Friday, 30 June 2017


Decided to schedule a re-post instead of a picture post. Hope it works.

The department store was one of the traditional type you don't see many nowadays, old but well kept building, no fluorescent sales posters, no weasel '(up to) 50% OFF' lures, sensible modest window displays, its only apparent self promotion was a framed plaque fixed to the wall by the entrance door boasting Johnson and Johnson had a department for absolutely everything, and they'd proudly provided discerning service and quality since 1810.

''Everything?'' I ask, back home. ''Everything.'' the man on the phone says, so I resolve to put them to the test and turn up first thing next morning asking for the 'discipline dept' my surprise the assistant behind the customer services desk doesn't bat an eyelid and takes me to an elevator where she whispers something to a uniformed attendant, he stands aside courteously to let me in, the elevator stops two levels down and the uniformed man steps out indicating I should follow. ''But this is fabrics and household furniture,'' I politely point out, good stuff too from the look of it, arranged in small sections either side of a corridor walkway, each with matching or complementary displays. The man pauses, smiles politely and extends his hand in the direction of the corridor which seems to end at a tapestried wall. ''Please,'' he says. I follow.

I know quality, my eyes, ears and nose are filled with it. Silent footsteps on lush Wilton, unobtrusive classical music, leather, oak, silk, brass, I like it. Well dressed assistants, I can only see two, no customers so far but then I'm early. We get to the tapestry and the uniformed man stops, to the right appears to be more floor space and more displays, I think I see a couple of customers talking with an assistant along there. To the left is a conventional corridor with doors off each side, the man tells me I need the third door on the right, I should go right in, Mr Bellamy will be with me shortly.

The door leads into a panelled room, more thick carpet, portraits along the facing wall, I recognise some as noteworthiness of old, they all look austere. There's a large dark wood table in the centre, top inlaid with leather, matching chairs, some at the table and some along the wall to the right, it must seat a dozen easily. Several cabinets line the opposite wall, all closed, there's also a door, it's closed too.

No Mr Bellamy, no goods for browsing. I'm about to leave when the door opens, startling me slightly, ''Ah good morning madam, I'm so sorry to have kept you, I'm Mr Bellamy.'' He proffers his hand which I take, it seems right, he's well dressed, distinguished looking, his hand is firm and he's well spoken with a friendly yet professional demeanour. ''We don't have nearly as many clients for this department nowadays,'' he explains, ''not since corporal discipline was banned from the state education system, even the best private schools reluctantly complied eventually, at least ostensibly, and then all the fuss we read in the press about parental smacking and what's right and wrong, what's permissible and not, you know what I mean,'' he said. I detected genuine sadness in his voice, the passing of an era and all that, and I nodded understandingly. Still, we do have our regular clients, city folk, business types, gentlemen of the land etc who still respect the old values, and of course we welcome new clients like yourself, modern thinking independent women who are interested less in political correctness than personal satisfaction.'' He smiled warmly, I felt flattered.

''So, er, where are the, ahem, sale items. Mr Bellamy?'' I ventured.

''Of course, how remiss of me,'' he said taking a bunch of keys from his pocket and moving towards the cabinets, ''Please.''

He opened them from left to right and I followed him, only as he progressed from one cabinet to the next, I stalled at the first. Transfixed. Eyes bulging, heart pounding. The cabinet was lined with canes, 

hanging neatly from hooks, each had a small hand written note fastened under its hook detailing its length, thickness, origin, material, 'used' or 'unused' and so on.There were crooked handles, straight handles, leather bound, cord bound. long, short, extra flexible, junior, senior, I had never realised there were so many options. Mr Bellamy must have noticed me, perhaps he thought I was feeling ill. ''Madam?'' He said, indicating the other cabinets he'd opened for my inspection. ''Can I get you a class of water, or perhaps a coffee?'' I told him a glass of water would be appreciated and he told me he'd be a few minutes, leaving me to peruse his treasures at my leisure.

