Headaches, iPads and Timpson’s
Posted on October 4, 2013
Tuesday of this week was a pivotal day for me as it was the day when I finally accepted that a Kindle is useless for emailing, networking or blogging. Yes, I have succumbed to the iPad and this morning is the first opportunity I have had to write a blog post from my bed rather than my desk, with the added bonus of having Radio 6 on in the background.
I am doing this because after getting up at 6.00am with a headache that has had me flipping the pillow in search of the cold bit all night long, I decided to email myself to say that I wouldn’t be making it to work today and that I was going back to bed.
Anyway, I have been meaning to write this post all week and now I am skiving I can finally get on with it.
At the back end of last week I was getting ready for work when I snapped my shoe lace. There is nothing as ludicrously irrational as the sinking feeling I get when this happens, it is hardly a catastrophe but it always feels like one. It is like a signal that confirms that I am about to embark on what will ultimately be a bad day.
The only explanation I have for the despair I feel when this happens dates back to playing football in the Basingstoke Sunday League, when a broken lace was the equivalent of an injury. Watching ten team mates conceding a goal as you suck on a frayed lace and attempt to thread it through a muddy hole is not an experience I would recommend if you want to enhance popularity your among your peers.
So, when I went to Sainsbury’s to seek a new pair, I was diverted to a little hut at the bottom of the car park called Timpson. What a cracking little shop that is; I went in looking for shoelaces and came out with shoe polish, laces and passport photographs but without my jacket, which I left for dry cleaning. All those bloody annoying jobs sorted out in one little hut.
Blinded by retail hedonism, it would have been forgivable if I had also purchased a key ring and an engraved house number but somehow I resisted, satisfying myself with the salivating prospect of one day feeling the thrill of snapping a shoe lace and not caring because I have a plethora of spare ones in the kitchen draw.
Timpson’s in Hatch Warren
Isn’t Timpson just a spectacularly old fashioned English name? You can almost imagine a racist 50’s comic book character called “Tommy Timpson Shoots the Smiling Sambo’s” and my immediate and cynical reaction was that it was a name invented by marketing gurus to reach out to the middle classes...”Timpson, a Name You Can Trust (that’s why we chose it)”
Well I was wrong, because the owner of this business is John Timpson and the company dates back to the 1860’s. Like all long established firms there have been a few family bust ups, acquisitions and sell offs along the way but the fact is, Timpson is privately owned by a man who, from what I have read, oozes common decency and respect for his workers.
John Timpson’s motto is that “If you treat your staff well, it is blindingly obvious they will work hard” and it appears that he is true to his word.
Staff at his shops receive final salary pensions, annual bonuses, days off on birthdays and trips to the company’s various holiday homes. Since the Sunday Times started publishing its “Top 100 companies to work for” list, Timpson has always appeared in the top ten.
I find it all rather heart-warming really. To find a shop where the girl was friendly, helpful and working with obvious autonomy rather that adhering to some pathetic corporate company code, would have been just like a breath of fresh air had I not been in a Sainsbury’s car park.
The gut wrenching snap of a shoe lace may never be the same again!