By Ruth W.Gee
John Andrews had had to wear glasses ever since he was a small boy, so, shortly before the time when he was to leave school, his parents suggested that he might train to be an optician,<注1> so that he could help other people with their eyes.
John did not have any strong feelings about what he wanted to do, so he agreed and started a course of training with the intention of becoming an optician. He found the work interesting, and did not have any trouble in qualifying at the end of the course.<注2> The next problem was to find a steady<注3> job.
He looked at the advertisements in suitable journals, applied for a number of the situations offered, and at last managed to get one in the town where he lived,<注4> so one Monday morning he set off<注5> by bus for his new work.
The owner of the optician's shop<注6> where he had been accepted was an old man, and he had another assistant and a secretary.
The first time that John tested a customer's eyes,<注7> the owner of the shop watched carefully to make sure that he knew what to do, and he was very satisfied with everything that John did, except that John did not know anything about prices.
"We'll discuss that at lunchtime," he said to John quietly.<注8>
While John had been studying at college, he had read several articles and letters in the newspapers about arguments over the cost of glasses. The government had been accusing opticians of charging far too much for them, and had been threatening to bring in laws to control their prices,<注9> so John was curious to know what the owner of the shop would have to say about them.
At lunchtime, when they closed for an hour, the owner of the shop said to John, "Now, we'd better have a chat with reference to<注10> our charges for glasses, so that you know what to say to customers. In this shop we expect everyone to pay a fair price for what he or she gets, so when you have tested someone's eyes, and they have chosen the kind of lenses and frames<注11> they would like to have, and they want to know how much they will cost, you should say, for example, '￡54'."
"While you are saying this, you should watch the customer's face carefully, and if he or she does not seem frightened by this price, you should add, 'That's the price of the frame. The lenses cost￡54 more.'"
"If the customer still does not look as if he or she is worried, you should add, 'For each lens'."-