Medieval trading practices – 2020!

When the world goes wrong, we revert to basics… no more self-service. Back to counter service only. I remember greengrocers beautifully displaying their wares, shiny apples to the front, perfect lettuces, radishes and potatoes to the back.  Touch them – you received a metaphorical slapped wrist.

Blaggs Hardware shop serving from their counter

Blaggs in Heaton Moor Road has been trading as a hardware and ironmongers’ shop for over a century.  In their house (built 1904), my next door neighbours have an original servant’s bell system supplied by this very company.

However, corona virus has resulted  in Blaggs changing their service to medieval trading practices – with a twentieth first century twist. Instead of entering the shop, a customer waited outside.  

Flashback more than half a millennium to the middle ages – this is what traders did then.  Instead of a counter, they dropped their window shutter into the street and, supported by ropes, their shutter transformed into a counter.  Wares were displayed on this or a table inside their workroom visible from the street.  In some parts of the world, Vietnam for instance,  it’s still often very similar.

The modern twist at Blaggs?  No cash or coins – only contactless!

Sadly, as I write this, Blaggs closed their doors to personal customers but are delivering to local customers.    Flashback again to when they first opened in the early Edwardian age. Then, they employed a delivery boy with hand cart or, if he were very lucky, a bicycle.