Why the landlord kept a shopping receipt from 1978

Miss Thrifty6 March 1, 2011

Jim, my husband, moved his workshop into a new building recently. It looks like a little Victorian cottage from the outside; inside, it’s all counters, workbenches, heavy machinery and electric points. It has been empty for a while. The landlord is a friendly chap, who ran a television repair business out of the building for many years before retiring.

workshop The place needed a good scrub and hadn’t been decorated since the 1970s. We picked a colour scheme with the help of a Kevin McCloud book (the closest we will ever come to a Grand Design), stripped out the counter and painted over the cheesy fake 1970s wood panelling. Pegboards were painted and framed; tools were neatly arranged and even the little kitchenette was scrubbed until it gleamed. It didn’t look bad when it was done.

Anyway, when we were taking bits and bobs down from the walls, we were curious to find this receipt from 1978 pinned to the wall by the front door:

1978 shopping receipt

It is dated 2 February 1978, and is for a Phillips 22” television priced at £329.

So next time my husband saw the landlord, he asked about it. It turns out the landlord found that receipt some years ago, goggled at the price and pinned it to the wall for nostalgia.

“What you have to remember”, he said, “is that back then, my brand new car cost less than that telly.”

How times change: televisions, while still expensive, are relatively cheap. Are they less prized? They are certainly more disposable than they used to be. Colin, the TV repairman who lives next door to us, complains that instead of getting the televisions repaired, people now buy the flatscreens – which he says don’t last nearly as long – and chuck them out when they’re broken.

Either way, doesn’t it seem incredible that a new television used to cost as much as a new car in the UK?

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6 Responses to “Why the landlord kept a shopping receipt from 1978

Popbabe7 says:

Very surprising- how times change!

March 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm

msureen says:

This is not possible. Cars certainly were dearer than that price.

March 2, 2011 at 10:26 am

Maureen says:

Correction to spelling of name.

March 2, 2011 at 10:27 am

I’m with Maureen…it is a little hard to believe. Cars were LOTS cheaper then (and lots less safe!). But they still cost a big chunk of dough, relative to what people earned. Television sets were more expensive, relative to earnings — like all electronic goods, their price has come down over time. A TV set was a piece of furniture in those days, so you were paying for case goods as wall as for the boob tube itself. But still: a cabinet with an idiot box in it didn’t cost as much as a new car.

It might have cost as much as a second-hand car, though, as vehicles only lasted about three to five years. A three- or four-year-old car wouldn’t have been worth much.

March 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

@Maureen @Funny: Well, what can I say – this is Yorkshire! Perhaps he did mean a second-hand car. Incidentally the landlord left behind the most GORGEOUS old tailor’s drawers in that workshop: floor to ceiling and glass-fronted. I think they were originally made for shirts. I’ll have to post a pic at some point.

March 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Maria says:

I’m not too sure whether a television would have cost as much as a new car back then but an interesting post all the same 🙂

July 24, 2011 at 2:57 pm

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