October 30, 2007

Pet Peeves Post #2: Shopping

Shopping is another one of my pet peeves. In fact, it probably rates very highly on my list of peeves. Why, I'm not entirely sure. Maybe it has something to do with the huge proportions of SHEEP/ZOMBIES that are out and about "shopping" at the same time as me. You know, the people that walk straight into you with their trolleys. or their prams or trikes. And then get annoyed that you haven't moved out of the way. Have you ever gone shopping and decided to not move out of the way of people? You end up having people walk into you because they thought you would move. Why exactly you should move instead of them is a big mystery. Even worse, and this touches slightly on the Slow Walkers post I made earlier, are people who walk side by side. In three's. Might I suggest that if you are out with you friends you walk in a triangle formation. Because walking side by side makes it hard for OTHER people to walk on the same pavement as you.

Or perhaps the reason Shopping is a peeve is because of the crappy customer service. For a long time now, I have worked in customer service, and at one point, it was on a shop floor. I've had people shout at me, people roll their eyes at me, all manner of things, so I understand that customer service is probably very hard to get right and fairly unrewarding. At the same time though that is what staff in shops are paid to do. Not talk to their work buddies or chit chat with friends pretending to be customers. I know it's boring and quite horrible, but please don't start talking about Big Brother when you should be serving.

Shops and shopping is about spending money. You have money, they have products. You need to use money to get products. They need to convince you to hand over money, you need to convince yourself not to. This is why generally when I go into a shop, I know what I am going to buy. When I walk into a clothing shop, I think to myself - "Aha! What I want is a shirt. Or 2 Shirts. I don't want trousers. Or socks. Or a hat. or anything else."

Very rarely, I won't know what it is I want and I will wander into a shop. This is how I found Knights of Dark Renown by David Gemmell. Or Johnathon Strange & Mr Norris by Susannah Clarke. It's not a coincidence both of those are books; I love perusing, meandering in and out of aisles', my head tilted to the left or right. But only in bookshops. Or perhaps when I am looking for a particular DVD. I don't peruse much when I am looking for a shirt.

The other problem, which thankfully doesn't happen in Perth, is that of heating. Shops in the UK keep their heating on, it seems, all year round. I'm not entirely sure why this is. Having heating on in Pubs is something I understand (because you get hot and you want something to drink) but not entirely sure why this should be the same in a shop. Perth has air conditioned shops in which you hide in because outside it is too hot. Going outside is a major issue, so you stay in the shop. And peruse, and possibly buy something. Having heating on in a shop in Winter is pretty good, but not when it's summer outside (although in the UK, summer tends to only last for about 2 weeks).

I find shopping tedious. I don't particularly want to spend my off-days trawling through shops buying things that I might not really need. Internet shopping, on the other hand, is a wonderful thing, although you do need to know what you want before you start shopping online. It's no use thinking "I want something, but I'm not sure what. Let me ask
Amazon or Tesco" because you're going to spend a long time searching the sites. And you would probably have a better idea if you were there in person, perusing.

Perth, unfortunately, does not have Online Shopping. Well, it does and it doesn't. All the big stores are represented online by websites but their products are not listed individually. Instead their 'catalogues' are scanned and displayed online. Here in Perth (not sure about the rest of Oz), the stores print out fortnightly specials and have them posted through your letterbox, the intention that you will sit at your table reading them and finding out which shops sell what stuff cheaply, so you will go there and buy them at that store. And quite possibly buy other things whilst you are there because you can't be arsed to go to another store and buy their cheap stuff.

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