The exterior of the Selfridges there, though, is a shrunken copy of the original in London's Oxford Street. Instead of graceful columns, it has a stick-on, red-brick facade - with a few gold-painted scrolls thrown in for effect - imitates the exterior. It has a very different character to the London store, where the food hall is at street level, within easy reach for those popping in to pick up a few croissants, some pasta or a bite for lunch. Visiting the Trafford Centre requires a little more planning. You have to jump in your car, drive for half an hour out of Manchester, park in one of 10,000 parking spaces and then negotiate the hundreds of other shops in the building before finally reaching the store. The food hall here has gone for all-out Modernism, with stainless steel and glass everywhere you look.
Thai food counter
Jenny Chan, sales associate
Worked here since October 1999
The relentless rise in taste for South-east Asian food means Jenny's counter is a popular stop for shoppers who pick up a take-out order of swordfish curry to eat in front of the TV. On display behind the stainless steel and glass counters is a full range of spicy, brightly coloured Thai food arranged in ceramic bowls and placed on green leaves. The menu includes chicken with cashew nuts, dim sum, sesame toast and pad Thai noodles. Jenny particularly likes the green chicken curry.
Donna Dolan, sales associate
Worked here since September 1998
The delicatessen presents two drawbacks for Donna. First, she's too small to reach across the counter and serve customers seated at the bar. The second problem is more pleasurable: "I love the food," she says, "but that makes it the worst place for me to work!" The deli serves a huge selection of produce, from German frankfurters to Italian salami, French pates to South African dried beef. Her favourite is the Bayonne ham. But there are also flavours from closer to home, like traditional English meat pies.
Hazel Friend, sales associate
Worked here since September 1999
Hazel "loves cheese", which, since she's surrounded by 250 varieties, is just as well. "My favourite is our Red Hot Mex," she says. "It's a mature cheddar with chillies and red peppers, and it's lovely on jacket potatoes, toast or pizza." She has a degree in costume design but, after a change of heart, she is now targeting a rather more aromatic career in the food industry. "We do have some smelly cheeses," she says, "but people love them. One is called Stinking Bishop - it certainly lives up to its name."
John Close, senior sales associate
Worked here since August 1998
"I used to be a supervisor at Asda on the fruit and veg counter," says John, who has since swapped carrots for caviare. The luxury counter sells everything from truffles to smoked wild salmon. "The lobster is my favourite. We get to taste all new products so that we can tell people what they're like." The most expensive item is the beluga caviare, 200g of which costs pounds 370. "We last sold that three days ago," John recalls. "One customer bought two tins for a Christmas party. You tend to remember sales like that." n
Who's in your house?
If you are a group of people who live, or work, within the same building and would like to be featured on this page, write to Who's in the House?, The Independent Magazine, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, giving a contact phone number, your address, and details of the type of building you occupy. Please also include recent photographs (which you do not want returned) of your homes or offices.Reuse content