Posts Tagged ‘Westfield’

The running of the Shoppers has started.

December 14, 2017



IMG_20171013_172328~2 The pansiesThere I was, foolishly hoping that Christmas shopping  would now be done on-line. I rubbed hands in glee when Frank Lowy announced his Westfield Emporiums had been sold. A canny man, I thought. Perfect timing. Shopping malls are on the nose. People shop in their lonely room from a dusty computer. The instant split second excitement at the push of a button.

A few weeks ago at a huge shopping complex in Campbelltown I noticed that shops were half empty. Many seemed to mull around the food hall grazing out of paper plates and sipping luridly coloured slushies out of gallon sized polystyrene buckets. I figured already then that many now shop on-line. Eating was the only thing still somewhat difficult to do on-line

With the advent of Amazon, dire predictions were made, spelling the end of traditional shopping. However, this morning’s trip to a local supermarket ‘Farmer’s Market’ undid my theory. It had all the hallmarks of shoppers in a frenzy. Jaws were being tightened and the trolleys were wrenched out of their coin operated locking devices with more than just a bit of intolerance towards other shoppers trying to free a trolley. One can pick up those signs. It was the same last year. Kids are being smacked and items are being bought in totally unjustifiable numbers with the excuse they might come in ‘handy’ or ‘ just in case.’ I overheard one husband begging his wife not to buy the triple smoked ham, ‘we chucked it out last year,’ he said.

I noticed one shopper on one bare knee digging at floor level trying to get to the back of a mountain of large hams which were for sale at $ 8.- a kilo. The hams themselves were massive as was the exposed thigh of the other knee poking up. Hams at the back are the freshest, she stated firmly. Other shoppers would no doubt follow her and do the same. Some years ago, I lost my mobile phone. It was found at the back of lettuces. I remember doing that trick of digging at the back of the lettuces hoping for the freshest and must have lost my mobile there. It was when I rang my phone that a shopper answered it. She must have been so surprised.

The Government is on holidays till February. That is one of the best presents this nation was given. This should undo some of the pre-Christmas tension and help calm us down.

All the best, dear readers. Enjoy the holiday and stay sane.

Jingle Bells, jingle bells…jingle cash registers.

November 13, 2015


It is that time again. You can see it in their eyes. The quickening in their walks to the super-market. An edginess in the voice. ‘Father Christmas is coming to town’. More and more shopping malls are employing experienced  female  ‘father’ Christmases.  With all the sexual abuse of children coming to the fore, the last bastion of male domination has been abandoned. It is frightening is it not? Not a religion or faith has been spared. The clergy are now queuing up at courts and even distant Cardinal’s finest damask mitres are starting to wobble. In any case, children are deemed to be safer  on mother Christmas’ knees than on the old bony but jolly male version. Soon, prams and mother will line up to get the obligatory photo taken. The transition to the female Father Christmas has been seamless. No worries at all. Father Christmas is sulking and his reindeer off their moss.

On a 7.30 am ABC rapport, a warning was issued that even though for most this pre-Christmas period it is a happy time. Not for all. Families get together, enjoy a nice dinner. The giving of presents. The Christmas tree taken out of the box, branches all screwed together, all electrically lit up inside a cosy lounge. The outside of garages, eaves, doorways and even gutters also all alight with festive multi coloured twinkling lights. The shops are full of buckets and buckets of those lights and it is a competition like nothing else. Neighbours trying to out-do this latest race to have the most intricate lit up exterior.  The MacMansions are of course unbeatable when it comes to large areas being able to get lit up. Some of those now look as if driving past an air-port or Las Vegas.

The warning on the program touched upon that charities were stretched to the limit. That family violence was already picking up and that the time of partner and wife abuse was always at its worst during the period leading up to Christmas. Someone commented on another program that in the hours at the end of the last shopping day on Christmas eve, financial transactions are peaking at 250.000 per SECOND. There has to be a connection between that and outbursts of violence. Where is the money coming from?

Are we all somehow joined to cash registers? Has capitalism managed to convince us that happiness is only available at Westfield shopping Cathedrals. I remember a pair of hand knitted grey socks hanging from the chimney back then and perhaps a toy or two. A meccano set. Dad’s rare cooking skills came out in making fondant sweets that he made from molten sugar and some almond essence poured into  small metal forms. The Christmas tree was real and so were the candles and dad’s fondants hanging from the pungent smelling spruce-tree. The streets sounds were muffled by snow and all was real. No electronic nervous sounds. Christmas had a smell and  it was so real. No plastic or racing twitching lights, or drunken brawls . No garbage cans afterwards spilling over with un-eaten food, rotting hams or pizzas  eaten out of a box. The lonely prawns abandoned on the nature strip.

It was so peaceful then and it was real.

Rosaria from Gozo (the harrowing story of Halal sausages.)

August 1, 2012

Rosaria from Gozo (Chapter4)

Posted on July 10, 2011by

Azzopardi new bed

Hzanna Azzopardi in the meantime back in Rockdale was excited in anticipation of telling her sister Rosaria on Skype this coming morning about her latest home improvements. Before her husband’s departure to his own butcher shop in Rockdale’s Westfield’s Fantasiastic shopping Mall, she asked him to log on to Skype.

Her husband had started his butcher-shop some years ago and had recently changed its name from ‘Meat for YOU’, to ‘Azzopardi’s MEAT SOLUTIONS’. He thought that, due to the influx of many from the Middle East, an exotic name might add to many more commercial opportunities. He, very judicially, now also proudly displayed ‘Halal Compliant’ on his window. Law abiding, the Azzopardi family was indeed.

