The Stationery Shop
Richards was a fat old woman who helped her husband run a shop of
stationery items. Both husband and wife had their little store on
the high street of the village of ‘Green Meadows’. They kept their
shop closed in the weekends, opened late in the mornings of weekdays
and closed early. Their shop was just opening at eleven, on Monday
morning, when Myra arrived.
She came in with her
son Billy. “I want a box of pencils, a ruler, some erasers and sharpeners.
Do be quick Mrs. Richards. I have other shopping to do.” “Please
sit down Myra. I will get your things in a moment,” said Mr. Richards.
“Well hurry up man. I do not have the whole day,” replied Myra rudely.
Poor Mr. Richards went about getting the items ready for his customer.
It took him a couple of minutes. By the time the bill was made Myra
was really irritated. “It seems Mr. Richards, from now on I will
need to spend one hour for every purchase I make in your shop. Really
you two oldies need to hire help or shut down shop,” said Myra insolently.
“Come on Billy. Are you going to stay in here forever?” “Coming
mommy,” Billy said pushing a pile of exercise books with his feet.
Mr. Richards had to put back the fallen copies where they were kept
against the desk. It was a big pile and he huffed and puffed getting
“How I wish
we could afford to hire a young person to help in the shop,”
spoke Mrs. Richards. “You know we cannot dear. Don’t worry,
we will manage.” ‘Yes but what about the types like Myra?
If we get some more like her, we will not be able to cope,”
Mr Richards put his arm
around his wife’s shoulders affectionately.
Both the poor
dears were kind hearted souls, but did not make much in the
shop. They led a very simple life and only dreamt of luxuries
which they could never afford. Since it was the beginning
of the year, children needed books and stationery for their
new classes. There was a rush in the shop and the old couple
got really tired by the time they got back home.
On Monday, the truck
of new supplies arrived. Tom, the driver, got down and unloaded
all the stuff outside the shop. Mr. Richards was just planning to
start taking things inside the shop, when a boy of about fourteen
“Hi! Mr. Richards.
My name is Ted. I have just moved into this village with my parents.
I wonder if you need help in your shop? I finish school at 2. I
could come and help you from 3 to 6.” “I wish I could hire you son,
but you see, I cannot afford to pay salary right now. We don’t make
much running this shop,” answered the old man regretfully. “I don’t
want any money Mr. Richards. My folks are well off. I just love
reading and want to be around books. If I could sit and read in
the shop during breaks, I will have my compensation,” said the boy.
“Well that’s not possible too. I don’t have many story books in
my shop. There are mostly stationery items here.” “Well, how about
starting a section on story books for children? I am sure kids would
love to buy them.” “Come inside and meet my wife. If she agrees,
we will start the new section.” Mrs. Richards loved Ted’s idea.
“You are hired boy. Do you want to start from today?”
Ted nodded his agreement
and helped to carry the items that were stacked outside, into the
shop. He arranged everything tidily on the shelves and served the
customers who came. Mr. Richards sat at the counter taking money
and giving back change and Mrs. Richards made tea for the three
of them in the small kitchen at the back of the shop. While having
tea and biscuits Ted asked, “When is your supply man coming next
Mr. Richards?” He will come on Friday Ted. What are your plans?”
“Wait till Friday,” replied Ted, eating his biscuit. On Friday,
when Tom arrived, Ted had a talk with him. “Mr. and Mrs. Richards
are starting a new section in their store. They will sell story
books for children. Could you get a couple of illustrated story
books for different ages, when you come next time?” “Sure can Teddy
boy. I’ll keep your request in mind. Bye for now. Cheerio folks,”
waved Tom getting into his truck.
The week passed. Ted
came every day at 3 and stayed till closing time. He also helped
the couple close shop before going home. On Wednesday morning, Ted’s
parents visited the shop. “Hi! I am Ted’s mother and this is his
dad. Ted has told us all about you. He is very happy helping you
out. He says he has read all the story books in your store but more
will be coming soon.” “Our boy is a real book worm, Mr. Richards,”
joined Ted’s dad smiling. The couple shook hands and offered snacks
and cold drinks. “I must say, Ted is amazing. He is such a nice
helpful boy. We are very glad to have him here. As soon as our sales
increase, we will fix a salary for Ted.” “You don’t need to do that.
Ted doesn’t need money. He loves helping you and reading during
breaks.” “Well it will be a long time before we hand over some pocket
money to Ted. Sales are not very good at the moment, but Ted seems
to think that if we add story books in our store, sales will increase,”
spoke Mr. Richards. “I am sure it will. Well, we will be leaving
now. Goodbye.” “Please drop in again any time you want.” “We will.”
Ted’s parents went on their way. On Friday, Tom arrived in his truck.
Ted had come early from school to meet the truck of supplies. When
the story books were unpacked, Ted got busy arranging two shelves
in which to store them.
When customers arrived,
Ted showed them the story books. In the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Hope
came to the shop. They loved the new section of storybooks for children.
“I am going to buy two of your story books for our son Tony. I am
sure he will love reading them.” In the next few weeks, most of
the story books had been sold. Order for the next supply was given
by Mr. Richards. ‘We are so grateful to you Ted for improving sales
in our shop. Thank you,” beamed the happy couple. “We will start
giving you some pocket money from next month Ted. You have been
a wonderful friend to us.” “It is quite alright Mr. Richards. You
don’t need to do that,” Ted said putting back some books onto the
shelves behind him. “We will love to give you some lad. It will
make us happy. Don’t worry. It won’t be much. We are saving some
cash to make repairs to our house.”
Next month, Ted thanked
the couple for his pocket money. Christmas was just a few months
away. Ted came to the shop at three with a new idea in his mind.
“Hi! Mrs. Richards! Where is your husband?” asked Ted. Just then,
the door opened with a jingle and Mr. Richards walked in. “Were
you looking for me Ted?” he asked. “Yes, I wanted to talk to you
both. Since Christmas is approaching, why don’t we start a section
on greeting cards? I hear people go to the next small town to get
greeting cards. We can start with Christmas and New Year cards and
go on to birthdays and anniversaries. What do you think about this?”
“Well, it is a good idea boy, but how will we choose which cards
we want,” asked Mr. Richards. “I can go to the wholesale shop in
the next town with Tom, when he comes. I’ll choose the cards and
place the order. Tom can bring them back with the other supplies
when he comes.” “How will you get back from the town Ted.” questioned
Mrs. Richards worriedly. “Oh! I’ll take a bus. Don’t worry about
that.” “Well you will have to take permission from your folks first
Teddy my boy,” Mr. Richards advised.
So next time Tom came,
he gave Ted a lift in his truck. When Ted came back, he was full
of news. “The cards were lovely. They will sell like hot cakes.
Just wait till Tom gets them for us.” Next week, the greeting cards
arrived in great big bundles. Ted got busy arranging them. Old Mrs.
Barbara came the next day. She sat in a chair and took her time
choosing about half a dozen Christmas and New Year cards. Thus life
went on. Ted had become like a son to the couple. His helping nature
and sincerity was appreciated by one and all. The Richards were
eternally grateful to him.
Contributing Story Teller: Amita
enjoys writing stories and poems. She has strong editing and
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