Bookmark and Share

Soviet Russia with Glitz

Trafford Centre – December 2005
We spent last weekend at a birthday party in Gerrards Cross. On the way we stopped at the Trafford Centre in Manchester for some Christmas shopping. It’s a large shopping mall with thousands of car parking spaces that nonetheless fill up, and it has John Lewis and Selfridges and Debenhams and Boots and M&S and all manner of shops selling clothes and sunglasses and mobile phones and everything you could possibly want. Though not everything that we could possibly want. We wanted five things essentially: a vegetable rack, a moderate-sized machine for squeezing oranges, a double-edged breadknife, a picture book of the UK for taking as a gift to people in Italy, and a yo-yo (for the same reason as the book). Not one single item of these things was available. Not in any of the department stores and not in any of the possibly-qualifying shops. In fact it was notable that all the stores and shops were selling essentially the same things as each other. It was like Soviet Russia with glitz.
We also took a look at the food hall, which is done out to look like the deck of an ocean liner, with a ceiling painted like the evening sky, complete with twinkling lights to emulate the stars. To one side of this dreamtime boat, surrounding Pizza Hut and the toilets, the walls have been sculpted to look like you might be in the Egyptian tomb of Nefertiti. It is all, to understate it somewhat, rather bizarre. A strange world, of millions, for being a Saturday before Christmas it was considerably crowded with people.
We then drove on to Gerrards Cross and, passing High Wycombe on the motorway we spotted that John Lewis was open so decided to see whether they might have any of the things we wanted, and whaddya know? they had all of them. No trouble. Well, not quite all, they’d sold out of yo-yo's, so we had the bright idea of buying tiddlywinks instead, which we think might be even better. No tiddlywinks were seen in the Trafford Centre, so that makes six things they didn’t have.
I’m not sure why this is. Same department store, different place, different people, different stock. Is it simply that we are more of the pale blue pullover, white slacks and brown shoes persuasion, as opposed to the baseball cap and combat trousers, and that these two worlds have entirely different needs in terms of their consumer purchases, and that this phenomenon about our society goes completely unrecorded? Or is it that the people of middle-class Cheshire (where there are plenty of pale blue pullovers and white slacks) go somewhere else to shop, and if so, where? And does anyone who writes in the newspapers know, that in the centre of their country there is Soviet Russia shopping with glitz? I’ve never seen it mentioned in print.
Visit the Trafford Centre, for there you can find something that no one in authority knows about, or is prepared to admit, so you can be one up with your knowledge, see.


Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails