The worst shops on TV | Virgin Media
The worst shops on TV

The worst shops on TV



You go into a shop, you want some beans and some scourers. Not this sort of treatment. Shops on TV are places staffed by the unfulfilled, wasting away their potential and complaining about it, or the outright hostile who think the job would be just fine without the customers. Have a look through these examples of the worst shops on TV, then take our advice and try next door instead.


Phone Shop

Don’t expect much in the way of service. Jerwayne, Ashley, Lance, Janine and Christopher are either too busy trying to be flash, too sidetracked by some extracurricular moneymaking scheme, or just too downright incompetent to help. You won’t get much sense out of Ashley and Jerwayne either, unless you’ve spent a LOT of time in south London. Try the Virgin Mobile store down the road. Ahem.

PhoneShop series 1-3 is available to watch on demand. Find it in TV On Demand > By Channel > All 4

Black Books

It’s full of cigarette smoke, there are molluscs on the pipes and dead bees on the windowsill, and the proprietor just wants you to leave him alone. Bernard Black thinks the ideal bookshop is one where no one ever comes in or buys any books so he doesn’t have to order any more. His assistant Manny’s a better bet, if he’s not hopped up on coffee and convinced he’s a cop from The Sweeney.

Black Books series 1-3 is available to watch on demand. Find it in TV On Demand > By Channel > All 4

Any shop they set up in The Apprentice

The Apprentice

Lord Sugar has it in his head that putting applicants through a series of tasks wholly unrelated to the job they’ll end up doing is a great idea. Despite the entrepreneurial credentials contestants claim to have, whenever there’s a task to set up a pop-up shop of some kind, expect chaos, in-fighting, a total disregard for the basics of retail, like having enough stock, and prices dreamed up on the fly. Maybe you’ll get a bargain because they priced something up wrong, but whichever way get out before they start talking at you.

Arkwright’s: Open All Hours

Service can be fairly good at Arkwright’s, but expect closures at short notice because he’s nipped over the road to have another unsuccessful crack at charming Nurse Gladys Emmanuel. Either that or being there for 20 minutes longer than you expected to be because of his stammer. Granville might serve you if he’s not daydreaming or obsessed with a girl he’s seen, but whatever you do, keep your fingers away from the till.

The Gentlemen’s Outfitters: The Fast Show

Fast Show

It takes a brave man to buy a suit here. Enquire innocently about sizes and fabrics, and the two tailors will enthuse about the details of some sexual encounter they imagine you’ll be having in it. Don’t mention inside leg measurements.

The Minute Mart: Eastenders

On the surface a perfectly functional shop, but you’re likely to get the side-eyes from Denise. The site of many shopliftings, arguments and ill-advised purchases of Scotch by Phil Mitchell over the years, it hit its real low point in 2013 when Denise first kissed Ian Beale in the stockroom, something she and we would rather forget.

Every deserted shop they visit on The Walking Dead

On the plus side, everything’s free! On the minus ... aargh! Zombies!

The Local Shop: The League of Gentlemen

League Of Gentlemen

Entirely untouched by the protocols of modern customer service, the Local Shop in Royston Vasey wants to stay just that: local. Wander in looking for directions or to buy something and Tubbs and Edward will grill you on your intentions and origins, and probably accuse you of coveting “the precious things of the shop”. When you end up tied to a chair in the backroom to be made a wife for the son they keep in the attic, you might reflect that this is more than you bargained for when you went in for a packet of Polos.

The Quik-E-Mart: The Simpsons 

Run by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Quik-E-Mart is conveniently open 24 hours a day and was once visited by Paul and Linda McCartney. But you do run the risk of being killed by outdated meat which Apu’s relabelled to change the sell-by date, or having to deal with his thinking he’s a hummingbird after working a 96-hour shift.

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