Friday, January 7, 2011

Monument to materialism and self-absorption

AKA our closest mega-mall. Shops screaming "buy, buy, buy" at every turn. The in-your-face message that we need even more stuff than we currently have. We went today for the annual school shoe shopping trip. Thoughts of this trip never fill me with joy and today it lived up to all expectations.

This particular shopping centre prides itself on having a state of the art carparking system with little lights that tell you whether there are carparks available in it. Green lights mean there is a free spot. Whenever we go there, green lights are few and far between. Generally it's not a comforting beginning since you know in advance how crowded it's going to be inside.

So we found a carpark because someone was leaving, and then entered the fray at David Jones to look for shoes. For the past three years, I have taken the boys there to have school shoes fitted. The reason I have travelled a bit further from home is because the sales assistants measure the kids' shoe size properly, we get individualised service and we usually get a discount on the shoes with the post-Christmas sales. This year it didn't go well. A large sign in the shoe section announced "Please queue here for service" and with it was a little pile of numbers (a bit like deli service at the supermarket). Measurements were taken after a short wait but then the problems began. I wanted black school shoes that double as sports shoes because this saves me buying school shoes and sports shoes for each child. Neither of the sizes my kids took were available. No other options. The saleswoman seemed fairly distracted and it was difficult for her to slow down long enough for me to tell her what I was actually looking for.

So I gave up on that and we ventured further into the shopping frenzy. We had to find a computerised information directory (extra walking to find one of those) to look for other shoe shops. Eventually we found Mathers and a very helpful young girl fitted both the kids with the shoes I was looking for. She even got her supervisor to double check the sizing, and I ended up with a $20 gift voucher as well when I paid for them. This was good, since I need new shoes. In the end, though, all this could have been done closer to home since there are two Mathers stores within five minutes drive of our house.

Back to DJ's for new socks. Success finally. The next challenge on the list was a present for a girl in Liam's class whose birthday party is tomorrow. Spent some time in the DJ's toy section trying to discourage the boys away from "Zhu-zhu pets." She would probably love one but I think they are a pointless toy. Where's the imagination in a fake hamster? As I was trying to get them away from the Zhu-zhu display to the art activity display next to it, a guy and his son were having an in-depth discussion about the Zhu-zhus. From a phone call the guy took while we were all standing there (that I was trying hard to get away from as I was praising the virtues of drawing and creative play to the boys), I assumed he was a doctor since I heard the opening line that must fill everyone listening to doctors with great confidence "Which patient was that again?" After we'd paid for our stuff he came to the counter loaded up with Zhu-zhu accessories (apparently you can buy a hamster run for them to "play" in). We ended up buying a "Fingerprint art set" for the birthday girl.

Escape at last. As we were leaving, I noticed a BMW in the carpark with the personalised plate BMW 4ME. Seriously. Back out on the street we saw a friend from church parking her car in the street parking at the front of the shops and I honked and waved madly at her. She looked straight through our car without noticing who I was.

That just about sums up my feelings in these places really. Insignificant and invisible.

I am over it. I think I will use my ABC gift cards in their online shop. After today, I can see why the rise of online shopping has been so appealing to consumers.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I'm so with you. I mostly can cope with these places if I'm not with kids, though it wouldn't be my first choice of a way to spend a spare afternoon.