Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Tour of the High Temple of Consumerism

On my way back from the dentists on Wednesday I dropped in to the newly-opened Westfield shopping centre to see what it was like. Here are some of my thoughts:

1) The architecture is amazing, what a shame that all this time and effort goes in to designing a shopping centre while so many sports centres and libraries are so run down and so many Londoners live in substandard housing.

2) Boring boring shops - didn't seem to be anything new or different or interesting, just the same stuff. Did we need another M&S in London? Were queues forming outside the existing ones and dressing rooms overflowing? Or are we less filling a need and more just manufacturing a need? Er actually Cru, that may be a stupid question...

3) Why is every single product on sale advertised through the medium of James Bond tie-ins. I heard the latest film is rubbish and I never much liked the old ones, they're all the same misogynist crap and they're totally dated. But Daniel Craig's face is on every wall selling everything from watches to car insurance. No doubt the loos have a sign that says "Have a quantum of solace in our bogs" or "007 - he squats, he squirts...!"

4) I mentioned manufacturing need - there's a salon in there that ONLY does blow-drying. And the appointments they offer are half an hour long! I think half an hour of professional blow-drying is over the top for someone who's getting married in the afternoon, but there were people in there on a Monday morning mid-shop! Not that there's anything wrong with being pampered once in a while but it was pissing down outside so the poofed-up look will only last a few minutes.

5) The sales assistants in many of the designer stores were suspiciously attractive. Makes me want to put on 200 pounds, apply for a job and open a court case. I can't risk it though in case they call my bluff and I end up perched in a mobile hospital bed in the entrance to Ted Baker reciting the company-approved welcome comment and crying on the inside.

6) Lack of seating. They want you to come in, to walk around the 43 acres of shopping mall loading your arms up with heavy and bulky products but if you want a quick sit-down to take the weight off you are going to have to buy an over-priced coffee first. Or a half-hour blow-dry.

...not that I really thought I was going to LIKE it!

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