Until the 1950s, when the idea of self-service emerged, customers were always served by shopkeepers. Staff not only knew their products back to front, but they were also attuned to the psychology of buying and selling. Shopkeepers were issued with tips and advice through confidential handbooks. Advice included taking a human interest in customers and 'adjusting your attitude accordingly', not writing with a blunt pencil, and not whistling, humming or singing in the shop. Shopkeeping was a serious and competitive business.
B Bolton family grocer, Port Melbourne, Algernon Darge, c 1913