Saturday, January 21, 2012


I haven't been shopping here in ages, partly because Emma has been taking care of the household things so well, and partly because my long work hours, including a couple of hours of evening calls two or three times a week and my travel schedule, have meant that I haven't really had time. Today we decided to go out to a new mall which just opened and is fairly close to where we lived - Phoenix Market City. As you can see from the website it's pretty nice, and while it's still filling up it has some decent stores, including Zara, Marks and Spencer, Aldo, Bebe, and some restaurants - our first California Pizza Kitchen being one of them. Not exactly the high life - certainly not the amazing shopping we saw in Hong Kong - but not bad.

We had a good time looking around and a really good lunch at Cafe Nero, which is a local French-style chain, and got a couple of shirts for the kids at Zara. Then Dara and I went to a couple of shops to get specific things we needed, like a new speaker thing for iPods as our current one is on the wane, when I realized the annoying side of Indian shopping.

There's always tons of security at Indian malls - you have to go through metal detectors to get into the store (although they never seem to beep, and on the rare occasions they do, nobody does anything) and there's security guards at every entrance. I suppose with Things These Days it's kind of fair enough. However what really bugs me is the fake security at loads of stores. This starts with the fact that many shops make you leave any bags at a bag drop place round the corner from the main door. I always get kind of riled at this but I was particularly maddened by it today, when Dara and I were going to go into Reliance Digital to get iPod speakers, and as soon as I walked in, carrying a very small bag from Zara, the "security" guy at the door barked at me to leave my bag at the bag drop place. Everything at Reliance is either locked in a display cabinet, or it's a big TV which would be impossible to get into a 6" x 10" bag, but apparently I look like some kind of criminal so I had to leave my bag if I wanted to enter the store. So I left. Sale lost to the jobsworths at Reliance. Congratulations, guys.

While Dara and I were apparently shiftily shopping, Emma and Toby had gone to the supermarket in the mall to get some things - it's actually a really nice supermarket with tons of fresh stuff really nicely displayed. However once again at the door the little security guy told me I couldn't go in if I was carrying my little bag. I was pretty mad by this point by this ridiculous nonsense but I took my bag round to the bag drop place and slammed it on the counter. The guys behind the desk didn't really seem to notice my hissy fit but it was a little cathartic for me I suppose. I'm not sure what would have happened if I'd just refused to drop my bag off - would he have tackled me or something? But I had to go in because Emma and Toby were already in there and didn't want to cause too much fuss because Dara was with me.

This kind of thing is made worse by the fact that there's always another "security" guy at the exit of supermarkets who has to check your receipt and for some reason punch a hole in it. I have no idea what he's actually checking for - at the checkout the assistant will have already bagged your stuff, and in the case of Food Bazaar will have tied the bags and even put zip ties around the top, so nobody can even see in the bag. But oh no, man in uniform has to make you stop and get your receipt checked. Again I'm not sure what would happen if you just ignored him - I must try sometime - and maybe that'll be another blog post.

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