The Pro Shop

Years ago, after chucking in university and rambling off to explore other spaces, I came home and landed a job as an editorial assistant for a little publication called ‘The Pro Shop’. It was a monthly magazine linked somehow with the Professional Golfers Association. It went to all professional golfers in the UK. Now I ain’t no golfer but we (staff of two) had a chuckle or two in the tiny office off the high street… typesetting, spray mount and daily pub lunches. At one editorial meeting around November we came up with an annual ‘Shopfitter of the Year’ competition. We thought we were on fire. We’d invite pros to send in pics of their creative shopfitting efforts. One of the golfing equipment companies stumped up a good prize (a Titleist? set of golf clubs or summat like that) and four other prizes were pledged. Wowsers. We were excited.

We did the blurb, designed the application form (postal) and looked forward to receiving the (polaroid) pics in the post.

The first entry arrived within days. With “Shopfitter of the Year Competition” obediently written in caps across the envelope. We couldn’t wait to see it, envisaging the sackloads of entries that would follow. Already buffing our judging hats. We ripped open the envelope and out dropped a picture of a branch, stuck in a pot with a couple of golf shoes tied by the laces hanging from it. Wonkily.

We chucked it to one side.

About two weeks later no other entries had arrived and the closing date was looming. A hastily convened editorial meeting was held. We’d have to extend the closing date and big up the blurb. This generated three more pretty mediocre entries. We extended it again. Photographing the clubs (which by now were acting as a coat hanger, Christmas tree and target for angst ridden, screwed up bits of paper) in the office and outside the office door in the alleyway (better light).

A fifth entry arrived by spring. Almost lost in the amount of angry post from entry 1 demanding to know who had won first prize.

Thank fuck for that. We could announce a winner and the four runner ups.

The reason I’m remembering this story today is because the Health Service Journal announced their ‘Top Chief Executives’ list. ‘Recognising the outstanding leaders of NHS provider organisations’. It included Katrina Percy.

I can only hope think the editorial team were in a similar ‘extend the deadline for nominations’ situ of desperation. Gnawing on their fists over a greasy but delicious shepherd pie and couple of pints.

We never ran the competition again.



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