A little while back, we invited our longest standing customers from the early days of Pinders to a day of celebration of our 70th anniversary and their continued support all these years. Andrew Shone, or Andy, however unfortunately was unable to attend! Instead he sent us this letter, and shared the story of his time as our customer. We are delighted to share it with you all now.
“Here’s my little story of my life with Pinders:
When I was 9 or 10, the school nurse conducted eye tests instead of getting her flick nit comb out. To my horror, I needed glasses and was instructed to inform my parents. Being football mad and in the school team, I decided to ignore the advice, fearing that my career was over before it started. A month later, the she bumped into my parents and asked why I wasn’t wearing glasses? I’d been well and truly rumbled.
Off to Rufford Avenue for my first ever test and, to my consternation and considered unprofessional opinion, I was blind as a bat. The end of the world was nigh! At the time a children’s TV programme was at its height, The Red Hand Gang. One of its characters wore groovy steel-rimmed glasses that were all the rage – he also appeared in the Hubba Bubba bubble gum adverts. If they looked good on him then I had to have a pair. However, no one mentioned the plastic, blue-rimmed NHS glasses as back up. Back in school, the name calling started (teachers can be so cruel). I became aware of the big black thing at the end of the classroom – someone had to explain that it was called a blackboard. It was this thing that made the awful screeching noise I’d heard over the years.
Fast forward to 1981. My football career was in its ascendency; however, whilst playing under floodlights, I was struggling to see the ball clearly. Off to Queens St I went with a view to wearing contact lenses. To this day, I vividly remember Geoff (with hair), putting blotting paper in my eyes whilst giving a rendition of Do the Huckle Buck by those one-hit wonders Coast to Coast. From that day on, they could take the bell out of the ball!
I’ve lost count of the number of examinations I’ve had. All but one has been with Geoff. He’s looked after me, sung to me, whispered sweet nothings in my ear like “is it better with one or two, one or two?”, “look at the red and black, are the lines clearer in one or two?”, “what’s the lowest line you can read?”. Little did he know, that I was a master of the memory game and replied “PVZHDNEU”. He must’ve become wise at some point and changed to electronic gadgetry – rumbled again!
On a more important note, Geoff diagnosed that my son, Patrick, had a serious condition called ‘Kerry Katona’ or keratoconus to those in the trade! Patrick told me to ring Geoff and he’d explain. After half an hour, the seriousness was brought home, less so to Patrick. Within six months Patrick had had surgery and now his eyes are stable, not cured. The surgeon has given him a good 30 years before his eyes deteriorate normally. Thanks you Geoff for spotting this.
Here I am today, still wearing glasses, still with Pinders, still feeling slightly awkward having Geoff gaze longingly into my eyes. Joanne, Allyson, Martine, Jackie et al still selling their, sorry, Pinders’ wares. Apologies for not mentioning anyone else by name. Rest assured, the older ones that I’ve mentioned, whilst matured like vintage wine or an off Marksman lager, will be passing the baton onto you one day. You make a great team.
Thank you for looking after my brood and me. I raise my cup of hot water to your continued success.
Finally, as a statistician, did you know that 80% of my life has been spent with Pinders – I hope to have another 80% to talk about in the years to come. I didn’t say that I was a good with numbers!
Mr Shone (don’t ever call me that – we’ve grown up together)”