June 13, 1988 12:00 PM

Keep your eye on the lady minding the store. Don’t turn your back on her for a second. Since her first day on the job, she’s almost made mincemeat of the meat slicer, put the cash drawer in the oven for safekeeping (causing a monetary meltdown—we’ve heard of cooking the books, but this is ridiculous) and delivered two dozen box lunches to a tour bus of actors, completely forgetting the napkins. But Sarah Douglas, the new—and, fortunately, temporary—clerk at the Avon Dairy in Stratford-upon-Avon, has no apologies. Why natter on about napkins? The actors, she suggests helpfully, “can wipe their mouths on the backs of their hands.”

She knows from actors. Douglas, 35, is best known for her role as Falcon Crest’s viperous Pamela Lynch. Now she’s helping her mother, Beryl, and sister, Marilyn, get their fledgling food shop off and running. They bought the store two months ago, and when Douglas made her hometown visit on April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday, she decided to stay on for a bit. Because of the writers’ strike, there’s no work back in Los Angeles, and since her divorce two years ago from British actor Richard LeParmentier, she has no attachments. So Douglas is serving in the shop, helping with the cooking and even making deliveries by bicycle. “It’s a little vacation,” she says, “but I’m doing a lot of work. I’m used to not working much and getting paid a lot of money, and suddenly here I am working very, very hard and not getting paid a sausage.”

Still, the change is salutary. “In L.A. I might be worrying about what outfit I’m going to wear,” says Douglas. “Here I can look like death-the-end-up [very similar to warmed-over] and people don’t care. In L.A. I’d be worrying about a screen test. Now all I have to worry about is whether the hen lays her bloody eggs.”

Whether Mum and Sis want her to roost there much longer is another question. As Marilyn, 43, comes out of the kitchen, she cracks a long, rock-hard baguette across the desk like a baseball bat. “Sarah,” she says, “I think you baked this too long.”

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