Does anyone wear a hat nowadays?
I don’t know why but I as I sat by the fireside in my chair, I thought recently about when I first started out as a sales representative a very long time ago! It was 1966 when I got my first job ‘on the road’ as it was known. That was with the retail division of L’Oreal. During our training, we were instructed to buy ourselves a hat! On expenses of course! The company had just altered their policy and now allowed the use of a ‘Trilby’ prior to the at it had been Bowler hats only.
Now all this time later I can imagine everyone asking why a hat. We were calling on Chemist shops which back in the 1960s were mainly privately owned and run by professionals. As the L’Oreal representative, you were expected to go into the shop wearing your hat. Then when the chemist came out to greet you, as a mark of respect, you removed your hat and offered to shake his hand! Of course, as a salesman, you were never treated as an equal. Most chemists then delegated you to one of the girls in the shop to actually conduct the business.
Once you left the shop the hat was off and quickly thrown into the back of the car. Cars are the like of which most people would laugh at nowadays.
My first one was a Ford Cortina estate car, dark blue and with a 1200cc engine and a three (3) speed gearbox. No radio’s in those days and a heater that would just about get warm! These cars could if they could speak, tell some stories! I remember the story of how I learned to drive well, too!
I remember with horror collecting my car at the end of our training period. Then on the Friday afternoon in the rush hour, having to find my way from the head office out of London. From Berkley Square and L’oreal’s headquarters to the Edgware Road was frightening itself. Then the drive back to my home in the suburbs of Birmingham took a very long time. In those days the motorway had no central reservation and no lights and started around Watford and only went initially to Rugby. So with no company, no radio and very little comfort, it was a long journey.
The funny thing is though that I still have a Trilby hat in the wardrobe. But I think that like most people nowadays I won’t be wearing it again!