‘You sound as if you’re making plans for a future with him,’ Stacy said, ‘That’s not like you.’
‘Well, okay,’ Mel said, ‘It is still early days – and I’m not ready to start looking at wedding dresses; but it was different; he’s different. Right now, I do feel hope. Is that wrong?’
‘God! No!’ Stacy said, ‘I’m made up for you. It’s fantastic hearing you say that. I’d been giving up on you ever being satisfied with a fella. Give him a chance if you feel like that. I’m glad that Connor and me are taking the risk.’
The conversation moved on to Stacy’s wedding plans, before she had to leave to go shopping with Connor.
Changes in the shop
Tony wasted no time. He needed Jamie to get his teeth into developing their online business. They were already behind the curve. Other specialist camera shops were becoming quite well established online and he realised that the nature of retail business in general was changing. The whole future of the High Street as a concept was being questioned. He was still getting customers coming into the shop and buying there and then, but there was a suspicious rise in the numbers of those who were looking at the equipment yet leaving without making a purchase. He wondered how many had come in just to confirm a choice before buying online.
By the Monday following the meal that Mel and Jamie had enjoyed together, there was a notice in the shop window advertising for an assistant. The card was the same advert that had attracted Mel’s interest six months previously. By the following Monday there had been four applicants whom Tony and Mel had interviewed – none of those had shown potential.
Mel, of course, had never had to interview anyone for a job in her life. She’d been worried how she’d cope. In the event, Tony had asked all the questions during the first couple of interviews, leaving Mel to think about factors such as personality. By the third interview, she was getting a feeling for what to look for in a candidate and Tony had invited her to ask her own questions.
On the Wednesday of the next week, a young man walked in, asking about the job. Mel phoned Tony and then asked Jamie if he could takeover while she interviewed the applicant.
His name was Marcus, a thirty-seven-year-old former manager in a shop that had recently gone into administration. He was taller than Tony and smartly dressed. He’d been looking for a similar job, but few shops were recruiting, other than for temporary staff ready for Christmas.
He clearly had the retail skills, he seemed to have the right personality and was willing to start at once. He lived locally and, by now, he’d realised that he wasn’t going to get another retail management role anytime soon. His only knowledge of cameras, however, was from using an upmarket point and shoot model.
Mel had noticed that Marcus was very good looking, with a good head of dark hair – neatly cut – and brown eyes. He had a local accent; his voice was pleasant to listen too and his diction was clear. His cheerful smile revealed nice teeth. From his build, Mel inferred that he kept himself fit. He might know nothing about cameras, but he had retail experience and the kind of personality that customers would respond well to.
Tony asked him whether he’d be prepared to wait downstairs with Jamie while he conferred with Mel. He agreed and Mel led him back downstairs, explaining to Jamie what was happening.
When she returned to Tony they quickly agreed that Marcus was probably the best they were likely to get. The only question was what to pay him. They agreed to up the starting pay a bit and to make him an offer.
When Mel brought him back upstairs and explained their decision, Marcus thought for a moment, asked a few questions about the probationary period, then accepted. He’d start work the following Monday.
By mid-October, Marcus was proving to be fully competent once Mel had spent some time explaining and demonstrating the features and benefits of the various types of goods and services sold by the shop. Tony and Jamie had managed the shop together on two days when Mel took Marcus out to make sure that he fully understood some of the underlying principles of photography.
Jamie couldn’t help feeling jealous about Mel being out alone with such a good-looking guy. They were going to be spending a lot of time together in the shop.
As soon as Tony, Jamie and Mel were all happy that Marcus was able to be trusted with dealing with customers without assistance, Jamie moved into his new role.
More of Liverpool. I said that I’d intended to do try my hand at street photography. I did manage to bring back a few shots. Today’s photo is of a woman photographing her companion posing against a lambanana. In the background is the Port of Liverpool building and the black modern structure that overlooks Canning Dock. The building behind the woman is the Museum of Liverpool. I had asked permission to take the photo.
For all the street shots, I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera twinned with a Pentax 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 mm lens at an ISO of 100. The EXIF data for this photo were 1/160 secs @ f/5.6 and 18 mm.