I browsed from cabinet to cabinet, it was astonishing, there were tawses, straps, paddles, rulers, books to record punishments in, books about historical punishment, books explaining how to administer punishment, all in the cabinets to the left of the door. 

The cabinets to the right of the door contained soft suede floggers, riding crops, whips, handcuffs, blindfolds etc, sort of Ann Summers but in quality. It seemed stock to the left was for the traditionalists and stock to the right was for fun couples seeking added excitement. I was drawn to the left, it had the 'properness' of time, it had authority, it was compelling.

Mr Bellamy returned with my water and asked me if I'd seen anything which suited my requirements. I told him I preferred the cabinets to the left of the door and asked him if he had any more displays, perhaps through the as yet unopened door. No displays in that room, he said, it was bare all but its thick carpet, a single large desk and its heavy velvet drapes. I asked him if that was his office then, and he smiled and told me not at all, the room used to get quite frequent use from clients wishing to test items prior to purchasing, hence the heavy fabrics which provide wonderful sound insulation. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks. It still got used, he assured me, just not as often.

I returned to the cabinets to break eye contact with Mr Bellamy and hide my excited embarrassment. I asked him where the prices were and if, say, I made a purchase of for instance a couple of long canes, how would I be able to carry them from the store without raising attention. He explained if I lifted the note against each item the price was underneath, and that long implements were packed discreetly in suitable plain boxes or could even be delivered for a small charge.

I took several more minutes and narrowed my initial interest down to five canes, a long double split tawse and four straps but I didn't want to buy all of them, I was dithering and Mr Bellamy sensed my dilemma. ''Perhaps madam would care to test the items to help her decide,'' he said matter of factly. ''But I don't have anyone with me, Mr Bellamy,'' I said, my heart thumping so hard I thought it must be audible. ''Madam,'' said Mr Bellamy, ''I believe my experience, after almost twenty-five years having helped many a lady and gentleman make the right choice, is at your service.'' With that his hand reached for his keys and the testing room door was opened. If I was going to bolt now was the time, but I didn't and five minutes later I was bending over the large desk bawling my eyes out as Mr. Bellamy helped me evaluate my choices.

A sore bottomed but very well satisfied customer left Johnson and Johnson later that morning.

I'd chosen to have my choices delivered, Mr Bellamy had said he'd do it personally.

Have a fun weekend.


Let me know if any of the pictures are yours.


Roz said...

Fantastic story Ronnie, really enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing :)


Anonymous said...

Don't you just love a true full service store. It brings to mind the good ole days.

Our Bottoms Burn said...

Curious, do you deliver?

Minelle Labraun said...

That was nice Ronnie!! Thank you!

Leigh Smith said...

Thanks Ronie for sharing.

Ella said...

So glad you put up this post again as I have never read it, Ronnie. Absolutely loved it! We are presently exploring the pleasures of some new items in our toy box. Don't think I would not want either of them to be used except for play. The thought is a bit terrifying.

Hugs Across the Pond,

Fondles said...

That was a loveley read. A full service store can be a wonderful thing.

lindy thomas said...

Great story Ronnie. Nice to get that sort of service.
Hugs Lindy xx

ronnie said...

Roz - Happy you liked it. Thank you.

Archedone - Shame there isn't a store like that anymore. Thanks.

OBB - No personal delivery. Thanks.

Minelle - Thank you.

SG - My pleasure. Thanks.

Ella - Thank you. I hope you get to love your new implements.

Fondles - Wonder if there is a store where you can try an implement before you buy. Thanks.

Lindy - Thank you. Service not like that anymore.


Rosie Jones said...

I enjoyed this story, Ronnie, hadn't read it before.
Hope you enjoyed your holiday .
Rosie xx

Hermione said...

I love that story. There used to be a couple of old-fashioned department stores where i live, and they sound just like yours, except for the discipline department, of course!


ronnie said...

Rosie - Glad you liked it. Thank you.

Hermione - Thank you. It's a shame those old-fashioned stores have all gone.