Sunday, March 28, 2010

Westfield Chermside and Frank Bloody Lowy

I’ve never really been in a minority before, I mean white middle class male in western culture, you don’t get much more dominant paradigm than that.

And being of conservative liberal political stock I’ve never been against a business venture from maximising its fiscal position with entrepreneurial spirit. Maybe then it’s the fact that I’m a little ’l’ liberal with a social conscience, not a neo-Liberal, that my current world view has shifted.

“What’s he on about?”

Well, on a regular basis I find that the position of ‘parent to young child’ and the concept of ‘free market imperatives’ collide and when this collision occurs, it is us ‘parents to young children’ that are thrust into a minority, put up or piss off position.

“Hurry up man, you’re speaking in riddles.”

Ok then, so this is the issue as I see it. Kiosks. They’re the bloody problem. A modern day scourge I tell you. Bloody kiosks popping up everywhere. I can’t stand them and my biggest gripe is with Westfield at Chermside, probably happening at Westfields everywhere so I blame Frank Bloody Lowy. Because their kiosks aren’t those little fruit cart ones, they’re huge, multi-roomed even.

“Good Lord, that’s a bit of a rant. You’re still not making sense.”

Alright then, let me set the scene. Young(ish) dad, beautiful wife and robust toddler venture to mega-mall to run errands. Young(ish) dad parks car, beautiful wife places toddler into pram. No problem so far. Young(ish) dad wheels pram to automatic sliding doors and enters mega-mall. Problems commence. The procession around mega-mall requires stop, start, stop, start as the masses of humanity walk around, in front of and between this family.

Dad thinks to himself, there aren’t that many people here, why all the bottlenecks on the thoroughfares. Ah, bloody, pissing kiosks. They’re everywhere on the concourses now. Once upon a time it used to be just the key cutting guy, now you can get a mixed berry frappe, a massage, assorted trinketry, mobile phone accessories, hell, these days you can even get your teeth whitened in front of the multitudes.

So, well done Frank Bloody Lowy and Westfield Chermside. You’ve seen that under used space in front of shops, the space that people used to walk along, and you’ve plonked kiosks there. Well done, you’ve just made some more money.

And what else used to inhabit this space? Ah, that’s right. Chairs. Chairs? What a useless, out-dated, antiquated, old-fashioned idea. Chairs in a shopping mall, how ridiculous? People don’t come here to sit, they come here to shop. And spend their money … at the bloody, pissing kiosks.

Well guess what, people, namely parents with kids and prams do use chairs. A good place to sit, they are. You know, to rest for a bit, feed the young toddler, wait for the missus while she tries on a new outfit. Because you know what happens these days? Young(ish) dads find themselves standing in the walkway between the boutique and the crazy popcorn kiosk, bottlenecking the space for those walking past.

This young(ish) dad has tried following his beautiful wife into said boutique but a) it’s a women’s shop and 2) the pram often doesn’t fit between the racks. (Another problem identified.)

So the end result is the pram pusher is constantly apologising because there isn’t enough space for parent and pram. And older people complain and mutter that no wonder kids turn out so bad these days when their parents are so selfish. And the teenagers who are scoping out the mall in their four abreast packs aren’t too keen to give way, in fact they don’t even really know the road rules and are prone to keeping both left and right.

These days when I’m shopping at the mega-mall and I’m part of the minority that is ‘parents with prams’ I’m able to exchange a knowing nod with other members of this group and because we know the difficulties attached with pram pushing there is invariably the courtesy of space given.

And since I often need to have a bit of a sit, well as much as it pains me, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and now toddler James has the whitest brightest teeth you’ll ever see and his dad has rested feet.

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