Wednesday, January 05, 2005

It's All At Your Co-op Now!

"It's all at your Co-op NOW!"

I heard that TV ad jingle (which actually began in the 1960s) so many times, it feels like part of me! This newspaper ad shows some of the brilliant bargains filling the Co-op shelves for Christmas 1973...

Things look amazingly cheap here - but don't be fooled - people earned a lot less, and decimalisation and inflation meant rapid price rises.

It really was an anxious time. My mother wore a worried frown on shopping trips, as she fumbled in her purse for enough money to cover the price increases since her last trip. With over a million unemployed, my stepfather sweated over his job security.

And belts were pulled in across the land. There were party decades and hangover decades, we were told - and, in this case, the "swinging" 60s had been the party and we were now suffering the hangover.

Good to see Ronnie Corbett in the ad here - he was my favourite of The Two Ronnies. As for the products on display, where do I begin?!

We never drank coffee. My cosmopolitan grandmother did, but my stick-in-the-mud mother didn't - she considered it "foreign" (tea isn't, of course!) and too expensive. And we were as poor as church mice, like a lot of people in the 1970s. Every penny counted.

The Sutherlands Beef Spread makes me smile. We used to have a lot of paste sandwiches when I was a kid - not Sutherlands, though - it was too "dear"!

"What's for lunch, Mum?!"

"Paste sandwiches!"

"What's for tea, Mum?!"

"Paste sandwiches!"

Remember this telly ad jingle?

"Crawfords Cheddars - round and tempting, rich and golden, cheddar cheesy, Crawfords Cheddars, more than thirty, you'll keep coming back for just one more..."

They were YUM!

Crisps were different then. Not as crisp and light, often brown or green hued, and not as delicately flavoured. And Jaffa Cakes! Right from being a tiny tot in the late 1960s, I was the Mad Jaffa Cake Eater of our household.

Funny to look back. My diet underwent a sudden change in the mid 1980s, when fancy foods and dressings suddenly loomed large at my local supermarket and there was a bit of money around, but in the 70s and early 80s we stuck to what we were used to.

And it was very nice.

Most of it.