Monday, August 22, 2011
In Western Australia the shops are closed on Sundays. OK, that is an exaggeration. The truth is that only most of the shops are closed. Some shops in leafy suburbs, which have blue flooring, less than 13 employees and a high percentage of staff called Barry are open. Then in the school holidays, shops with a sea view, situated on streets starting with the letter P or S, which sell a wide range of orange-coloured goods are also open. OK that too may not be 100% accurate, but the actual Sunday trading laws in WA are about as logical and perplexing as that. Suffice to say that should I need to replenish a child's sock drawer, select light fittings, stock up on school lunch consumables or get some grog in, then I'm pretty much out of luck if I attempt to do it around here on a Sunday.
I'm not necessarily saying that I think WA's laws should change, as while NZ's trading laws are certainly convenient for us disorganised folk, they simply mean that each household's weekly spend is spread more thinly throughout the week, and that to enable this some people have to work very unsociable hours. What I am saying is that after living here for a year and a bit, I'm still nowhere near used to the situation.
The fact that Mandurah's one shopping mall is closed on a Sunday does however enable locals to have a shopping experience far more interesting than anything the mall ever provides. On Sunday mornings a Swap Meet is held in the closed mall's carpark and my daughter and I have become regular attendees.
On Sunday mornings I scoff my toast, gulp my coffee and dash out the door in anticipation of finding a Ladderax shelving system or some some Villeroy and Boch Acapulco for my collection. By the time we park and head up the stairs to the market I'm convinced I'll find a Case Study daybed and I've already mentally reupholstered it with the Lucienne Day fabric I'll surely find. My somewhat more realistic companion comes along in the hope of adding an antique key, interesting coin or Dr Who figurine to her various collections.
Then the shopping starts. We stroll past the dusty framed jigsaw puzzles, endless crusty dolphin ornaments, laughably fake DVDs, sky-high piles of Dan Brown books and wheelie-bin sized soft toys. Sigh. I'm not usually one for advocating throwing things out but after passing stall after stall of pilled K-Mart jumpers, budget furniture with its swollen chipboard busting out from its vinyl laminate, used duvet covers with pictures of tigers on them and nicotiney macrame creations, a little voice in my head starts chanting "Get thee to a landfill quicksticks!"
But the reason we go to the Swap Meet is obviously because sometimes we really do strike gold and even if we come away empty-handed, we always see plenty of bizarre, amusing and entertaining tat there.
This is some small consolation for the fact that my Sunday evenings are often spent drinking Soda Stream out of a wine glass and warning family members not to eat various meagre foodstuffs required for tomorrow's school lunches while trying to convince myself that a) my drink is something more interesting and b) next Saturday will be the one I finally remember to get organised.