Monday 2 October 2017

Landmarks of Reading: The Bag Shop Man's Scowl

This sign is a genuine landmark of Reading, Berkshire. Its a work of art. It scowls down at the passerby from the second floor of an abandoned storefront in the nebulous, nameless grey area between Friar Street and Market Place. The boards are covering the windows of a building that has been a gutted wreck for almost ten years.

And, before you ask, that is the proprietor of The Bag Shop. They sell bags and their cash register is a literally a cardboard box under a desk. Prices are not actually negotiable but more decided by the proprietor on the basis of how much he likes you. The last time I bought a bag there he gave me the full disapproving scowl for ten uncomfortable, mildly invasive seconds and then turned to his assistant and said:

It is the salad man, twenty percent off.”

After which he swept imperiously into the backroom. I have no idea if I got twenty percent off (no actual prices on the bags) but it was a warm, glowing feeling to have the verbal approval of the man whose image had been scowling down at me on my way into town every day for years. 

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