Green’s Dictionary of Slang

counter-jumper n.

also counter-jump, counter-leaper, counter-skipper
[play on SE]

1. (also jumper) a store clerk, a male shop assistant; thus counter-jumping, working in such a job; also as adj.

[UK]Lytton Pelham II 107: The b— counter-skipper never had any watch! He only filched a twopenny-halfpenny gilt chain out of his master, Levi, the pawnbroker’s window.
[US]Ely’s Hawk and Buzzard (N.Y.) 6 Sept. 4/2: The counter-jumping sons of tape cannot, if they would sir, / Now with their master’s money ape the rich and gallant blood, sir.
[UK]R. Nicholson Cockney Adventures 9 Dec. 48: Vere’s yer vife, yer nincompoop? Vere’s yer yard measure, yer counter-jumper?
[US]N.Y. Herald 15 Jan. 2/5: On Monday evening two [thieves] were operating at the store No. 301 Grand street, when one of the counter jumpers secured them both.
[US]N.Y. Sporting Whip 4 Feb. 3/2: A young gentleman, who belongs to the interesting fraternity of ‘Counter Skippers,’ and officiates at a shop in Canal-street [etc.].
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 310: I’d have [women] served by women i’ the shops, ’stead o’ those nasty dandified, counter-skippin’ Jackanapes’s.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 14 Mar. 2/5: Wickham, a counter jumper at the ‘Bee Hive,’ in Pitt-street, was [...] charged by Eliza Bellisworth with a violent assault on her person.
[UK]Sam Sly 30 Dec. 4/1: The linendraper’s lad, who jumps G—s’ counter in the Strand, / Swears Sam is quite a brick.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 10 Feb. 2/6: A knight of the wand, alias a counter-skipper known to buyers of tapes and bobbins in Mr. Coleman's haberdashery department.
[UK]Sam Sly 27 Jan. 2/2: The ladies are very good judges of counter-jumpers, and Th—s B—r—d is voted, by one and all of the fair creatures, a bore.
[UK]F. Smedley Harry Coverdale’s Courtship 47: I always thought he’d been a counter-jumper!
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 7 Aug. 3/2: There were twenty-seven ladies on exactly as many chairs, and just twice as many of the illigantest young counterskippers a-waiting upon them.
[UK]T. Taylor Ticket-Of-Leave Man Act III: I’ll drive to the bank — cash this — settle with those counter-skippers, and rattle back in time to see you turned off.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 21 Feb. 2/3: They are [...] cockney clerks and counter-jumpers — callings of which no man who cannot get anything better to do has any reason to be ashamed.
[UK]R. Broughton Cometh up as a Flower 14: Some counterjumper from Nantford, probably.
Wkly Kansas Chief (Troy, KS) 26 Dec. 1/2: The oppressively civil counter-jumper [...] had grown into a deportment of most imposing pomposity.
[UK]H. Mayhew London Characters 351: There are broken-down master-butchers [...] ‘craked-up’ costermongers and dilapidated counter-jumpers.
[UK]Edinburgh Eve. News 20 Mar. 4/6: The tail-coat and evening dress common to all classes from the King to the counter-skipper.
[US]Omaha Dly Bee (NE) 12 Aug. 6/2: He saw a ‘counter-jumper’ as he was pleased to call him, roughly a catch a little girl [...] by the shoulder and solicit her attention.
[UK]E.J. Milliken Childe Chappie’s Pilgrimage 64: Is the squat / Smart counter-jumper’s round a more ignoble lot?
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 3 May 3/1: ‘Perhaps I mayn’t look it, but I’m a born duke! / Tell me what counter do you yourself jump?’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Jan. 6/1: A gentleman who had bought ninepence worth of something from this counter-jumper, gave the coppers to the little girl who had just entered the shop, and then departed.
[US]Nat. Tribune (Wash., DC) 11 Aug. 5/4: Every counter-skipper and errand-boy wants a flower to to make him look fine for the theatre or music-hall.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 July 13/1: The parson can explain, but the counter-jumper can’t.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 1 Feb. 2/3: A Counter Jumper [...] [G]oing down to the clerk’s desk, he demanded an explanation. He grew very abusive, finally applying a very vulgar epithet to young Hamilton.
[Aus]Coburg Leader (Vic.) 4 Jan. 4/1: The Pest A. J. from W. Brunswick gave counter jumping best. High up in the world now.
[UK]H. Macilwaine Dinkinbar 110: The deluded clerks, and counter-jumpers that have embarked in honey, fruit, or poultry in New Zealand.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 8 Mar. 1/1: The counter-jumper and his clyner.
[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 43: They show a line of gall an’ nerve that'd make Jesse James look like a counter jumper.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 3: Why, this is the softest graft I ever struck [...] No more counter-jumping for me.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Sept. 36/2: The members of the counterjumping profession of Queensland will keep a kind thought for the departed Gaiters, Bishop Dawes.
[US]Eve. World (NY) 13 Aug. n.p.: ‘Look what I wrote in the paper.’ [...] ‘You? [...] Gwan — you’re no writer, you’re a counter-leaper’.
[Aus]T.E. Spencer ‘Philosophical Coal Lumper’ in Budgeree Ballads 151: Maude was out to ’ave ’er little bit of fun [...] But a tart wot chucks a lumper / For a knock-kneed counter-jumper, / Well! She ain’t the sort of tart to fret abaht.
[US](con. 1917–19) Dos Passos Nineteen Nineteen in USA (1966) 467: The crowd of clerks and counterjumpers along the sidewalks.
[UK]J. Phelan Letters from the Big House 144: ’E says as ’is china bust a two-handful kite, Scotch jug, flutes the bogeys cause the jumper ses the moniker’s bent. Slung ’em the madam, an’ copped.
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 41: Not a counter-jumper, not a clerk.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dictionary’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxiii 4/4: counter jumper: A shop assistant.
[UK]L. Hadow Full Cycle 85: The counter-jumper [...] where Pa went to see the new Sam Weller cooking range was most obliging.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 23: Counter Jump Shop or bar assistant.

