04 March 2007

Shopping Hell

I used to love going to Bicester Village to grab the occasional bargain or, more often, wonder how brands I liked so much managed to produce so much crap that no one wanted to buy, even when it was discounted by 70%. Once I had passed my driving test, I would usually drive up the A34 at least one lunchtime a week when I was in my last year of school - it was certainly more pleasant than the bitchier-than-thou atmosphere that seemed to pervade in the sixth form common room.

Finding a good bargain is still a rather sporadic experience but more recently, either I have become more intolerant or the other shoppers have become more irritating. Today, it was pouring with rain and very windy and my budgety Sainsbury's brolly was finding it hard to compete. And still, the coaches were piling in to the retail outlet known to most Americans as /baisɛstər/Village. Heaven forbid anyone out-shop them! Each family seemed to have several pushchairs and a couple of additional children in tow and they were all working s-o-o-o slo-o-o-o-wly. To be fair, I do walk pretty quickly most of the time (I hate dawdling - it's so inefficient) but even so, the competitive vibe BV seems to instill in everyone means that instead of waiting for the people to come out of a shop first, those waiting to come inside will just barge on in which, given that most of the shops are quite small and crammed, isn't very sensible.

The shopping itself wasn't so bad this time: I got some CK goodies, some Carluccio's coffee and a tacky necklace for £1 from Accessorize. However, what I really wanted was one of Anya Hindmarch's environmental bags. These are cotton bags that say, "I'm not a plastic bag" on them and as someone who hates getting plastic bags while out shopping, I thought they sounded perfect for me, especially as they are only £5. Amazingly, a number of celebrities have been spotted carrying them (although I just bet that they accept the carrier bag from the shop in question and then stick it inside their Anya Hindmarch tote). Of course, the pre-orders list for the bag has long since filled up and in the shop at BV today, they told me I would have to wait until 25th April to get hold of one (from Sainsbury's, of all places, whose garish orange plastic bags probably go along way towards putting people off accepting more carriers than they need). Never mind. It's nice that the fashion industry is using its powers to do something useful for once, although you could argue that being ethical is itself very fashionable. For the moment, anyway.

In sum, then, Bicester Village is worth the occasional trip for me, coming from the family home near Oxford, but I feel sorry for all of the American and Japanese tourists who come up on coach tours all the way from London, who must feel terribly disappointed when they realise how crap most of the clothes in most of the shops actually are. Actually I don't, but I would if they all walked a bit faster...

1 comment:

  1. Check out the We Are What We Do website www.wearewhatwedo.org for information on getting the Anya bag