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Trouble In Store (1953)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Norman, a lowly stockroom assistant at Burridge's department store, is a man with two goals in life. The first is to be promoted to the position of window dresser at the store; the second is to marry Sally Wilson, who works in the music department.

Augustus Freeman, newly appointed general manager of Burridge's, decides to meet his staff, beginning with the store's most humble employee. Miss Drew, the personnel manager, immediately sends for Norman. Norman, arriving at the general manager's office, does not realise that Freeman is his new boss, assuming that he is another lowly member of staff. He steals Freeman's whiskey and cigars, encouraging the bewildered Freeman to do likewise. When Freeman's identity is revealed, Norman is given one week's notice.

Later, an elderly lady compliments Norman's service in front of Freeman. Seeing her bulging cases, Freeman assumes she is a wealthy customer (she is, in fact, a shoplifter). Norman is reinstated. Freeman suggests that one day, Norman might be given a chance as a window dresser. Shortly afterwards, Norman mistakenly gets the impression that he has been promoted to that position and proceeds to arrange crockery in the shop window. The real window dresser arrives and disdainfully competes with Norman for the approval of the crowd that has gathered outside. When the onlookers applaud Norman's eccentric efforts, the genuine window dresser angrily attacks Norman's display, and a destructive tit-for-tat battle ensues. Norman ends up sacked again, but is once more reinstated in the name of good publicity.

By chance, and unaware that Norman is an employee at Burridges's, Sally momentarily asks Norman to hold her bag as they wait in a bus queue. She forgets the bag as she boards the bus. Norman borrows some roller skates and pursues the vehicle, with chaotic consequences. Finally, he catches up with Sally in a park and returns the bag. The pair feed some ducks, before Norman unthinkingly wades into the pond. Drying off at a park cafe, he sings 'Don't Laugh At Me'.

At a staff social event, Norman is thwarted in his attempts to dance with Sally. While trying to repair a cigarette lighter, he inadvertently sets fire to his suit. He is ridiculed by his colleagues, before a bucket of water is poured over him.

The next day, the scheming Miss Drew enlists her boyfriend and his crooked gang to pose as temporary shop staff, in order that they can steal the takings from a special one day sale. Meanwhile, Norman is dismissed again. Accidentally mistaken for one of the criminals, Norman learns of the robbery plot. The gang attempt to murder Norman, but he escapes and warns Sally.

On the day of the sale, Sally tells Miss Drew of Norman's story, unaware that she is involved in the plot. Miss Drew's boyfriend imprisons Sally in the stockroom. Norman uses a road drill to dig his way into the stockroom, and frees Sally. Using a giant magnet from the toy department, Norman and Sally recover the stolen money from the hands of the villains, but are pursued into a store café designed like a western saloon. Norman and Sally keep the crooks at bay with pop-guns and a toy bow and arrow. Wearing a cowboy hat, Norman approaches the leader of the villains. Using a whip, Sally knocks a gun from the crook's hand. It is caught by the elderly lady shoplifter, who has finally been apprehended. She accidentally fires the gun, igniting a display of fireworks, which explode noisily. Police arrive and apprehend the robbers.

When Norman returns the stolen cash to Freeman, he is rewarded with enough money to buy Sally a wedding ring and is promised promotion. Unfortunately, Norman accidentally ushers Freeman into an empty lift shaft and he is dismissed once more.