Of cat bags and Easter bilbies

April 12, 2009 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Two interesting things have happened to me over the last week or so – showing me firstly that The Brands still dominate (despite the looming spectre of a global recession or depression) and secondly, that we can still be polite to each other and have fun under pressure.

So I was in Hong Kong recently and I took with me a vinyl bag that I received as a freebie from a local vet. To tell you the truth, a friend and I went to this vet for one reason – to check out the very cute Brazilian guy behind the counter. From this visit, we came away with a lot of free things the vet was giving away, including this bag:

dsc_0416Now, I realise that it’s not the most stylish thing you’ve ever seen but it’s quite a handy tote bag – I can carry books to read, I can carry my new Diana F+ camera and it was very useful during my Hong Kong visit for lugging around my new macro lens and stuff a girl needs when out and about.

I walked into a Gucci shop in Hong Kong. I just wanted to see what the prices were like and to drool over a couple of handbags. Despite giving up The Brands, I still look at them occasionally. Well, dear reader, you should have seen the look on the salesgirl’s face when she clamped her eyes on my Eukanuba Cat Foods bag.

Here she was – immaculately dressed in a black suit, ruby red nails, a touch of glitter eyeshadow on her eyelids, shining black hair coiffed to perfection. And here I was – with my new plastic toy camera draped around my neck and vinyl bag, touting an advertisement for cat food.

She looked me up and down and her eyes settled in amazement on my tote. Her expression positively dripped with disdain. She muttered something to her companion – probably along the lines of “how do we get this person out of our store fast?”. The whole episode just confirmed for me why I have given up The Brands because more often than not they are associated with people who favour style over substance and think that appearance is the standard by which we should all be judged. My free cat food bag now takes pride of place as a symbol of anti-The Brands (I don’t think that Eukanuba is a global designer brand). And seems shops devoted to luxury goods are shutting down in Moscow and the Japanese (The Brands addicts) are trading down to Zara and H&M.

The second thing that happened to me occurred last Thursday, the day before Easter Friday. I wanted to beat the crowds I had seen in Darrell Lea and Haigh’s chocolate shops in Sydney, so I thought I’d hit these shops at 9.00am.  I was after chocolate mint frogs for a work colleague so trotted to Haigh’s only to be met with a LONG queue streaming out of the store and half-way down Strand Arcade. Obviously, many other people had thought of the same “get in early” cunning plan that I had.

With a sigh, I joined the queue and about 15 minutes later reached the front door of the shop. I was ushered in by a burly security guard (security guards for chocolate?).  People were buzzing around like bees in the confines of this rather small shop. Having grabbed two packets of choc frogs, I joined the queue for the cash registers. It was a snaking queue with one side going in one direction and the other side going in the opposing direction. Which meant that as you were making your way along the queue, you were facing strangers going the other way.

Normally, I find people in queues a taciturn lot. We stare at the floor, we talk into our mobile phones, we ignore fellow people. But this queue was different. Despite lining up for over 30 minutes, no-one displayed any signs of impatience or anger. It turned out that quite a few people were from New Zealand and they had flown over to get Haigh’s chocolate (would have thought Whittaker’s was pretty good). A long discussion between about 8 people in the queue, including myself, took place over the best brand of chocolate.

When I reached the top of the first queue, I was met with a very large security guard who had been barking orders like “move to the right people, so others can get by”. He looked mean to me. But he stared down and said “I feel like a school teacher” to which I replied “yep, and we feel like we’re all on detention”. He laughed and we then began a discussion on whereabouts in New Zealand he was from as he was of Maori ancestry.

All in all, there was a lot of laughter and talk going on. People were smiling despite many of us being in that queue for over 30 minutes. We discussed the delights of chocolate and whether dark chocolate is better than milk. We discussed whether chocolate bilbies were more popular than chocolate rabbits (personally, I always buy a bilby).

And when I finally reached the counter, the dudes serving had a smile on their dials. They were serving one person after the other such was the fast pace of chocolate flying out the shop. But they were courteous and even offered a free chocolate to take away with you.

Even though I despair about humanity – the violence, the callousness, the wars, the poverty, the global financial hissy fit – I came out of that chocolate shop feeling elated and thinking that I’d just spent a fantastic 40 minutes or so with fellow humans that I am unlikely to ever see again in my lifetime.

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Entry filed under: Reflections. Tags: , .

Happy Easter! Overstepping the boundary?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paris  |  April 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Chocolate is calming even before one eats it!!
    Great…so we can diet by looking at the chocolate instead of splurging on it to ease ou job stress!!
    (summmer is in here soon on the over side of the planet)

    Reply
  • 2. thinkingshift  |  April 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I’m sure you’re looking forward to summer Paris. I find that chocolate shops are a great place to find happy people – no-one seems to be impatient or rude. Must be something in the chocolate that calms us down!
    Kim

    Reply

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