Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On the Pier

I've posted before about Hollister* and the hype surrounding it. Well today I went to Gilly Hicks Sydney because I was curious to see what they have to offer. Gilly is promoted as the "cheeky cousin" of Abercrombie and Fitch and as such sell cheeky underwear and beach gear.

I thought for a moment that the shop wasn't yet open (although a friend had spoken of being there last week and so I knew it was open) the double frontage of the shop appeared from a distance to be blue/grey and I thought it was boarded up, but no, the windows are made up of row upon row of TV screens with a sea scene playing, or at least I think that's what it was, I didn't want to appear a complete idiot and stand outside and gawp at the front of the shop.

Walking into the shop there's no difference from Hollister or Abercrombie & Fitch, wooden flooring, wooden shelving, the shop is sub-divided into smaller rooms (to ensure that you get throughly disoriented and go round and round the shop trying to either find what you want or the way out) the music is so loud that is is almost impossible to hear yourself think, let alone what the staff are saying to you (that is when they deem to notice you**) the perfume that is pumped into the air is cloying and a tad on the vomit-inducing side, but what really gets me is the lack of light. It must be like working down in a mine, I guess that explains why the colours of the clothing are so strong, there isn't a pastel shade in sight, in the gloomy, perfumed darkness it would be quite hard to tell pale pink from pale peach but burgundy from turquoise or navy blue? Easy(ish).

My friend who was there last week complained that she couldn't find anything because of the lighting (or rather, the lack of) I replied that I found it easier to look on their website first so that I knew what was on offer, a crazy but workable idea, if they kept the same stock online as instore...they don't. The nice cropped yoga pants haven't hit Deutschland yet, I wonder if they'll make it this season? Germany does have a tendency to be years behind...*** And it is crazy to think that the shop is so badly lit (on purpose) that you need to look at pictures online first to get a true idea of their colour.

I queued for ages at the chechout**** as four little (size 4 or something) girlies faffed about, trying to serve the American lady at the head of the queue. The language wasn't a problem, because she spoke German and they (all four of them) spoke perfect English (it was quite bizarre) the problem was that after scanning all the codes and then swiping the bank card the girlie wanted to input the card number into the till computer (goodness only knows why, they were doing it for every transaction) and not only did the lady's card not have such a number (or maybe it was in the wrong place - I was trying not to be too nosey*****) but the lighting was too dim for the girlies to read the numbers on the cards.

All in all a not too unpleasant shopping experience, Jas is very pleased with her green and white striped top and I have some new knickers to try out. The staff do amuse me though, from the girl who greeted me on entry with "welcome to the pier" (huh? I thought I was in a knicker shop?) through to the (possibly same) one who said "thanks for shopping with us, goodbye", I swear they're clones, all impossibly slim, all young (not a wrinkle or grey hair in sight) long, straight hair and all wearing identical clothing - teeny weeny tops, bottom hugging leggings and flipflops (in January?!) I guess when they come into work as well as punching the time clock they have to leave their personalities at the door - along with their heavy winter coats and themal boots.

I wonder how long I need to leave it before they'll have those cropped yoga pants in store? A couple of weeks? A couple of months or a couple of years?

* American fashion/lifestyle store that is the part of the Abercrombie and Fitch chain.
** The staff in this chain are all chosen for their beauty (whether male or female) and youth, and are clearly expected to display this in the wrapping of the store's merchandise, and as such they clearly think themselves too cool to notice the people that pay their wages.
*** Cashback at the supermarket checkout? I've seen it once. Supermarket online ordering and then home delivery? In our dreams. Fresh deli humous? Have to make it yourself (if you can find the raw ingredients) New bands with CDs in the charts in the UK? Months later they appear here...shall I go on?
**** But I'm used to that here, Germany can never be described as a world of customer service (I do so pity all the poor Americans that wind up here, it must be a nasty shock) and I'm sure Germans are more used to queueing than the Brits.
***** I haven't gone that native, yet.

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