Thursday, 18 December 2008

Security bells, security all the way

I'm feeling weary this evening.

I stopped by Country Road at Bondi Junction shortly after 9.00 this morning where they were holding the first day of a three days sale offering 30% and then a further 10% off that price on all purchases. The men's wear section was packed with people (mostly women) rifling through the men's clothing. I quickly selected a few T shirts and joined what was a pretty long queue for the cash register so early in the morning. There appeared to be plenty of staff accepting payments but the queue still moved at less than snail's pace.

I joined the queue at a point adjacent to the store's doors and my ears were assailed by the constant screech of the security alarms. I assumed the alarms were being set off by the security tags attached to our intended purchases as we stood in close proximity to the security readers.

But I couldn't work out why the queue was moving so slowly. Then I noticed that the staff were writing out credit card purchases by hand and using that old swipe machine system I haven't seen in years. It seems the computerised link to the Card Authorisers was down.

This was not the only difficulty. More than half the purchasers ahead of me had to return to the registers after their purchases had been completed because rogue tags still attached to some of their purchases were setting the alarms off as they attempted to leave the store. These people were buying so many items that the staff were failing to identify all the tags on their purchases.

To say I was having fun in that queue would be an overstatement. To add to my discomfort, half the women in the queue were pushing prams. These prams were proving unwieldy in the crowds and adding to the general sense of chaos.

I spent closer to half an hour than fifteen minutes in that queue and was glad to be out of the store (without further setting off any alarms) once my purchase was finalised.

Having survived that ordeal I ventured into Borders to look for a couple of books. Thankfully it was much quieter there and I was able to select and pay for two books without the noise and ado I had experienced at Country Road. Even so, whilst waiting for service at Borders I noticed the aftermath of a serious accident right outside the store. A bus had knocked down a woman in the street and she was being treated on the roadway with two ambulances and a hoard of spectators in attendance.

I made a comment about the accident scene to the young man processing my purchase. I had to repeat myself three times because he was wearing headphones (apparently listening to music) and could not hear me. He was totally unaware of the accident until I mentioned it even though it was right alongside where he was positioned.

From Bondi Junction I drove across to Broadway Centre to meet up with Kn for lunch. We tend to have our lunches there or at a small centre across the road during his lunch break from his job at nearby Sydney University.

(Broadway Centre today.)

The crowds were building at Broadway too and we had our lunch across from the centre where three 'hole in the wall' type Asian food outlets are located. We could choose from Vietnamese, Chinese or Thai and today we both selected from the Vietnamese outlet. In truth, the three outlets have similar menus despite their cuisine differences and my selection (Singapore Noodles with Chicken) was available at all three.

I enjoy lunching with Kn. I can be completely open with him about what is happening in my life and my mind. We usually update each other on our respective love lives, a report which rarely requires much time on my part. Kn, in his mid forties, is more active than I am but I was interested to realise that he too now is slowing down.


  1. The whole shopping experience makes my skin crawl! I actually don't do it any more. Any gifts I get these days are done via on line purchase. Living across the Atlantic from people really cuts down on the frivolous gift-giving that has taken over our culture of late.

  2. When you started to make mention of going out to lunch, I had in my mind that you guys were going to be waiting in long lines and during the wait your stomachs were going to growl in loud tones. ;-)

    Glad you ended up having a good time at lunch and you were probably feeling good to sit down after all that shopping. I hope you're feeling better this week!

  3. Not the sort of thing you would expect in a Country Road shop.

  4. I thought that one of the perks of being retired is that you can go shopping without being bombarded by the presence of other shoppers (but then I forgot the housewives).

    It's stories like your's that's made me a scrooge this year. No presents for anybody (unless I can just chip in on a joint gift that someone else goes through the effort of actually buying).

  5. wcs - i should do more online shopping myself. Although reasonably techno-savvy I have confined online purchases so far to theatre tickets, flight tickets and hotel reservations.

    afod - I was more thirsty than hungry after that shopping. I am better thank you.

    Andrew - yes, I expect more couth at CR. Usually I could fire a cannon there without hitting a salesperson let alone another customer.

    Ad Rad - When I worked fulltime in the CBD I used to curse the retired shoppers cluttering the footpath at lunchtime when I was in a hurry to pay my bills etc. Now that I am retired I curse the workers cluttering the footpath at lunchtime when I venture out. Human nature, I suppose.

  6. I would have told the guy working behind the counter and wearing "headphones" to take them off. And depending on my mood I would have preceded to explain to the "young man" the reasons why the wearing of headphones by people working in a service industry is inappropriate.

    I hope the woman who was knocked down by the bus is OK.

  7. Never a dull moment up the Jungo

  8. A shopping experience that is all too often the norm, especially at this frantic and ridiculous time of the year.
    BTW my boyfriend works at the Broadway Centre so I try to be there as often as possible to have lunch with him.