“What! Only three hours?” my Japanese students hollered in protest.
“Surely that’s enough time,” I replied. “Why on earth would you want to spend more time at the plaza?”
I hate shopping. The only thing I hate more is waiting around while others do their shopping.
I’ve never been the type of person to spend hours browsing through shops. I can’t imagine anything more uninspiring and monotonous. That’s why I don’t jeopardise my friendships by going shopping with others. Heck, I haven’t been shopping with my mum for years; we just don’t have the same taste in, well, anything.
I prefer the no nonsense in-and-out solo approach to retail outings: Know what you want. Buy it. Leave.
Thank goodness for online shopping - it conveniently allows me to eliminate unnecessary excursions and interactions with sales people.
I therefore only venture into a shopping precinct to get groceries, a haircut, shoes, clothes and the occasional piece of furniture.
How to kill time
“Shall we go for another stroll down the mall?”
“Yes, why not – it’ll fill in at least another 15 minutes!” I replied.
“That’ll leave us with just two more hours to kill.”
I shuffled reluctantly along Brisbane’s Queen St Mall for the third time with Kathy, a fellow group coordinator who shared my anti-shopping passion.
“Here’s a shop we haven’t looked at yet,” she said, expressing mock interest in the window display.
“Nah, I’ll just wait for you on that bench over there,” I said, sitting down to watch the London Olympics on the outdoor screen.
In hindsight, I should’ve brought a book to read. I still don’t understand why that didn’t occur to me; I’d known for weeks that we had a three-hour shopping expedition planned on that day’s itinerary.
“You know,” said Kathy, “we probably could’ve gone to see a movie!”
Instead, we wandered endlessly around the shopping mall after our leisurely lunch and coffee break, having waved goodbye to our 28 Japanese students who enthusiastically ran off to spend their tourist dollars. It was one of two full day excursions out of the classroom.
“I think it’s time for an ice cream,” I suggested, as the clock tower rang out the hour.
“Oh good, just 45 minutes to go!” said Kathy.
Not that we were counting.
“I hope they’re all back on time. I don’t want to be stuck in the afternoon peak hour traffic.”
“With any luck, they’ll all sleep on the bus heading home,” she said.
“And so will I!” It’s utterly exhausting spending three hours not shopping.
“You realise we’ve got another shopping spree next week,” said Kathy.
“Please - don’t remind me.”
“We’ll have to plan the next one more constructively.”
“Please meet back here by 4pm,” Kathy told our students five days later before we let them loose again at the local plaza.
They erupted into cheers of joy as they realised they had FOUR hours of shopping frenzy ahead of them.
“You’d think they’ve never been shopping before!”
“If it was up to me, I’d give them an hour so we can all go home early.”
“Right,” I said after the students ran into the shopping centre. “First, we’ll get lunch. Then, we’ll relocate to that coffee shop over there – they make the best coffees. After that, we can go to Kmart, print those photos and buy some frames. Then...”
We were more organised this time and had, in fact, a shopping list of our own - but that didn’t diminish our mutual dislike of retail therapy. At that time of the afternoon, I prefer some siesta therapy.
“Hey, that gelato looks delicious,” I said a few hours later. “C’mon we deserve another one.”
Are you a shopaholic or a minimalist shopper like me?
It always ends in tears
One simple tip for world peace
Image: Free Digital Photos
New Zealand 2008
New Zealand 2006
United Kingdom 2004
Athens Olympics 2004
Beijing to Athens 1994
I acknowledge the traditional Custodians of the land on which I work and live, the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi and Joondoburri people, and recognise their continuing connection to land, the waters and sky. I pay my respect to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.
© 2023 HARI KOTROTSIOS