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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Should screaming kids be banned from shopping centres?

On my way to work this morning the radio jocks were discussing the hoo-ha about uncontrolled children screaming in shopping centres. 
Believe me, I can sympathise with the poor mothers. 

There was the incident when Thaddeus tipped two year old Jonah out of a shopping trolley. He wasn’t hurt but he got a fright and let all and sundry know about it. 

I remember another incident when Lulu stood on a bee in Coles and screamed blue murder. ‘Why was the child barefoot?’ I hear you ask. She couldn’t find a matching pair amongst the plethora of footwear on the floor of the car of course. I had to carry the screeching banshee to the deli counter in search of ice whilst avoiding the disgruntled glares. 

But let’s face it; there are far more harrowing annoyances in a shopping mall than a kid going off.

Everyone can cite the usual grievances; 

(a) The ‘mirage’ parking spots where you think you’ve finally hit jackpot and then at the last minute, see a motorbike parked in the space.

(b) Annoying merchandising ploys such as putting Easter eggs on display on December 26.

(c) Weird lighting in dressing rooms that give your reflection the appearance of an uninspiring corpse. 

(d) The fact that they’ve changed clothing sizes and I don’t fit into size eight any more. 

(e) Waiting tetchily in line at the checkout for ages and realising that the girl has had her “Counter Closed” sign up the whole time.

But…it’s the people who drive me insane.

Those insistent spruikers who stand in wait directly in front of the shops. I try to walk by purposefully with my head down and a preoccupied look on my face. 

“Excuse me Madame! Would you like a free exfoliating hand massage with our lotion made from the grounds of the Dead Sea Scrolls?” 

“No thanks, I have five kids and can’t even afford food.” is my stock reply.

Then there is the cute geriatric couple languidly pushing the trolley down the middle of the aisle. Don’t get me wrong, I adore oldies, but I hate getting stuck behind their trolley and being compelled to wait patiently and listen to them argue over brands of Worcestershire sauce.

 I’ll see the sneaky little seniors heading towards the check out the same time as me. Knowing I could easily zip ahead and get to the counter first, I get the guilts and wave them and their overloaded, monthly shopping trolley ahead of me. 

I think the people I most dislike meeting in the shopping centre are old acquaintances I haven’t seen for years. 

When we first spot each other it’s all hugs and “How are you?” 
We chinwag and banter for about ten minutes then say a fond farewell. 
The trouble with shopping centres is that you see them again in about thirty seconds in the next aisle. 

And the next… and the next …and the next. 

With each encounter the ripostes become briefer and pithier. By the final aisle you feel so uncomfortable you’re barely acknowledging each other.

Seriously, give me a screaming brat any day.