Monday, August 28, 2006

Bus adventure #4

We were low on petrol, and with no particular plans for the day, decided to go by bus out to Moonah to look at electrical stuff. Bus trips are fun for the kids, and at $4.40 per adult day ticket (both kids still free) it possibly pays for itself, as long as you buzz about a bit.

Two buses out to Moonah. First we went into a Building Supplies place that happened to be opposite the bus station. There were bootscrapers at the front door, a sure sign that this place concentrated on Tradespeople. In the door aisle (stacked three high) I had a flashback to that scene in Monsters Inc that everyone with kids must have seen.

Marcus was drawn (hyuk hyuk) to the carpenters pencils. They were in 3 baskets, blue (hard), red (soft) and green (medium). After I read the labels to Marcus I waited to see how long it would be before he insisted on putting them in the right order; Soft, Medium, Hard. About six seconds.

Next we went down the road to Clive Peeters, a brand new Superstore. We didn’t realise one is supposed to a) come by car and b) enter from Derwent Park Road. We walked along Main Road. I have never seen an unfriendlier retail building. Grey concrete, no windows, no signage at all except various words like BATHROOM and ELECTRICAL in blue capitals. We walked along this wall in hope, then came to a very pedestrian-unfriendly concrete canyon – the driveway. We walked up the driveway hoping for the best, still expecting to see “Fabulous Bargains: THIS WAY!!!” or something, but it was all down to blind faith that we rounded a corner and found the carpark, and at last some glass, a door, some products.

Inside we were asked to hand over our backpack. Inside the next eight minutes no less than six salespeople approached us and asked, in a bouncy, just-hired kind of way, if we needed anything. Well, just yell if you do, guys, they all said. Some of them offered us muffins.

I have a hard time thinking straight in these situations. I don’t think I learned anything new about electrical stuff. Their prices seemed OK. The muffin was alright. They had a café, but it was empty. Just around the corner in the coffee machine department a lady was making coffee with one of the products, fancy little Proper Coffees. It was a bit unclear whether you could just waltz up and order one or if you needed to be seriously in the market for a Braun or a Breville or even a Krupp.

We reeled out and caught a bus back to town. Our two outward buses were pretty light on, but this one was full. We were out beyond the “flannie curtain” and the people on the bus had come from further out still. Elf saw a 20-ish year old woman who had hardly any teeth left, but mostly they were all unexceptional individuals. As a busload though, you could write an interesting thesis about their clothes and language, and the difference between these and what you’ll encounter on a Strickland Avenue bus.

Michael fell asleep on the bus, but we still had some shopping to do. Marcus had the excellent idea that Elf and Michael should catch the next bus home, while we sorted out a present for Jacob’s birthday and got the following bus. This we did.

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