I love country town shopping – not as much as I love chocolate, or internet shopping. My fondness for the familiar knock on the door, or ring on the cowbells as the case is, when the postman turns up with an e package or similar, cannot be understated. However there is something magical about country shopping. Maybe because it comes from an historical time – before the internet – well at least for those of us who come from a certain generation. I haven’t ever analysed the appeal however maybe this is the time to do so having recently spent time ‘in the country’ doing some shopping.
Things fit in the country
Even if it’s just sheets for the bed, I can get the preferred colour, fabric and thread count I want, shopping in the country.
But the true irony is nothing about me would ever be called ‘country’ and yet I still seem to be able to find the clothes to suit my semi inner city lifestyle. Maybe this is because I don’t really care whether my wardrobe matches current fashion trends. Once, in the mid 80s, I bought this pair of pink and black striped satin, three quarter pants in Shepparton, Victoria and wore them to death – figuratively. They were awesome.
In Bendigo, I once bought the most amazing pair of black patent leather, pointed toed ankle boots. My biggest surprise was they were even available, sitting larger than life on the shelf. They were so cool – very Robert Smith.
The coolest pair of jeans I have ever owned come from the country. Not your traditional blue denim, these babies are black and white striped with a slightly flared leg. What more could a girl want, except maybe the same in a red and white stripe?
You get service in the country
I have an aversion to trying clothes on. I would be completely happy to have a personal shopper, someone the same size as me who would be happy to try things on and stock my wardrobe. I often try things on in the middle of the shop over other clothes, much to the disdain of other shoppers. Even if I do venture into the change rooms my preference is to keep my clothes on and try whatever over the top (this presents a bit of a problem in winter). Of course I make exceptions when buying lingerie. Nobody wants a boob muffin top or breasts flying all akimbo if you need to run for the train, caused from an ill fitting Hestia.
I hate it when you only pick up one size of the item you are trying, get to the change room, take off all your layers, try on the potential purchase, only to find you have a size too small or too big. Then you have to great dressed and repeat the whole process. Not in the country (or at least in the store I recently shopped in in the country, so I might be exaggerating). In the store I went into, after trying on every item, I had the adorable shop assistant there to offer her opinion or ask if I required another size. What was more impressive is this occurred on New Year’s Eve. Plus we shared stories on her family, my family and a whole range of other things, relevant to the country town.
Parking’s a breeze in the country
Driving around in Sydney shopping centre car parks can be hazardous your health. Sometimes you need a whole lot of patience and a packed lunch. Parking rage can be the norm on some shopping days. In the desperate bid to bag a bargain at Bing Lee or a massive mark down at Myer, shoppers will resort to whatever is necessary to get a park. And then, when you do snag a spot you have to walk for (or four) kilometres to get into the shopping centre.
Not in the country. On busy, post-Christmas sale days, you may have to park at the back of the car park, out in the sun. Generally however, you can find a shady tree or a council erected piece of shade cloth and you’re set for the twenty metre walk into the shop of your choosing. And pay for parking? Never in the country. Well rarely. Sometimes in the main street you may see a one hour parking sign but shopping is so easy in the country, who needs more than one hour?
You get different stores in the country
Or maybe they simply feel different. It seems there is always something different to look at (I’ve already mentioned those wonderful pink pants). Nothing pleases me more than when someone asks me where I bought something and I can say ‘I got it in the country’¹, knowing full well they are not going to be able to get one.
Yes country shopping is like a pleasant skip through the Garden of Eden while eating licorice bullets and sipping chocolate milk then not spilling any on yourself. It’s bliss. Imagine how even more euphoric it would be if internet shopping could be combined with the country town experience while eating chocolate … now there’s my idea of Heaven.
1 This is not strictly true. There are lots of things which please me more, such as the Sydney Swans winning a football match, my children when they are ‘being good’, and chocolate, to name a few.