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Front Page | UK | In depth | The Golden Jubilee
The Golden Jubilee 1952-2002


It's our working jubilee too!


Val Proudfoot
Les Henry
David Conn
Jim Kerr
Jack Shirvell
Tom Griffith
Lesley Eke
Audrey Hawkin
Dai Owen
Jim Dade
Sadie Jefferson
James Finlay
Jim Dade
Jim Dade started working as a door-to-door salesman for Kleeneze in 1952.

Although he no longer sets off on his rounds with a suitcase full of wares, Jim still likes to maintain the one-to-one sales approach, spending time with his customers, guiding them through the catalogue of products.

At 76, and still with some of the same customers he had 40 years ago, Jim has seen many changes to the business.

"The commission back then was 40%, the dearest thing you could sell was about 30 bob and the cheapest was a half crown tin of polish and we would sell many many of those," he explained.

"I would regularly do about 200 deliveries a week and fill up four, fifty-page order books most of the weeks."

Your own boss

Although selling products for Kleeneze the job has meant he has been self employed.

"What you do is exactly what you get out of it. If you don't go out and work you don't get any money but you can please yourself exactly what you do."


Jim has been visitng some customers for 40 years
"I had a family of five to keep and I had to earn money and the customer was the most important person - without customers you didn't have a business, you gave them service and they welcomed you 'My Kleeneze man' they would say, and that's how we were addressed."

Serving Monty

Even though the daily process of selling products has always been the same Jim would never know what he was going to find.

He had a particular areas in which he would work and customers would get to know him well making him welcome, it became a very happy job.

"You never know what you're going to find - on one occasion I had to climb through a window to rescue a little girl who was stuck and I've had to drive customers to hospital - I've done all manner of things, even Field Marshall Montgomery was a customer."

Dying breed

However, over the years, the door to door salesman has become a dying breed and companies now have a different approach.


Jim won an award for his good sales record in 1964
There is no longer a need for the personal service that Jim's years of experience provides.

With the introduction of different types of marketing and a catalogue that has expanded from 30 to approximately 1,000 products, many agents merely act as delivery people.

"Anybody can do the sort of job I've been doing all these years because they just put the catalogue through the door - go back a couple of days later and collect the order and deliver a week or so later."

Nowadays the personal touch has gone.

Loving the job

"I do miss how it was, it is not so much of a family anymore - everyone knew each other from the boss to all the other agents, today there are thousands of agents."

Jim has found it very easy to cope with being in the same line of work for fifty years because he is doing something he loves.

"It's been my life and I've never even thought of looking for another job or retiring."

"I don't think there is the same pride in jobs today - that's a good job done, sort of thing."

"A lot of young people may stay in their jobs but a lot want to earn money quick and if they don't they want to move on."

After 50 years of service, Kleeneze sent Jim a huge bouquet of flowers to mark the occasion.

Does Jim feel any different?

"The Queen is the same age as me, we got married in the same year and we started the same job together, I see she had a card delivered to her and I was looking outside to see if I had one but I didn't but life just carries on the same."

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