2. one who has ‘ideas above their station’ and who wishes, as it were, to ‘jump the counter’ to the customers’ side; thus counter-jumping, counter-skipping adj.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 35: The Ludgate-hill counter-jumper, who has also inspected the linen department, says they are of very loose fabric, and won’t wash; be this as it may, there are to be met here some out-and-out molls – that can go in a stunner, and no flies.
[US](con. 1843) Melville White-Jacket (1990) 240: You Emperor – you counter-jumping son of a gun – cock your weather eye up aloft here, and see your betters!
[UK]R.S. Surtees Mr Sponge’s Sporting Tour 306: Oh, you sanctified, putrified [...] counter-skippin’ snob.
[UK] ‘New Intended Reform Bill’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 86: Many respectable females have been much annoyed by second-hand dandies and counter-jumpers.
M.E. Braddon Joshua Haggard 259: I don’t want my son and heir to keep company with counter jumpers .
[UK]A. Binstead Gal’s Gossip 103: What is coming over our young men of the middle class — the sort that turn counter-jumpers in their giddy youth?
[UK]E. Pound letter 6–12 Sept. in Read Letters to James Joyce (1968) 45: This deluge of work by suburban counter-jumpers on the one hand and gut-less Oxford graduates or flunktuates on the other ... bah!
[US]J. Lait ‘Omaha Slim’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 126: When it comes to parades them counter-leapers an’ silk-pajama youths come staggerin’ out o’ candy stores an’ fall in line.
[US]W.N. Burns One-Way Ride 21: And when murder became necessary Torrio pressed a buzzer, issued an order to his gunmen as to so many counter-jumping clerks, and left the details to them.
[Aus]R. Tullipan Follow the Sun 114: Arnie’s just a counter-jumper putting on side.
[UK]Guardian G2 16 July 5: Journalism [...] a profession full of counter-jumpers.

3. attrib. use of sense 2.

[US]Van Loan ‘Mister Conley’ in Score by Innings (2004) 425: You and all your wife’s counterjumper relations!