Sunday, February 24, 2008


One of my daily blog reads is ‘The Worst of Perth’, a site which deals with all the things that make my city an exasperating, embarrassing, graceless place in spite of its wealth, natural beauty and comfort.

To me, one of the worst things about Perth is the shopping. We have thousands of shops… but they all sell exactly the same things. Shopping in Perth like walking into a restaurant advertising “The World’s Biggest All-You-Can-Eat Buffet!”, and discovering that every single table, bench and bain marie is groaning under the weight of identical bowls of macaroni and cheese.

For example, I’m in the market for a new rug for my dining room. So I went down to a local rug warehouse, one with a big sign out the front that boasts of having the largest range in the city.

Rug Guy: Hello. Are you looking for anything in particular?

Me: I’m looking for a square area rug.

Rug Guy: Square?

It must be noted that the question was asked with a tone of slight peevishness, like that of an actor who realizes that his fellow actor has thrown out the script and started improvising. Anyone who has gone into a retail shop in Perth looking for anything that deviates, however infinitesimally, from the norm will know that tone all too well.

Me: Yes. A square rug.

Rug Guy: (dismissively glancing away from me and back to his paperwork) Sorry. We don’t see a lot of square rugs.

Me: Well, I do appreciate it would be a difficult shape to master.

That comment didn’t go down well. So I went to a competing rug shop down the street.

Rug Lady: Good afternoon. Can I help you?

Me: Do you have any square rugs?

Rug Lady: No. We don’t. Pervert.

Okay, so I added that last word. But it was implied. Her facial expression suggested that “square rugs” might be a local euphemism for “barnyard porn”.

I should add that neither of these stores were little family businesses. They were cavernous warehouses stacked with thousands with rugs. It’s just that they were all variations on the same rugs.

So I went to Ikea. Somehow, despite only having a relatively small rug department, they managed to have some square ones.

And that’s Perth in a ghastly little nutshell – a monolithic global chain store that’s infamous for its homogeneity still has a bigger conceptual range that all of the local stores put together. Sometimes I wonder how I haven’t been run out of town yet.


Anonymous The Worst of Perth said...

I think Dennis Lillee was a spokesman for one of those big rug shops.

Square rug? You're on a blacklist now. Police will arrest you at a cybercafe, downloading pictures of square rugs.


6:53 AM  
Anonymous ultrabert said...


I hear you're the man to talk to if you're in the market for some doilies.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Laziest Girl said...

Have you ever tried to purchase an oval tablecloth? You get much the same response but with out Ikea to solve the problem.

7:50 AM  

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