable – for example, cheese not to be sold after x days – or was it left entirely to the manager (or customers refusing to buy, for that matter)? I can’t help feeling that the present system of dating food leads to a lot of waste because somewhere along the line someone who ‘knows’ has decided that a certain food can safely be kept for a month, then that is halved to be safe, and so on. I don’t throw anything away that is less than a week past its ‘use-by’ date (unless one of my daughters discovers it!)

How much discretion did the local manager have in setting prices? If he found a nearby competitor was selling something cheaper, was he allowed to adjust his prices accordingly?
Basically that would be up to the provision manager.  With cheese, it would certainly never be in the fridge, and in my opinion always tastes much better having not been refrigerated. With Cheddar and other cheeses of that type, the only thing to worry about was that it would go dry.  That was why unused pieces would get covered in greaseproof paper until needed.  With cheeses such as gorgonzola, they improved with age, getting really tasty as time went on.  Cooked meat was a problem of course.  That had to be watched, but generally 'drying out' would be the greatest danger, after cutting.  Usually we would slice enough for the time of day and the rest would be in the fridge.  Eggs lasted a very long time.  We would test them if sales were slow.  There was a vast amount of difference in the seasons, once the tourist season was gone, things would have to last much longer, and things, especially bacon.  Things like bacon knuckles would pile up in the winter.
As for prices, that would be up to the District Manager to set levels. 

busyglen

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #100 on: August 28, 2013, 17:13:30 »
The mention of knowing where to look for items in the supermarket, reminded me of my trek around a local one this week.  I know mostly where things are (even if they change them around sometimes just to fool us)  but I happened to look up in one of the aisles and catch sight of POLISH. I knew I wanted furniture polish, so I walked up the aisle looking from left to right and could not see it.  I thought it was a bit odd as most of the items were of the food variety, not cleaning.  I went down towards where I suspected it would be and asked a staff member and she directed me.  I said that I couldn't see why they had decided to put it in a food aisle, and then changed there mind, but left the sign up.  When I explained, she laughed and said that's not Polish as in furniture polish......it's POLISH as in the Polish people!!  That told me! :)

Offline peterchall

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #99 on: August 28, 2013, 16:26:21 »
Mr Barnes, the District Manager, would come round every week or so to write off unsaleable items.  This would include ‘blown’ tins, damaged packages, and perishable food that was past its best.
Were there any general guidelines as to when a type of food, as opposed to individual items, became unsaleable – for example, cheese not to be sold after x days – or was it left entirely to the manager (or customers refusing to buy, for that matter)? I can’t help feeling that the present system of dating food leads to a lot of waste because somewhere along the line someone who ‘knows’ has decided that a certain food can safely be kept for a month, then that is halved to be safe, and so on. I don’t throw anything away that is less than a week past its ‘use-by’ date (unless one of my daughters discovers it!)

How much discretion did the local manager have in setting prices? If he found a nearby competitor was selling something cheaper, was he allowed to adjust his prices accordingly?
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline Lyn L

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #98 on: August 28, 2013, 15:12:16 »
What despicable goings on back then  :) :) Understand that completely. I love all your accounts RS.
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life tryi

Ron Stilwell

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #97 on: August 28, 2013, 11:47:03 »
Ron
It's been an education reading your blogs,as promised I won't bother you any more.
Thanks,one of the rats  :)
Please bother as much as you like.  It's fun.

