Story Starter: Corner Shop Till

Photo: Shirley Blair

Did you think I’d forgotten? Story Starter is very late this week, simply because I’ve had a busy time reading stories and serial instalments, writing to those lucky contributors whose work I wanted to buy to share with People’s Friend readers. I’ve also – ta da – started work on the organisation of the next set of writing workshops – about which more later.

Back to the Story Starter image for now. It’s an old till, as you can see. What vintage, do you think? I wonder what stories this one could tell. And I wonder how many of us ever actually used one like this?

This one has the manufacturer’s name “National” on it – and I wonder if it was produced by the National Cash Register Co. who used to have a huge manufacturing plant right here in Dundee. But in fact the photograph was taken on a recent trip to Amsterdam. I can’t quite make out what currency it might ring up.

The till had pride of place in the window of a fascinating old curio shop tucked away in a corner of the spider’s web of narrow streets that criss cross the city’s famous canals. The shop seemed to specialise in ancient hardware as you can see from the rusty tools at the side there. You can’t help wondering how much business they do.

Incidentally, I was also intrigued by a different little shop that sold nothing but rubber ducks! All differently decorated, but all the basic same yellow duck.  And the shop didn’t take cash – payment by card only. Again I wondered about how they stayed in business. Is there a huge unsuspected demand for rubber ducks in Amsterdam?

Anyway, again, back to the Story Starter. I’ll be fascinated to see what kind of stories this image prompts. I’m still mostly looking for lengths of 2000 or 3000 words. We use lots of them over the course of the weekly and the specials, and far fewer at 1200 words.

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