He told her that she would need one of the shop’s lanyards. He pointed to his photographic image on his ID and asked whether she had any objection to having her photo on her ID. She told him that she’d have no problem. He led her upstairs to a room at the front to take her photo and explained that they sometimes took customers’ passport photos there. She stood against a neutral grey background while he took the shot and printed off a set of four images passport-style. He cut them into four separate photos and gave two to her. He told her that one would be attached to her staff record and the other for her lanyard ID card. He asked how she wanted her name to appear – Melissa, Mel or Ms Harrington. She told him to record it as Mel.
She quickly got the hang of things and, by the time the shop opened, she and Jamie had finished opening, recording and storing new stock. He explained to her that they never got much footfall on Mondays, and they sorted and looked through the post together while Lucy pottered around the shopfloor checking the displays and dealing with the occasional caller.
Jamie and Mel then spent most of the remainder of the morning going around the shop to familiarise her with the displays and how stock was rotated – and replaced as required when sold. Mel thoroughly enjoyed learning about the selling features of cameras and accessories that were new to her since graduation. She hadn’t been able to afford to upgrade her own equipment since leaving university. Mentally, she was working out what she’d like to be able to buy as soon as she had some money. Jamie noticed her interest and told her about the staff discount she’d be entitled to.
Leading off from that, he explained the principles and systems for valuing customers’ trade-in equipment against their purchase of new equipment. For the time being, he explained, that would remain the responsibility of himself or Lucy. He told her that Tony, his dad, seldom got involved in shopfloor transactions except in his or Lucy’s absence. His dad dealt mainly with suppliers and the accounts and general management of the business.
Every now and then she had a moment to chat at the counter with Lucy and Jamie.
‘What do you do for enjoyment?’ Lucy asked.
‘I go out as often as I can, taking photographs. Lucy,’ she said,’ My camera is pretty well an extension of my hand: using it has become second nature’
‘I once saw a camera like the one you told us about,’ Jamie said. ‘It looked as if it weighed a ton.’
‘It’s not that bad,’ Mel said, ‘I’m used to it. Anyway, it’s all I could afford for university – it was cheap second-hand. I bet that some of the images I get with it are clearer than with anything you have in here.’ She swept her arm around to indicate the digital cameras and lenses.
‘Having said that,’ she conceded, ‘Every single photo that I take with it has to be carefully thought about. Film is really expensive and so is processing. It’s not like the digital kit you sell, where you can rip off a volley of shots without worrying if a few are out of focus or badly exposed.’
‘Hmm!’ Jamie said, ‘We can’t have you converting our customers to go back to film cameras.’ He laughed.
‘We do sell some film cameras, Mel,’ Lucy said,’ you must have seen them for sale as secondhand in the window. There are still some customers trading them in because of that very convenience of lower running costs you mentioned. And the difference in image quality isn’t that great.’
Mel conceded Lucy’s argument.
‘I know,’ she replied, ‘but it’ll take me quite some time to save up for one of those.’ She pointed to some top of their class full-frame cameras.
‘What type of camera do you use, Jamie?’ she asked.
‘Oh, I just use a smartphone,’ he confessed. ‘I’m not a photographer. None of us are. There’s only my great-grandad, Duncan who knows how to take photographs like the ones you’re talking about
The photo that I’ve chosen today is the sixth of the series that I’ll be posting in this part of my daily blog in this part of the page. As I said previously, the series is based on a walk that I did on the 19th April along the bank of the Leeds to Liverpool canal between Burscough Bridge and the ‘Ring O’Bells’ pub just over a mile away. I did the walk in both directions, accompanied by my daughter’s dog, Ted.
Today I’ve chosen an image that I took of a signpost at the Rufford Branch junction with the main canal. The EXIF data are as follows: Camera used was my 24 MP Pentax KP cropped sensor camera paired with a Pentax 28-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 full-frame lens. The shutter speed was 1/500 secs @ f/7.1 and 105 mm. The ISO was 100. The shot was handheld.