Madeline recounts her shopgirl career

WH 300614 Madeline Jupp is appearing on a Shopgirls programme on BBC2. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140107-102950001
WH 300614 Madeline Jupp is appearing on a Shopgirls programme on BBC2. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140107-102950001
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MADELINE JUPP will appear in a new BBC documentary about the history of shop girls in department stores.

The 82-year-old, of Mill Road, Worthing, started work in the 1950s at the age of 18, and was employed by Peter Robinson in London.

After marrying in 1955, Mrs Jupp moved to Worthing, where she worked part-time at Bentalls in South Street, which is now Beales, for 20 years.

She said: “The Worthing store wasn’t as big as the one in London, it was a different type, but it was a nice store and lots of people came in that I knew. They did look after their staff – it had the feeling of being one big family.

“I do not feel that the younger staff coming into the store today have the training and they have less time to spend with you.

“The retail business today is so changed from when I started in the 1950s.”

Mrs Jupp’s story will be told in the three-part series, Shopgirls: The True Story Of Life Behind The Counter, which chronicles the history of the role of women in department stores.

She said: “Filming for the programme was an interesting experience - they wanted to know all about my career and how it has changed.

“While conditions were certainly different in my day, the staff were treated fairly, working reasonable hours, being paid commission and having on-site nurses, cooked meals and even hairdressers.

“Customer service was the number one priority at these department stores.

“Staff had to be trained for three months before being allowed to approach a customer.

But she said she would not be happy to work in the retail industry in more modern times.

Mrs Jupp said: “I was always trained that the customer is the most important person as without them the shop wouldn’t have the money and would fail. It is so different today where you have to do it with technology.

“You do get some nice assistants who are very, very obliging, it is just a different world now and everything is quicker.”

BBC2’s Shopgirls follows the journey of the shopgirl from an almost invisible figure in Victorian stores, to being the beating heart of our glossy, modern shops. The episode featuring Mrs Jupp will air July 8 at 9pm.