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Rubber stamps came in various sizes and were used for various tasks and in various ways. The largest and heaviest was the dated receipt stamp for the City of Birmingham General Rates demand. Dennis Holbeche (long ago deceased) was a big fellow and would raise this particular stamp to shoulder height and would crash it down with great force on to the 2d. receipt stamp. Why such effort was necessary, no one quite knew. Perhaps it was a Freudian statement of some kind? Whatever it was, the day came when he brought the rubber stamp down with customary force - right on to the thumb of his left hand. I suppose that he would be due to compensation these days. In those days, he just went off very sick - and very embarrassed.

 

For me, rubber stamps helped to save my sanity at one branch where I was the cashier who volunteered to "tidy up" the public side of the counter before opening, ready for the onslaught of customers. Part of the tidying operation was to see that each of the blotting pads in the cubicles and on the counter bore a clean sheet of blotting-paper, knowing full well that soon at least one sheet of blotting would be far from pristine, for one of the more frequent depositors had a habit of sitting her small son on the counter (there were no glass screens thenadays) and allowing him to scribble all over any brand-new sheet nearby. This broke my heart, it really did, so I suggested to the lad that he could have a piece of scrap paper and date stamp it all over, using an outdated rubber stamp. He leapt at the chance. On every visit thereafter he would shout, in a distinctly Brummie accent: "MISTER! C'n Oi 'aye a goo wi' yer stampa?", at which I gratefully obliged, smiling grimly, but with my sanity intact.

Rubber Stamps and Their Dangers


by Norman Worwood

 
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