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I love to shop…but do the shops love me?

I bought the October issue of Australian Vogue on Monday. It has a beautiful cover featuring a beautiful model called Arizona. But this post isn’t about Vogue..well, I guess it starts with Vogue, but is more about fashion, and shopping in particular. After reading the mag, and being inspired by some of the shoots and clothes featured, I was compelled to head into the GPO in Melbourne. The GPO is my favourite place to shop in Melbourne. Karen Millen, Veronkia Maine, Gorman, (Pandora)…seriously its on my list, Fat, Alpha60, Zimmerman, Sass and Bide, The Dressing Room.

Look at that list! And all in the same building..which on a side note is a beautiful old Melbourne building (used to be the old General Post Office). Worth a visit just to bask in the splendour.

Perhaps what I love the most about the GPO though, is the experience you receive shopping there. Despite the fact that it is a shopping complex…kind of like a mall (lots of different shops in one building), it feels more like a boutique shopping experience. I think its the layout. And every time I have bought something there, I have had a fantastic sales person assisting me, and I have left on that ‘new purchase’ high that for me, only comes when I have had a good tactile, human experience (on top of the experience my bank card has with the eftpos machine).

I’m sure this post had a narrative thread.

Ah, it’s coming back…so I was at the GPO, reveling in the tactile humanness of it all and wanting to try on a stunning orange maxi dress from Veronika Maine. Unfortunately, the GPO store did not have any of the dresses in, and so directed me to their David Jones store. My heart sunk. I’m not a fan of department stores. They are impersonal and overwhelming. You can never find the person who is manning the stand and when you do you basically have to jump up and down, waving your hands and ‘accidentaly’ standing on their feet to get any service. I just don’t get the lovely experience that shopping can provide from a department store. (Here, I must digress and say that the shop attendant who served me at Veronkia Maine David Jones was an absolute babe – definitely the exception rather than the rule).

So, the question I am posing (see how nicely I’m wrapping this up) is..

In this time of retail slump and economic depression, we consumers are spending less and wanting more when we do spend. There is a shift to the small stores with big personality. I want to make friends with the sales assistant (I know she is after my money but I’m like a rich old man with a young hot model as a girlfriend. I know what she is after but it feels so good I don’t really care). I want to come out feeling like I got more than just what is in the bag for my money. So…how are the department stores going to respond to this? And I’m sure it’s not just me who feels like this. This is a developing trend in consumer behaviour.

To wrap this up, I didn’t buy the Veronika Maine dress. It was beautiful. But not quite right, especially on my student budget (sigh..)



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