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Archive for the ‘Pure rant’ category

New sandals

I kind of feel repulsed by shopping centres. Never liked them. Mostly, being in retail space reinforces the inferiority complex I have along with a certain frisson of je ne sais quoi: I don’t belong. I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why anyone would want to spend time in a cavernous concrete temple of artificiality, and anyway, what do people do once they get there?

I know that some indoor shopping centre contain bookstores, stationery shops and hardware stores, and I certainly enjoy wasting my time among shelves stocked with paper, calligraphy pens and drill bits. Lots of little things arranged together side by side, to form a magical whole. Whenever I’m roaming among aisles of glue and adhesives or comparing wall plug sizes, I always think about what it must be like to perform a stock take in this environment. Imagine spending your afternoon attempting an accurate count of erasers, bath plugs or Lonely Planet Guides?

Personally, I think working in retail would be a death sentence for me. Not only because of my poor social skills and unwillingness to sell anything to anyone, but because standing on my feet for eight hours a day seems is as appealing as a Los Angeles-Sydney non-stop flight seated next to a Philippine Roman Catholic nun. Which, by the way, happened to me. I have no desire to repeat the experience, and certainly not every day of my chosen career.

Still, some people choose to work in retail because they feel good about helping people and enjoy giving customer satisfaction. There is a infinitely small percentage of retail staff that can read me, who can feel the ‘stay away from me’ vibe’ which I emit whenever I start browsing. The remainder of retail workers can be divided into those who follow me unceasingly around the shop and those who look at my appalling dress sense and ignore me therewith.

The latter group of retailers are uniquely to be found in clothing and accessory shops. People working in clothes stores and I, well, we are mutual in our antipathy towards the other party. I consider fashion very low on the ‘list of things a human needs to achieve self-satisfaction and happiness’. It’s down there with ‘meeting a celebrity’ and ‘shaving every workday’. Luckily, human are a rich, varied and surprisingly disappointing species, so there are a plethora of types who couldn’t think of any place better to spend the day than ‘Gap’ or ‘Harvey Nichols’. Good, now you people can serve me.

However, don’t look at me like that. I know I look crap and I’ll never make it into Vogue, but to be fair, I think Anna Wintour would look good as a coat and Karl Lagerfeld is one of the reasons that the Taliban isn’t all wrong about western values. One of my closest friends once said that on a scale from one to ten in dress sense, I scored a zero. Luckily for me, I couldn’t give a toss.

However, I cannot live without sandals. And today I bought some. They are very special. The man told me how wonderful they looked and I asked him to be quiet because this would be the twentieth pair I’ve bought in my life. They just happen to be back in fashion now, so spare me the sycophantic obsequiousness. I’m wearing them about the hotel room because I can.

With any luck, sandals will be in fashion again for the new few years and at least once more in 2023, probably the next time I have to enter a clothing store. Of course, the irony is that my article on Istanbul shopping centres is the most read of all the online pieces I’ve written. Rubbish.