Winston leaves the pub after having a conversation with an old man; he had tried to determine whether the man preferred his life before the Revolution or the one after, but he had never been given a direct answer.
Frustrated, Winston wanders back out into the street and realizes that he is at a junk shop. He has visited this place before and had purchased a diary there. Although it is very late, the little shop remains open, and Winston feels that going inside will make him "less conspicuous" than hanging around on the streets. The owner immediately recognizes Winston and comments on his previous purchase:
You’re the gentleman that bought the young lady’s keepsake album. That was a beautiful bit of paper, that was. Creamlaid, it used to be called. There’s been no paper like that made for—oh, I dare say fifty years.
Winston deflects the comments, telling the owner that he isn't really shopping on this particular day and is simply passing through. The owner tells him that his business is dying because the potential inventory needed to run a junk store is disappearing. China, glass, and furniture are all increasingly broken, and metal has been melted down. As Winston looks around, he realizes that although the store is full, there is nothing remotely of value in the place.
Suddenly, his mind is changed when he spots a glass paperweight with a piece of coral inside. He comments on the beauty of the object and purchases it; the owner then gives him a tour of some of the more private areas of his property.