The takeaway has been a family staple since the 60s. First set up by my grandmother and staffed by our clan, which at that time included my dad, my uncle and my two aunts.
The business was a boom with stories about customers filling up the place and my aunt who was around 12 years old at the time barely being able to reach the counter taking orders and dealing with many intimidating customers at any one time.
Until I was 15 the takeaway was run by my parents, my uncle and his wife. I started working there halfway through my GCSEs after my uncle and his family moved to set up shop somewhere else.
After the recession business has gone down at times but we manage to get by. I noted that the busiest days tended to be whenever the X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent were on, and although I started off being a cynic about both shows I have come to see them as a blessing in disguise for business.
I have been doing weekends at the takeaway (Fridays or Saturdays) since I was 15 and continue to do so today. Even when I was at university I continue working there coming home for weekends (where mum would prepare me ready-made takeaway meals to be heated up).
Ironically for a Chinese person working in a takeaway I don’t know how to cook and barely touched a wok in the kitchen let alone used one. So I spend most of my time taking in orders, getting things ready, making sure the right boxes are in the right bag for the right customer and occasionally dealing with the odd difficult customer.
As I am also technically unemployed I often find myself the go-to to cover the shop when a younger sibling has an exam to do (my mum says it’s because I have nothing better to do, which does immense things for my self-esteem)
I still work at the takeaway now and have absolutely no idea how long I will be, probably until I get a proper job.