Ron Stilwell

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #96 on: August 28, 2013, 11:46:22 »
Part fourteen:

The 1953 storm had affected the shop quite badly, completely flooding the cellar.  Although I wasn’t there myself at that time it was quite graphically described to me by Mr. Christian, the manager.  Arriving at the shop to find the cellar many feet deep in water, he quickly mobilized all the staff - not to rescue stock, but to start throwing it into the water!
Always ready to take advantage of a situation, he quickly realised that here was a golden opportunity to get some credit for damaged stock.  Any item in dubious condition, such as poor quality bacon was thrown in.  They took collapsed boxes of items such as soap powder, re-assembled them, put a few packs of soap powder inside them and threw them in as well.
All sorts of items went into the floodwater, with the idea that when the shop inspector arrived to assess the damage he would count the floating items and write out a credit note.
By all accounts the subterfuge worked.  When the inspector arrived that morning the water was beginning to smell, the lights were off and there was very little chance of him going very far down the cellar steps in his posh suit for a close examination.  Mr Christian and his assistants were down at water level, fishing around with the shop awning pole, calling out items for the inspector to write down.
Mr Barnes, the District Manager, would come round every week or so to write off unsaleable items.  This would include ‘blown’ tins, damaged packages, and perishable food that was past its best.  He would write out a credit note listing 'blown' tins, rotten tomatoes, broken eggs, mouldy cheese and smelly bacon.
Once the District Manager had gone, we would retrieve much of it from the dustbins, and store it in a box in the cold-room down in the cellar, ready to be brought out for credit again the following week.
That is not to say that we threw much away if we could help it.  The District Manager would ‘mark down’ lots of damaged stock to be sold at reduced prices.  That included dented tins, broken biscuits, and soft or bruised fruit and vegetables.  Our finest Jersey tomatoes became ‘cooking tomatoes’ once they had become a bit squashy, and would only be put out to be written-off if they were completely inedible.

Offline Signals99

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #95 on: August 28, 2013, 11:45:04 »
Ron
It's been an education reading your blogs, as promised I won't bother you any more.
Thanks, one of the rats  :)

Ron Stilwell

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #94 on: August 28, 2013, 11:31:24 »
Ron,
Absolutely fascinating, now, one more question and I promise not to bother you any more :)
Did you ever work in a supermarket. If so, can you answer a question that really bugs me?
Why, oh why do they keep moving things about ???? I just get used to where things are and, lo and behold, it's all moved, it really confuses us oldies.
I asked in Sainsburys once, the answer was a condescending look and " if Sir has a problem I can get someone to assist you". Oh for the days of a friendly shop assistant, plus white apron and a "good morning sir, can I help you". Alas, gone with Vyes, Home and Colonial, Maypole and David Griegs,
Ah well! time moves on so must we. :)
I did do a short spell in a Vyes that had been converted to a small supermarket, in Paddock Wood.  It was what decided me to go into another field of work!  After all, it was my mother who decided I was to become a shop assistant.
As for moving the stock around, this is where 1984 and Big Brother come into play (Not the TV thing!).  Those cameras all around the stores are not there just to pick up shop-lifters.  They are there to observe your shopping habits.  The direction you go around the store is carefully monitored to make sure the majority of customers use as many aisles as possible to insure you impulse buy as much as possible.  The changes are made as necessary.  Special 'Offers' are moved around to attract your attention to various areas.  A careful note is made of the seasons and all other outside factors that influence your buying habits, and then the items are moved around to suit.  As I said, all to make sure you see as much as possible in your tour around the shop.  They don't care if a few people give up and rush to the checkout - they are after the bigger picture, which they get from watching the way the rats use the maze!

Offline Signals99

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #93 on: August 28, 2013, 11:23:56 »
Bully beef.
Hi, I actually liked bully beef, mostly came in the five man "combo" packs in my service days - there were breakfast packs; luncheon packs; plus one other I can't recall. Each box (pack) could be identified by a playing card symbol -ace of spades was a main meal pack etc.
I was told it got the name 'bully' after the guy who introduced it to the British Army, a General Sir Redvers Buller, but I have a feeling I will know the full story very soon, knowing my learned friends on the KHF?


Ron Stilwell

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Re: Vyes "The Kentish Grocer"
« Reply #92 on: August 28, 2013, 11:16:49 »
Regarding corned beef, is that the same as 'bully beef' so familiar to soldiers?

Yes, it certainly is.

 

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