My first one was aged 14 working in Chelsea Girl when clothes shops were known as “boutiques”.
Being under 16, I had to get a special work permit and was only allowed to put in four hours a day.
Every Saturday, I received a crisp one pound note in a brown envelope which worked out at 25p an hour.
When I reached 16 I applied for a Saturday job at BHS and I was living off the fat of the land with my £5.90 pay check for working nine to five.
We were all given a blue and white checked nylon overall and I was let loose on the sweetie counter.
I really enjoyed my time at BHS and have always had a real fondness for the store.
It was where everyone went for their lighting and for “casual” clothes.
Working there on a Saturday allowed me to save up and have my first ever holiday abroad without my mum and dad.
It was a “budget holiday “ special to Greece for £99 for two weeks.
So I was very sad to see the demise of this once great flagship of the high street, which came just before the downfall of yet another shopping stalwart, Austin Reed.
There are various reasons for the unfortunate collapse of both establishments.
Obviously competition from cheaper high street stores like Primark has made a dent, and many more people shop online these days.
Looking at BHS, however, the circumstances are more than somewhat murky.
Ordinary men and women could not only lose their jobs, but could also face losing their pensions due to the greed of various “fat cats”.
Sir Philip Green infamously sold BHS for a pound to Dominic Chappell (who has twice been made bankrupt), but only after it has been claimed Green syphoned off 400 million pounds from the company during the first four years of ownership.
I am frankly baffled by the actions of these tycoons who never seem happy even with the vast quantities of dosh they already own.
How much money do they actually need?
Although there has been some interest from other investors to buy BHS and save at least some of the jobs, it’s a very unsettling and frightening time for the 11,000 people employed by the company.
They must be utterly sickened to see stories of corporate greed unfolding almost every day.
Something stinks and needs to be investigated.
I know from personal experience how hard the BHS employees work, and how loyal they are.
They all deserve better than this.