When Colin Hallawell began working at Albury Coles in 1970, the bags were paper, the produce local and two people ran the check-outs.
Even more has changed since the company opened its first variety store at Collingwood, Melbourne 100 years ago, offering nothing costing more than two shillings and sixpence — 25 cents.
Mr Hallawell, a Coles worker for almost half of that time, was there as usual yesterday as the Border’s stores celebrated the centenary.
He started as a grocery packer when 17. He has since worked in every department at Border and Melbourne stores.
“In the ’70s, everything was done with pen and paper. No one had a computer,” he said.
“All fruit and vegetables was produced locally — just the hard groceries came from Melbourne.”
He said floor staff then wore white dust coats on Thursdays and Fridays to look smart for their busy days when everyone was paid — in cash.
When on the check-out, one person would work the till and another fill the brown paper bags — a far cry from today’s self service.
Mr Hallawell said he didn’t miss the old days and the changes had met consumers’ needs.
“Everything goes at 100 miles an hour now,” he said.
“People want to get in and out and off home.”
Coles Wodonga Plaza manager Bryan Flanagan, who’s worked at Coles for 28 years, said the longevity of employees showed what a great company it was to work for.