I want to point out some observations I've had this year while Christmas shopping. Wednesday I caught the bus to Epping Plaza, a large mall in a nearby suburb. I wanted to do some Christmas shopping and get 1000 copies of my post printed:
Which I put into letter boxes when I go walking. In the past I've done it in batches of 100 and I did that 10 times, so I decided to pay $160 and get them all done at once. It took me about 5 months to hand out all of the last 1000.
After organising for that to be done, I went and had lunch at Hungry Jacks, in America it's called Burger King. But when Burger King came to Australia there was already a small chain, I think 3 stores, with that name. The owner wasn't interested in selling the name so they were forced to get a new name, for some reason I do not know they chose Hungary Jacks. In time the Australian Burger King went out of business and they decided to get the name and rebrand their stores. But Australians accepted Hungry Jacks as an Australian company and it lead to a drop in sales as Burger King "took over". So now at Australian airports you will find Burger Kings, but everywhere else in Australia they are Hungry Jacks, even though they are owned and operated by the same company. I know what your thinking, what did I have for lunch? I had a tropical burger, I should have got a bacon burger.
At Epping Plaza at each door was a giant Father Christmas, about 7 feet tall. Father Christmas is the Australian name for Santa Claus, although we use both names interchangeably. The hall ways had Christmas decorations but not many shops. I took note of one store in particular not having any Christmas decorations as a few years ago I complained to the store Manager because they did have Christmas decorations.....in October!
I found where Father Christmas was having his photos taken with the children, right next to the toy store those clever marketers. But I was noticing a distinct lack of any religious theme in the decorations, with the exception of stars. But right behind Father Christmas was a Nativity scene. I had given up any hope so I was pleasantly surprised.
Another interesting thing that happened was while the service was good and people were polite no one in any store I went to wished me a Merry Christmas. But every time I was served I wished them a Merry Christmas. What was interesting was that everyone of them reacted in the same way, they smiled and said "you too". Not a store smile but a real smile, the women in the Post Office looked like she was suffering depression until I wished her a Merry Christmas when her face lit up. To be fair I think the Post Office of a large shopping centre at Christmas would be hard work.
I've noticed in everyday life a lack of pleasantry, please and thank you are things of the past. Thats not to say kindness or consideration are. I've seen both this year between strangers in the street and on public transport. Men still open doors for women, on crowded trains when a seat becomes available they will often give a women the option of a seat first. Women are also considerate, although I have never seen a man sit down and have a pregnant women stand in front of him and he tries to pretend she's not there, which I saw a women do. Some women are quite polite, others seem to have never learnt manners. I'm not sure whether to blame the parent or the child. In my recent experience men are still polite, not all men but still most.
One final notice, Wednesday was very hot and I had to walk quite a way in the sun with my box of 1000 printed copies. I sure hope they are worth it as that was damn hardwork.
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