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The grandmother of all checkout chicks

The grandmother of all checkout chicks

Sun July 29, 2012 5:09pm

LONG before self-scanning and credit cards, before gluten-free pasta and grocery price wars, Brenda Palmer was serving the loyal customers of Coles Malvern.

Victoria's oldest "checkout chick" is set to continue scanning and serving after 45 years' service in the store.

At 80, Mrs Palmer still enjoys taking the five-minute walk uphill to work on the register at her local Coles store.

"It's just that I love it and I love dealing with people. If I didn't love it I wouldn't still be here," she said. "The friendships you make with the girls working here and the customers ... a lot of it is like family."

When she started work on July 19, 1967, Mrs Palmer had three young children, the full-time wage was $47 a week and two pounds of bread cost 18c.

I maintain the biggest change that ever hit the supermaket was the barcode, we didn't have barcodes until the early '90s

"We sold frocks in those days, and cardigans, knitting wool and needles, lots of things we don't have now, which we would never have room for because there's such an abundance of produce that we have now we didn't have in the old days."

The veteran employee has worked at the store since it opened and was first known as Coles New World. Back then, the store couldn't even sell milk for the first few years as it had not acquired a milk licence.

Despite the addition of milk to the shelves, Mrs Palmer said technology had been the biggest change in her 45-year career.

"I maintain the biggest change that ever hit the supermaket was the barcode, we didn't have barcodes until the early '90s.

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