Saturday, 12 February 2011

Milkmans Basic Training and Qualifications

As I said in the previous post an honest milkman would never keep his books straight so I needed to make a little to remedy the situation. Some milkman would try over charging the customer but that would be a road to disaster because the customer would soon find out and then you have the embarrassing situation trying to explain why. One way to make a little money would be to under order on some of the goods and then buy elsewhere at a cheaper price and then resell them. Eggs where a classic example, I could get some very good free range eggs quite cheaply and would resell them at the dairies price. Of course you had to watch just how you booked them as the bookkeeper at the dairy had years of experience and had an eagle eye for any fiddles. I can remember on one round that a milkman used to get paraffin for some of his older customers, just what you want with your milk???
You had to know your milk. In those days it used to be pasteurised, Channel Island (Gold top) and sterilised. Skimmed and semi skinned milk had just been introduced and the few people that used it were considered health freaks. How things change, we use nothing else now. A simple maths test had to be passed and then strangely enough even although I had a driving licence I had to pass a driving test in an electric milk float identical to the one doing the rounds in the animation above. A man from the Ministry of Transport would come down and give the test. Then of course you had to be able to carry three full bottles or five empty bottle in each hand as it was considered impractical (poofy was the term used then but it is now probably considered polically incorrect) to use a hand crate as it took so long to load it up. Occasionally you would get a day off and the supervisor doing your round would need to know who the awkward, and “over friendly” customers were. There was a special code for customer “type” that would be written at the top of the page. Most milkmen I knew would walk at a very fast pace or even run like I used to first thing in the morning, it meant you would get home earlier and would also keep you extremely fit.

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