ARMED WITH a large calculator in my bag I made my way to the brightly coloured stall in the shopping centre.
To say I am mathematically challenged would be a drastic understatement. The mere thought of having to work out any kind of sum on the spot brings me out in a cold sweat.
Turns out I didn't need my solar powered aid at all, luckily for me pretty much everything was a pound, or should I say 'a pand'?
I was greeted by Robert Tate who runs the show, complete with flat cap and kind weathered smile. He did not look remotely tired despite waking at 1.45am that morning, however I struggled to peel myself out of bed at 7am.
The 73-year-old from Staines has been in the industry since he was a child, and the third man in the family tree to take on the business. At the tender age of eight he was helping his grandfather run a stall. His own sons, now aged 45 and 48 have stalls of their own.
And if you are looking for passion, look no further.
Mr Tate said: "I love the thrill of it, getting up going to market, finding the produce and trying to sell it. It's a way of life, I can't be without people. I tried retiring but in the end I had to go back to work.
"In really enjoy this job and especially working here, it is such a nice community."
Mr Tate runs his stall at The Centre on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, waking up well before the crack of dawn to buy the day's produce from the Western International Market.
He then rushes back to Feltham to set up stall in time for a 9am start, he and a team of three staff then shut up shop at around 5.30pm.
Phew, that's a long day.
The most popular products in Feltham I am told are bananas followed by mangoes, grapes and strawberries, with grapefruit and cooking apples purchased least often.
Customers can also buy some of the more unusual goods from chillis to okra, and there might even be some surprises from day to day.
Having studied the layout of the stall I decide it's time for me to jump in at the deep end - it can't be that hard can it?
The staff look concerned.
I stash my bag, leaving the calculator inside, and make my way to the front to start serving.
My first order is a bowl of tomatoes, easy I think. Within seconds I have torn the paper bag as I try and pour them in. In a desperate bid to prevent them from dropping on the floor I adopt a strange knee-bend dance move, this raises smiles from the team.
At least I am providing them with some entertainment.
After a while I get the hang of the paper bag technique, but I am sorry to say a few bags 'died' in the process.
My second gaffe happens soon after the first, a customer asks for a bowl of potatoes from the very front of the stall. I try and lean over but it is out of my reach.
Quite illogically, I make my way round the back of the stall to fetch them and then back to the till, a round trip of at least 30 seconds - the customer looks bewildered and so do I.
One of the female workers comes up to me with a wide smile, 'it's OK love, just ask them to pass it over to you, they don't mind'. Of course.
Next I learn how to "bowl up", can't be too hard I think as I gaze at the rows and rows of colourful fruit staring back at me.
But no, I am informed that the fruit and veg has to be organised and displayed just so. Pears must have their stalks upwards and pointing to the middle, oranges must be stacked in patterns and all the same way round, and heaven forbid if I put a banana in a bowl upside down.
Looking at the hearty selection I can see why this is so important, presentation is vital, why would this be any less valid with a business like this?
After that my nerves start to subside and I find myself very much enjoying my new found vocation.
The stalls gets busier and busier and the sun beams down on me as I dash around bagging up grapes, strawberries and mushrooms. Before I know it my face is aching from all the smiles.
So why shop here? I ask a few people to find out.
Margaret Lester, 79, of Staines Road in Bedfont said: "It is so much cheaper and I do not shop often in Feltham but when I do I always make a point of coming here. I think this place is essential, it takes the pressure out of supermarket shopping.
"I really hope places like this keep going."
The same enthusiasm was shared by 44-year-old Kim Robinson of Hanworth Park, she said: "What I like is that the produce is really good quality, there is quite a good choice. I think of we do not use places like this and they die we are throwing away our options."
Everyone is very helpful and patient while I get to grips with the work, before I know it I am rushing around at breakneck speed, bagging up, dishing out change, and refreshing the display, and I am having a great time. But before I know it my time is up and I nervously shuffle towards Mr Tate for the verdict.
"I think you did very well", he says to my obvious relief.
"The main skills are to be able to add up and most of all to have a cheery smile and a willing to help people. You can come and work on my stall any time," he says with a laugh.
As I say my goodbyes I am really glad I had the chance to experience this way of life, even if it was just for a few hours.
I don't know about you, but I will think twice about where I will go next time when I run out of veg for my salad or fancy an apple for the bus.
With so much energy and passion from a close team who love their jobs it will be hard to walk on by next time.
Do you run an interesting business in Feltham and want to invite Jess along for an "In The Life" feature? Email email@example.com