Gable Ender.

Back in 1958 people were split on the effects of hire purchase, the buy now, pay later scheme of the time. Of course, this included many to whom thrift was important. Those who had lived through the War were still mostly of the ‘make do and mend’ mindset.

Forbes Inglis
Monday, 27th December 2021, 12:00pm
Gable Ender.

Although cash was still tight, for many there was the lure of new gadgets such as televisions, black and white of course, and vacuum cleaners. In looking at the newspaper advertisements of the time it is clear that woman's place was still very much in the home. Many adverts probably aimed at men suggest that the woman in their life would be delighted with the latest vacuum cleaner or kitchen gadget for Christmas. I suspect 21st century women would want something rather more personal.

The year had seen reports of money being tight and a possible slump, but most traders had reported good sales figures. Montrose Trustee Savings Bank reported withdrawals during the Christmas period amounting to £51,000, more or less the same as in previous years. The figures withdrawn over Christmas now in any Angus town would probably be frightening.

Pre-Christmas, the traders felt their good fortune was down to three factors. The first was that wet weather during the previous week had kept many of the country folk at home instead of coming into towns to do their shopping, although that would appear to me to be a negative factor. The next was relaxation in HP regulations permitting lower deposits so that items such as washing machines, television and radio sets, were in greater demand. What was thought to be the most important factor was that customers had spread their buying over a longer period so, while sales might appear to be down, they were better when everything was added in.

The usual complaint was money going to shops in Dundee and Aberdeen. One shop owner took the opposite view, claiming customers had tried shopping in Dundee and found the items they wanted weren’t available. In what must be the quote of the decade one trader continued: “They are finding that with the fares, meals and cups of tea, and the row the man of the house may start when he comes home and finds his tea is not ready, that it is just not worthwhile.”

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