After the Skype was engaged Rosaria’s face appeared, looking all flushed and roseate from the family event at L-Ghadira beach. How are you? I am fine Hzanna replied, just as excited. We have just got some new furniture from Harvey Norman and next we will be looking for shelving at Bunning’s. After all the years of scrimping and saving for son and daughter, the Azzopardi couple thought it was time to splash out for themselves. A new lounge and King size bed, she explained. The bed was huge and had a stereo music unit built in the bed-head. Rosaria was somewhat rattled by all this good news from Australia.

She was puzzled by Harvey Norman and Bunning. What were they and why a big bed? Was it to do with privacy or veneering? She understood that things were different in Rockdale.

Why the stereo in the bed? Hzanna was a good singer. She remembered her sweet singing at the school in L-Ghadira before her leaving Gozo many years ago. Hzanna had take pictures of the new bed and also the furniture, e-mailed them all in colour. She was so proud of her new life and her husband with his own Meat Solution business. It would never have been possible in Malta. Besides, everyone in Malta was a butcher, and often a tailor as well or a barber.

Hzanna further enthused about Australia having many people who have a ‘lifestyle’. A lifestyle is what Bunning and Harvey Norman sell. That’s why many like Australia and want to live here. In Malta you just sit on wooden chairs and other crude hand-down heirlooms shared throughout all the families. Hzanna sounded a bit haughty now. Rosaria, smiled sweetly back but her forehead was showing a furrowed effort in getting to grips on Harvey Norman, King bed, Bunning’s and life-styling. It was a big task so soon after her family party on the beach. She could still hear Sophia’s singing and was not ready to comprehend ‘lifestyle’ as yet.

She understood that life is different elsewhere.

Weaning us away from Shopping Malls.

February 12, 2012

Is there anything more demeaning than doing our shopping at those temples of consumerism, the Shopping Mall?  It involves so much more than just shopping; is it just a lack of time or the convenience of it all, or are there more sinister issues at play?

Let’s sit down and discuss, shall we?  We have to get to the bottom of why we insist and justify, strolling around those cathedrals of despair, whereby we furtively eye each other in some hope of recognition by another soul seeking salvation from the terrors of life and of shopping till we’re dropping.

After all, why do we drive and go through the horrors of finding a parking spot at those acreages of echoing concrete jungles hidden below ground and lit by ghoulish blue neon-lights?  The lost trolleys totally  abandoned but sunning themselves in suburb’s grassy kerbs and knolls, lost hope for retrieval a long time ago, no matter how high the rewards. Why haven’t we followed their example? How on earth could we ever have been seduced away from our beloved corner shop and how can we possibly find our way back, make amends.

The friendly corner shop with their owners peering so amicably over their rimmed spectacles, wiping hands on flowery printed aprons have disappeared by the thousands. Do you all still remember the joviality of: “who is next, please?” Also, “I haven’t seen you lately, Mrs. Murphy, where have you been?”

What did they do wrong to deserve their total annihilation by those giants of Westfield- Centro- Merchants and so many other Mecca’s for detergents, away from those well known and much loved suburban shopping strip?  Those strips are still there and students of eras long bygone can study its history by deciphering faded sign-writing on their rusting awnings. A chemist here, a butcher there (with lamb cutlets on special at $3.50 a kilo,) the hardware store with his barrows out at the crack of dawn, remember, it’s all gone…So many now up for rental.  Thai massage parlours with large lettering and arrows pointing to discrete entries from the back lane are now mushrooming, displacing the plethora of those much loved Galanopoulos & Spiros’ milk bars. At least they might give some welcome relief to the ennui suffering lonely Mall shopper, steeped in clear-sighted despair.

Even hardware stores have been hi-jacked by big terminal capitalism. There is now just Bunnings. One here in Mittagong so big it has its own internal climate. The ‘Highland News’ reported a small lightning strike only last Thursday above the caulking compounds division. Pigeons fly around merrily, a stray dog cocking leg against elderly gentleman immersed in studying tap washers. Bunnings don’t have a food-court but does provide barbequed sausages on sliced white Tip-Top bread. They sell those sausages on a crispy roll to raise funds for the Rural Fire Service or sometimes the Lions Club. Last time I was there for a silicone tube, I noticed a woman with FUK- U silk- screen printed on her T-shirt. I avoided eye contact. She was buying a large fiery red painted plumber’s pipe- wrench and seemed in a hurry.

The convenience of doing all our shopping in the one place we had at our communal suburban shopping strip. You walked from shop to shop and with you own vinyl covered shopping trolley. It was very convenient. Often we walked to those shops from our homes and this kept us slim. An extra bonus was the social intercourse with both shoppers and shop owners. Dogs used to cozily saunter in and out of shops, looking for their owners. Kids were given treats and there were mother’s galore admiring each other’s bonnie babies.

Now we get the two fingers up your arse greeting, trying to find a parking spot at the Westfield Mall bunker, after having driven for hours.  By the time we have liberated a cold and heartless stainless steel trolley away from its tightly packed brothers we find the wheels are jammed or it has a will of its own and wants to go into a different direction, wanting to escape to a grassy knoll. I have often seen shoppers taking the tissues out having a little sob and cry behind the margarine division, heaving with bitter regret. Ambulances respond to security having  found yet another elderly, totally confused and de-hydrated pensioner shopper, lost between the corridors of “Travel-Smart” and  “Bra’s for the busty, 16+” She had spent the entire night there, all huddled in fetal position. What a pitiless way to shop and how demeaning.  Shopping till we are dropping? How could our shopping habits have gone so wrong?  Why were we so easily seduced by this farce?

Go back… come back…. Come again to the friendly corner shop. Revive and come alive!