Saturday, 19 May 2012

Blue Water

This week I had a day when I didn't have to go into London at all. Now I am in Kent and didn't really want to spend my day off travelling anywhere, so I took a walk. The people with whom I am staying live very near Bluewater shopping centre, one of the largest shopping centres in Europe I believe. Now, I know that many of you couldn't care less about a shopping centre, and I am absolutely with you on this, I hate shopping, I don't like consumerism, I don't enjoy battling through crowds for something I neither want nor need. But on this particular occasion, curiosity overcame my natural reluctance. I wanted to see this Cathedral to consumerism. And Cathedral it is with no shortage of worshippers.
Some attempt has been made to make it look like it is a rural setting - artificial lake with a bridge accross, trees planted around. All in attempt to confuse people into thinking they are having a day out in the great out-doors combined with a shopping trip - it doesn't work and leaves me cold.



What always surprises me are the amount of people in these places, crowds and crowds all with bags. Are we really in a recession?

I had a fascinating time looking in the shop windows at all the items I don't want and chuckling about some of the advertising slogans making you believe you can't possibly live without these things, promising price slashes and 70% off sales and many ridiculous claims.

I didn't go into any shops, not a one - it really was just to exercise my curiosity.



There is a certain blandness to these places and I am with Mary Portas on this one, why are shopping centres and high streets so dominated by the same old tat. The only time I ever really enjoy browsing is if I am (usually in a small town or village) surrounded by individual, privately owned shops with some food shops and delis thrown in or a good second hand store to rummage around or a market. Bluewater offered none of these and therefore had nothing to grab or keep my interest. I've asked it before, but why has shopping become a national past time?

30 minutes later I had had enough and left by the same entrance I came in, curiosity satisfied. It turns out that I am missing nothing!

18 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more! Give me a carboot sale, jumble sale, charity shop or auction any day. Shopping in 'normal' shops leaves me cold- I don't want my house to be furnished with the same stuff as everyone else and I don't want to dress in the same way as everyone else. Thrift shopping is also greener and cheaper.

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    1. I haven't found any of the car boot sales local to me yet, must explore when I am back.

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  2. You are so right, we absolutely hate shopping, especially in look a like shopping centres. Its getting worse the older we get but don't think age really has much to do with it. Its more a feeling of not really wanting anything just because we can. We only buy when we really need to.

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    1. Once you are in that mind set, I don't think that there is any going back.

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  3. I agree! I would no more enter a shopping centre that I would buy something from China!

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  4. Hi yes I do not like big shopping centres & I have never visited bluewater. I much prefer car boot sales anyday, charity shops & skips!.
    I do buy the occasional new thing but nowadays I rather find something second hand or borrow.
    Sounds like you wont be visiting bluewater in a hurry again
    I must admit i find places with too many people too much

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  5. I totally agree - I loathe these places. Somewhere along the line people have been brainwashed into believing they need more stuff to make them feel better. Actually the opposite is true, and it's encouraging to know there are more people out there who are now getting it.

    Tawney

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    1. Yes, there are more people out there who are getting it, but there are a hell of a lot getting sucked in too!

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  6. Total waste of time. These places have no soul and no caracter. Why would anyone find this type of shopping aluring?
    Beats me. I don`t even travel to our local Brighton shopping centre nowadays. Same sort of game. I hate traffic, and the over crowded areas of our town make me want to take the next exit and return home. Luckily I live at the outskirts of town and have no need to go there. My local little shops and the charity/thrift shops provide all I could ever need. Much more fun to shop in, and the assistants are usually friendly and chatty as they get to know you over time. Makes for a much better shopping experience any day. Not that I need to shop there often, either. I love to trawl round the old boot markets and the once monthly farmers market. These are the sort of delights that tick all my required boxes. The photo of this Blue Water place alone does put me off from ever visiting. What an ugly place that soils the natural surroundings. A plod on the landscape. Utterly hidious!

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    1. It really is utterly hideous Sarina, why does it have such allure?

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  7. agree agree. i can't remember the last time i went to the metro centre- the local shopping mecca. eurgh

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  8. I completely agree with you and the other commenters! We are in a recession yes, but people are so tempted by the silly "sales" that they can use as an excuse to buy things they don't really need. They are happy to just swipe a credit card and try and ignore the bill at the end of the month!

    I have to admit, I am still easily influenced by advertising. Back in the day I would probably have fallen for it, but now I can keep myself in check. If I didn't go there specifically to buy a new pair of jeans, I don't NEED a new pair of jeans. (How many pairs is enough though, as a side note. I have two pairs although one is falling apart, so I don't know whether to replace them or not!!) :)

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    1. Actually, I have a lot of jeans, because I was given a whole load that all fit me from a friend some time back. I have just stored them away so when a pair is falling to bits I just get one of the others out. That way, I hopefully won't have to buy any for about 10 years unless I get very fat :-)

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  9. bryallen, I have 2 pairs and I dont think thats excessive, if you wear jeans lots i think you can have 2 :)

    Dan those really massive centres freak me out a bit, we went to the biggest one in the southern hemisphere when we were in south africa just to look around, we thought it'd be fun but it wasn't, just busy and bland. the odd thing to me is that people think they're getting happier buying things but even in a shopping centre everyone looks stressed and miserable. I try and steer well clear - its charity shops with friendly old ladies for me any day!

    very happy belated birthday and I've just caught up on all your opera and gardening happenings, your posts haven't been coming up in my feed for some reason? anyway I came over to your blog to tell you, you were in my dream last night! I was in a camper with my sister and my best friend and we were driving to visit you lol very random but I thought I'd tell you :)

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    1. How very funny! Well, if you ever find yourself in East Lancashire, then do please come and visit me, you would always be very welcome. Hope my feeds are coming up for you now.

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  10. I can't imagine why so many people want to spend their weekends in places like this. I suppose that it fills a void in their lives. It's certainly not for me. I'm with everyone else. Give me small/local/independant/charity shopping every time.
    The worrying thing is that our entire economy is built on the consumerism that these places promote.

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