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Mr Trotman made a big difference in my life

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Thur April 17, 2014

EDITOR: I was very happy to see an article about Mc Neil Trotman in the SEARCHLIGHT newspaper last week and thought that it was a good idea to follow up that article with some personal reflections of my own.{{more}}

After I left Girls’ High School at Form 3, due to the death of my mom, my father could not afford to send four of us to secondary school. I was the eldest, so I was prepared to stop school and look for a job.

My father was the foreman at the P.C. Hughes building at the back of Trotman’s building and he asked Mr Trotman for a job for me and he said yes. When I went there, Mr A. V. King, now deceased, gave a Math exam and I passed it with flying colours and Mr Trotman employed me immediately. I was employed as a sales clerk and also had to clean the store, but I did not mind; the important thing was that I had a job.

Mr and Mrs Trotman took me under their wings and nurtured me and taught me a lot of things. Mrs Trotman in those days was the customs broker, and she taught me how to perform the duty, until later when she handed it over to me. Mr Trotman was a serious boss when it came to his work. You had no time to be idle. It was like back to school: when you did not have customers in the store, you had to be reading electrical books and you had to know your products and be able to sell them and demonstrate them to the customers. In those days, the electrical department was small, but we used to sell a lot of electronics and household appliances.

He was the agent for companies like National, Hoover, Oster and many more and was the first person to bring in colour televisions and videos to St Vincent.

Mr Trotman had a white Peugeot car P4433; the car used to work like a truck. It used to take all the workmen on sites, sometimes as far as Georgetown, and had to transport the goods cleared from the Customs Department. He was a genius who had to manage his store and still transport workers; he was the only driver in those days. Now we have a large number of drivers, so we have come a mighty long way.

After I was working for him for 10 years, he handed over the keys for the store for me to open on mornings, but he was still on his job for 8 a.m. I admired that a lot. He had the leading Service Department in St Vincent, where people from all over St Vincent brought their TVs, radios, washing machines, irons etc to fix.

He was a man who showed you appreciation for what you did. He loved people. He was a strong man who had a lot of abilities and he was never too old to learn. His office was like a doctor’s office… every day from 8-4 p.m. He would leave his work and listen to everyone who wanted advice and to discuss other important things. One of the people who used to come and visit him was Sir Vincent Beache. I am sure he will agree with me. Trottie used to tender for a lot of big jobs, electronics and air conditioning. Miss Carr (one of my co-workers) and I had to stay back from 4 – 8 p.m. whenever he had these contracts, because, remember I said his office was like a doctor’s office and we used to win 99 per cent of these contracts.

Christmas was a wonderful time at Trotman’s for the local electricians who were customers. It was either appliances or cash, which they greatly appreciated.

Trotman’s Electronics Service was like the Technical College, where a lot of young men and women came and learned a skill, because when persons came to ask him for a job, he never wanted to say no. He was an excellent dancer and he used to show us how he used to dance.

But most of all, it was history when he passed away in 1993. Some of the staff, including myself, received a surprise when we learnt that he had made us shareholders of his company, because we stood by his side in those difficult times.

Mr Trotman made a big difference in my life and I use this opportunity to share my story.

Merline Forde – 39 years of service as Storeroom manager

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