image by Christopher Woo

There’s a slow, mournful tune playing in my mind. It is signalling the death of the humble shop. First it was the bookstores, Borders, Dymocks, Angus & Robertson, may they rest in peace. Now it seems our spending is causing the clothes stores to shut up and I’m not happy.

No matter how much I love online stuff, and I do, it can never replace a day at the mall. I’m such a girl, I know, but there’s nothing more satisfying than coming home with a boot full of new things, presents for others included of course, and those sore ‘shopping feet’. And you cannot have a coffee or lunch with a friend online can you?

Oh you get to the mall at 9am and plan your attack. Will it be the big department stores  or the smaller ones with the crappier quality? Do you have a list? Presents in mind or a whole new wardrobe? Then you set your feet in the right direction and off you go. The door lady (the only obvious security) greets you with half a smile. But you don’t care, you’re shopping and you’ve got the whole day to do it! Ha ha!

I always go to the things I need/want the most. Just to make sure I get them. And if they’re not in stock, which is a lot of the time, then I have to change my plans and head to other stores to make sure I get what I want. I even bartered with the manager of JB Hifi the other day and it was so easy I think I’ll keep doing it. Poor shopkeepers are desperate for our dollars so we have the power people. Barter away.

It is a little sad that everything is going online. But things have been so expensive in Australia for way too long, it’s a wake up call for all the retailers out there. For example, a pair of Converse shoes in America goes for around $20 US, in Australia it is over $100. Um, no wonder we consult our computers before hitting the shops. We just cannot afford it anymore.

It is an interesting time in history. The media is in its own spotlight for once with the whole News of the World going under and the Murdochs being brought down a peg or two. Our computers or iphones are our constant companions. They are our letters, our conversations, our telephones, our Morse code, our smoke signals. They provide entertainment, information and communication. We have lost the right to be ignorant. If you don’t know something, you can find out. No more sleepless nights.

But, sigh, is it all worth it? Are we losing touch with each other by going underground and staring at our computers 24/7? Will we even know how to have a long conversation in the future or will it all be emoticons and shorthand?