Ladies who lunch.

Yesterday I got a leave pass from living my mundane and went out to lunch with the girls. I was officially a LADY WHO LUNCHED, and I joined dozens of other LADIES WHO LUNCH at a great little cafe called the Butchers Block in Wahroonga a fancy suburb of Sydney where tennis courts back onto tennis courts, where I shunned the salad and hooked into a delicious pulled pork sandwich with braised cabbage. I managed not to spill any down my top, which was an unexpected and delightful result.

Even the night before, as I dropped sauce down my front, Mr Woog suggested that when I sit down for a meal, the first thing I should do is pour a part of my meal over my bosoms, so we can just get it over and done with…

So after lunch me and my mates decided to visit some of the home porn shops that littered the lane ways. It was an uncomfortable experience, as the monastic music rang out and I moved slowly and carefully throughout the French Provisional Decor… and it reminded me of something I wrote not so long ago, about shopping. It is kind of a long post, so go make a cuppa. I will wait..

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Villeroy and Boch Amazonia Coffee Cup RRP $60

I have recently noticed a new phenomenon in myself. I only really recognised that it was a thing this week. I have mild panic attacks in home-wear shops.

It is lucky that I do not spend a lot of time in them, but I don’t mind the odd perusal of porcelain and overprices glass voiles. Big ceramic dishes containing dozens of glass spheres, and paper napkins with birds on them. Le Creuset ironware piled up to the sky, alongside polished silver frames, and overpriced cushions.

It reminds me of a home that I will never have. One that is carefully considered and styled, just so.

My problem in these types of stores is that I am large and clumsy and I know that I will break things if I touch anything. I keep my arms closely to my side, and move slowly and deliberately. For I wish no harm to come to any of the animal statuettes. And I know that once one thing falls over, it will bring the whole bloody lot down, leaving me to pay the bill.

And a very cranky cats-bummed mouthed shop assistant to grovel to.

The other type of shop that kind of creeps me out is the snooty boutique. You know the ones. They generally sell a “collection of garments” designed to fit a small child. Each “piece” is priced astronomically and there is always a young model-type, who looks at you glaringly. Almost DARING you to set foot into her world of mixed linen and silk. She will watch you, as silent as a hawk, as you finger the fabric, and discretely check out the price tag. On recovering from a heart attack at the price, you make your way slowly to the door, making no sudden movements, lest you set off any alarms or startle the keeper of the frocks.

Another store visit that can make me feel a bit uncomfortable is that of the Manicure and Pedicure Spa, which are dotted all over shopping centres in our fair country.

“PICK COLOUR.”

And that is the beginning and end of any social intercourse you can expect. I think I just feel badly because my pedicures are actually almost a medical procedure, such is the heel skin that I am able to manufacture. I leave the salon a full 2 cm shorter, and always. ALWAYS leave a healthy tip to cover my embarrassment.

I love visiting bakeries, both for the food factor and you rarely meet a cake shop worker who is not totally agreeable. I also like the good folk who stock the stores at Dan Murphy’s. Always delightful and helpful, and able to carry your stuff to your car without dropping it everywhere.

I loath going anywhere near stores that involve claiming things, or anything license related. Take a number and sit. And sit. Watch someone completely lose their shit because they didn’t bring in the right paper work. Watch teenaged girls insist that they have to have their photo taken again, because their hair wasn’t right on the other 23 attempts. Watch the clock, as the minutes tick on by.

No wonder the workers at such establishments are all tucked safely behind shields…

Dealing with the general public would be a hard gig. A bit like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. Sociopaths must shop somewhere. But are the days of physical stores numbered?

According to NAB, we spent $15.6 billion dollars shopping online last financial year, up 6.8% from the previous year. Online shopping represents 6.6% of all retail spending and it growing fast.

I believe that this shift in how we actually shop would force retailers to up their game, but this is not always the case. I once put myself through the torture that is swimsuit shopping, done at one of the large department stores. Once I found a cossie that didn’t make me look like two pigs fighting in a hessian sack, I sought out someone to exchange cash for goods.

There was no one to be seen. So I went to the counter and waiting for a bit. The phone started ringing, and rang out. Three times this happened until I answered.

“Hello?”

“Is that Amanda? Can you come up to home wear? Donna has not turned up.”

I explained that Amanda was also not available. Things got very confusing so I told her that I was a customer, shooting the breeze until someone could come and make sure that I could buy my swimmers and removed the security tag.

She hung up. A minute or so later, she relieved me of my cash and apologised profusely. I assured her that I was ok. I am also used to being let down.

Bloody Amanda… bloody Donna….

Where do you shop?

Are you an online advocate?

Had any really great customer service lately?

This post first appeared on The Hoopla. Did you know that you can get to read up to 3 free articles a month now? Make sure that they are mine, y’hear! xx