Shoppin' for Shoooz

Tuesday 10 April 2012

I don’t go very often - shopping that is.  It’s neither a hobby nor a pastime and rarely a need except when there’s a very-special-occasion looming for which there IS a need.

When I do exert myself to make a purchase I try to support the local shopping strip…shades of Memory Lane, trotting down for Mum to Mr Livingstone’s butcher shop in Campbell Street Swan Hill to get the chops for dinner.

But sometimes a special occasion requires a special effort and thus it is that I rise early this morning, throw myself into the shower and with much more enthusiasm, clamber into my little Honda 2-Seater and head for Chadstone!  After years of driving 4 kids around in a Mitsubishi StarWagon filled with school-bags, hockey sticks, footballs, bikes, violins, a cello, a dog and sundry pieces of half-lost, not entirely sweet-smelling clothing, I abandon all sense of guilt and selfishness and take-off in my 2-Seater wearing an incurably smug grin.

If you’ve never been to Chadstone Shopping Centre and have MY sense of direction – which is the sense of direction of a gnat, I advise you to take a thermos, a map of the world and some reading material in case you get lost!

The Chadstone Shopping Centre is a City from the Planet of the Lost!

There are Escalators to take you to the Opposite End Of Where You Want To Be and Walkways at every angle designed to ensure you Never Find What You’re Looking For - unless of course you happen to bump into the Letter i whose sole job is to point you towards someone chatting on a phone who may or may not realize you’re standing in front of them wanting to shove said phone down their throat!

All the same I love the occasional visit - particularly when there’s a special need like right now when I intend to slurp down a coffee rat-a-tat-tat-quickly, purchase the purchase, jump back in the car and head for home.

With this in mind, I arrive early enough to see shop-assistants rubbing sleep out of their eyes, floors being swept and in the case of a HomeWares store, a bed in the window hastily being made to look like new. The young man doing the making shoots me a look of surprise then a grin as I ask if he’d slept there all Easter. ‘Yes, with the EasterBunny’ he replies rather wittily then checks my face to see if this old girl is shocked. He relaxes somewhat and giggles when I retort ‘Hope you didn’t lose any Hare over it’…and off we both trot to start our day with a smile on our faces.

Rarely does anything work out exactly as you envisage it…well, not in my experience anyway!

On my way to finding the coffee shop that I know produces something that both smells and tastes remotely like coffee, I notice a store just next door full of rather odd-shaped things ostensibly designed to go on one’s feet. And as my ‘special need’ is indeed a pair of shoes that needs to look somewhat fashionable, I cunningly devise that I will pop in there, find and buy such shoes and be back home well before lunch.

I should have known better.

Over coffee I get chatting to a very nice young man with a purple Mohawk (very-nice-young-men seem to be in abundance this morning) who assures me that the shoe store next door ‘is a bit naff’ and the one over the other side of the Planet is the way to go.

Like a fool clutching a handbag of Good Luck at a Casino I trot off to the other side of the Planet to find this Mecca of Shoes.  At its large gold door I am greeted by a rather sniffy man.  He’s obviously just seen ‘Pretty Woman’ and been sufficiently influenced by it to suggest that Modom might prefer to go to Myer. I sniff straight back at him, retorting ‘Don’t be silly I have just bought Myer’ and leave him standing there, sniffing somewhat more fiercely than before.

Not prepared to let a sniff deflate me I get out my compass in an attempt to find the store next to the coffee shop that had originally caught my attention. Turning several corners, my attention is grabbed by a Neon-lit space with such an array of footwear that you’d think it impossible not to hit the jackpot. ‘Yes?’ quizzes a woman from a great height inside the space (they must surely have purchased that ladder from the National Library) ‘Um’ I hesitate trying to focus up that far, ‘I need a very special pair of shoes.’ ‘Oh’ she replies gaily, ‘that’s the only sort we have, Ronnie’ll help you’ and with that a spotty youth of no more than 16 ambles towards me. ‘Yairz?’ he enquires with the enthusiasm of a disturbed catnap. ‘I’m needing a pair of shoes’ I say, battling on gamely, ‘it’s for a Wedding…my son is the Groom…and I’m also the Celebrant’…(I try not to look proud.) ‘Didn’t think you’d be the Bride’ he replies laconically ‘flat sole?’

As luck would have it, the young man who slept with the Easter Bunny passes by that store just as I’m leaving it complete with my dignity in my wallet.

He takes my arm and accompanies me first to the coffee shop for a much-needed shot of caffeine and then into the shoe store next door, whereupon he introduces me to a delightful young lady (his girlfriend) who immediately finds the perfect pair of shoes (it's a secret) for the Celebrant/Mother of the Groom (who tries not to feel proud).

My day is saved!

Oh yes…and the Easter Bunny young man, his girlfriend and I are now firm friends on Twitter!


  1. Gosh Nancy those poor store assistants, the world of wonder they have missed out on by missing the point - of their jobs, of human interaction, of kindness, of listening and asking questions instead of making assumptions. Pity they don't realise that their jobs depend of all of that. Not to mention a fabulous follow.
    Hats off to the Easter bunny young man and your girlfriend.
    Debbie Green

    1. Actually, I had a great time Debbie. There is usually a reason why people don't quite react the way you think they should. But you are right about the privilege of having a job and doing it as joyfully as possible!
      Thank you for your comment.

  2. What a delightful story to share.

    I used to play the white baby grand in Chaddy. Every Thursday it was, late night shopping.

    Whatever Chaddy paid me was donated to a charity every month. It was, if I recall, $50 an hour. In return, the experience and meeting new friends was priceless!

    Looking forward to your next blog!

    1. How fantastic Kerry! Playing a baby grand ANYWHERE is surely a very special memory. My elder daughter, currently residing in Paris is a pianist (amongst other things). Thank you for your lovely words.

  3. Oooh. . . . can't wait to see them!

    Disgraceful shop assistants! That would never have happened if you'd come into the shop I worked in at Chaddy (as you only know too well ;-)

    When will you be shopping for the 'very-special-occasion' lingerie??

    R xx

    1. Haha! I have only now at this very minute worked out who you are. Do you want me to publicly 'spill the beans?'