When does a shop become a dining room?
Okay, so the store closed its doors (or door) in June 2010 and the question was, how did I feel about that? Well, relieved! It meant no early starts for the family; my sister up at 05:00 to prepare the paper rounds for the delivery boys, my brother in law who’d have to come back from work and get behind the counter so my sister could prepare to go to work, and my mother who’d have to get up early and start baking. Oh, and me, of course, I’d no longer have to give up what precious free time I had to get on with the accounts! YEAH!
Yes, the memory of some of the the selfish dim wits that patronised the store faded fairly quickly. Even the memory of one particular moron who visited the store to settle her account (in the weeks leading up to the store closure). Our conversation went like this, she said, “it’s a shame the store’s closing. I don’t know how everybody else feels about it.” “Well,” I replied, “Most have been quite supportive. They understand that when something’s no longer viable and it starts to affect your health, (my mother was starting to find a whole day’s work somewhat tiring) you have to do something about it.” She looked me square in the eyes and said, “well, if your mother was finding it difficult then maybe you should consider hiring somebody to man the store” I met her gaze and replied, “you obviously haven’t understood me, the shop is losing money, hiring somebody makes no sense.” “Perhaps,” she retorted, “but it’s not just about the money at the end of the day, “it’s about providing a service to the community.” I took a few moments in order to keep my hot-headed Italian temper from boiling over and (and lunging over the counter at her) and said, “yes, well, the community isn’t paying for the service, I am,” and I handed her a receipt. “But thanks for your comments anyway” (otherwise interpreted as you can get your scrawny ass out of here). She took her cue and left but not before reminding me why I wouldn’t feel so bad when the doors finally closed and I was not longer obliged to put up with this ‘type’ of person ever again.
But the question was, what to do with the space next? We talked about all sorts of things. My mother was actually crazy enough to consider a coffee shop, she obviously wasn’t that keen on my pole dancing club idea. Although my sister and I did have a good laugh spreading rumours that this was exactly what we were going to do next. Yes, I know it was evil but we had to do something to distract us from those few who’d actually have the audacity of coming into the store and asking, “so, who will be taking over from you when you leave?” NOBODY! The shop is part of our home, you dopes! Nobody will be taking over. As Michael Jackson said, “this is it.” No more drifting down in your slippers and pyjamas for bacon and the newspaper, no more quibbling over your overcharge of 1p, no more… and it was then that we pretty much concluded that we couldn’t ever work with the public again. No, it was clear, the shop should no longer be a shop, in fact, it shouldn’t be anything for the general public, it should just be a place for us. It would become a new dining room. Somewhere we could entertain our large Italian family, and our friends. But this would require a major remodel of the space….oh well, I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge…and so it began…