Time to clock off for good

Shirley Barton is leaving her position at Arthur Barnett in Dunedin after 28 years of advising...
Shirley Barton is leaving her position at Arthur Barnett in Dunedin after 28 years of advising people on make-up and fragrance purchases. Photo Gerard O'Brien.
After 28 years of helping Dunedin put its best face forward, Shirley Barton will soon take time for herself.

The 82-year-old has been working in the cosmetic department of Arthur Barnett since 1983 and said the years had "gone very quickly".

"I've loved my work, really loved it."

However, much to the disappointment of her loyal customers, she will clock off for good in early August after taking voluntary redundancy as part of a restructuring of the company.

"I've always said Arthur Barnett's greatest strength is its staff, and I hope there will be no casualties of our experienced staff in the restructuring."

After spending 18 years selling Elizabeth Arden and the last 10 years on the imported fragrance counter, Ms Barton had seen many changes to both Arthur Barnett and retail in general.

When she started at the store, it took up the entire mall space.

It may be smaller now, but it remained a "wonderful firm to work for", she said.

Retail, on the other hand, had changed "for the worse".

"The sales used to fall into your lap. Now you have to work hard for them. There is a lot more competition around too, and so many people are shopping on the internet, which is a killer."

Customers are also wanting more for their money, with many forgoing "loyalty to their counter" for offers of gifts with purchases.

Despite the changes, Ms Barton continued her work because she enjoyed it so much.

She has no fears about keeping occupied when she leaves, though, as with a wide circle of friends and family she will have "loads to do".

"I'll be sorry to leave because it has been lovely, but I think it's my time to go."



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