A recent trip to Brid prompted this.
Johnny used to run a second-hand shop on one of Brid’s back streets. He was a dirty, fat old bloke who used to sit on a stool just inside the doorway. I never saw him get off his perch: he probably couldn’t.
The shop stank of Johnny and contained a cornucopia of tat. If you wanted anything you brought it to Johnny and gave him the money as he sat on his stool. You’d be hygienically challenged to accept any change he’d grubbed about for inside his trouser pocket.
The shop’s gone now; I can’t even remember where it was and what’s replaced it. If this were Chelsea it might be a sushi bar; being Brid, it’s probably a vacant plot or (which is entirely appropriate) a charity shop.
You don’t see many second-hand shops these days, my own theory being that the chazza has killed them off. A second hand shop has to make a profit on the cost of anything they’ve bought off some thieving smackhead; a charity shop’s break-even point is bugger all. So prices can be undercut, meaning there’s bargains to be had; not just bottom end stuff like books for 30p or shirts and trousers for a quid but quality stuff. I got a pair of Loakes brogues in Christchurch (they retail around £200) for a tenner and a submersible pump to irrigate my garden (RRP £69.99 at the Garden Centre) for two quid. And urban myth has it that in posh locations like Cheshire and Harrogate you can get the cast-off wedding dresses of footballers’ WAGs. Who could resist getting spliced in one with ROONEY emblazoned on the back?
There are still second-hand shops making a crust. We have one in my town. But they seem to survive on Fender/Squire guitar copies and air rifles. Come to think of it, I bought a second hand Squire in a chazza for seven quid. I wonder if I could get a tenner for it at the second-hand shop?