Exclusive: we reveal what’s really under a shopkeeper’s counter…

Ever wondered what’s really under a shopkeeper’s counter? Go on: admit it. It’s up there with the grail of unsolved trade mysteries, such as:

  • Why does a window cleaner’s bucket never seem to empty?
  • Why do builders never actually have clothes that fit them?
  • Why do ladies on perfume counters always looks as if they have a bad smell under thier nose?
  • What really goes into a doner kebab?

Hey, in a lot of shops you only ever see the top half of the shopkeeper. What if, Morecambe and Wise style, he is wearing a tutu from the waist down? Maybe he’s got a pet under the counter. Or a telly. Or his knitting. You just don’t know, now do you?
Here we seek to dispel any urban myths involving baseball bats and Colt 45s, together with rumours of ‘special reserved items’. Under most shop counters, we have to inform you, is a disappointing mess of undone filing, tools, broken padlocks, trade brochures, remote controls and cleaning equipment. The odd half-eaten snack or cup of cold tea. Some lost property. Thus:

A centuries' old mystery is revealed!


Witness the squirreled-away bag of crystallized ginger to scoff when no-one is looking, the pot of honey ready for back room muesli sessions, the A to Z to help lost tourists, the blackboard chalk for instant daubing when inspiration strikes, the hand gel for the inevitable brush with the great unwashed. Oh and most importantly..the price gun and the box tape. There used to be lollipops as well – until every child in the neighbourhood learnt where they were kept.

The pot of very important things


Every shop has a pot of important things. Scissors, markers, Savlon, plasters, bottle opener, screwdriver. Ink for the till, till rolls, hand cream (have you any idea what handling all that money does to the skin?). A lighter, some broken components awaiting repair, a tape measure. It is always IN THE POT. On the rare occasions that these things are missing from the pot, the whole shop grinds to a standstill until they are located and restored to their correct home.
Every shop also has a mountain of unsolicited and mostly unread price lists and trade brochures. As tradespeople, most shopkeepers will be loath to jettsion these straight away, as someone has gone to the trouble of sending them. And so they gather, under the counter, clutter-clutter-clutter, until the day each year on which the shopkeeper loses his cool and chucks the whole lot in the recycling bag.
Every shop also has little notes everywhere. Stuck to the counter or the till. Ones that say what so-and-so owes, or that Mr. Hum-ti-Tum has ordered this, or that Mr. Whatnot is seeking payment for this invoice or that. The till is a magnet for useless information, phone numbers, paper trails leading nowhere.
So there you go. Now you know. Betcha really disppointed. Sorry and all that.

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