WHEN I was a teenager I’d walk down to the garage just outside our village and sit with my friend who had a part-time job manning the petrol pumps. Every time a car pulled in, up she jumped and ran out to fill it up.
It was easier then, not having to get your hands dirty. And now pump attendants are coming back – reintroduced by Shell at some of its garages. They will even check your tyres. How great is that? Creating jobs and saving motorists time.
New innovations are all well and good, but sometimes you just have to admit, certain things were better in the old days.
So why stop there? Now is surely the time to bring back bus conductors.
Not only did having someone on board taking the cash mean that services ran on time – I’m sick of people boarding at peak commuter times and wrangling for 15 minutes with the driver over change or routes – but it also meant that order was preserved. You didn’t get people taking over the three back rows for an on-bus party, or teenagers (adults too, sometimes) resting dirty trainers on seats, or families chucking sticky coke cans and McDonald’s wrappers on the floor.
Cinema ushers and usherettes should be given another chance.
As they led you in, walking ahead in their braided suits and hats, flashing their little torches, the experience felt special. And they policed the place, ticking people off for talking, or fooling around. People knew they had to behave. There was no danger of them throwing popcorn, or slurping drinks.
And what about lift attendants? Most department stores had them and they were brilliant. I can still picture the little man who sat in the lift in Binns department store, in Middlesbrough. As well as moving the elevator for you, he recounted the list of what was on each floor. If times have moved on, why do we now have to do these things ourselves?
A few things I thought we’d seen the back of have made a comeback. Small high street supermarkets – although sadly they all happen to be Tesco or Asda – are re-emerging, and banks have begun bringing services once farmed out to foreign call centres, back to the high street.
People want to revive all sorts of things. A glance on the web puts British Rail high on the list. I don’t have great memories of BR – waiting forever on Darlington Station for trains that took 15 hours to reach King’s Cross. And only a fool would want to bring back the legendary BR sandwich.
National Service too is something many people want to see reintroduced. That was before my time, but I’m sure my daughters would benefit.