Friday 26 December 2008

Retail madness

One of my Christmas presents was the much awaited and much anticipated 'Fable II' for the Xbox 360. 'Fable' was the reason I bought my Xbox 360 and remains to this day one of the very few games I have completed 100%. In amongst all the things about the game they do advertise the one thing that they don't advertise is that you need 10MB of memory to save the game. My Xbox 360 only came with a 10MB hard drive! I've rather got out of the habit in recent years of worrying about memory requirements (or blocks as they always used to be back in the day). I don't think that it is something I have even though about since the days of my PS1 and the Gamecube.

This necessitated a trip out to the shops to buy a memory unit. I decided on Bexleyheath, as my favourite trousers had expired and I needed to visit Evans and/or M&S. The best laid plans...

Upon arrival in Bexleyheath I was horrified to discover that 'The Mall' and associated car park were not offering free parking! Next top Game, no memory units for the Xbox 360. On to Argos, don't even gave the in the catalogue. On to Woolworths - rubber-neckking at the train-wreck; many signs from the ceiling 'Closing Down all stock must go' and 'Total Liquidation, Final Clearance'. The store was decimated with practically nothing at all on the shelves. Bye bye Woolies. On to WH Smith (running out of possibilities now). Total failure. The first floor which used to house the DVDs and video games as with the Woolwich branch has turned 50% into the post office. In a very bad temper I eschew the clothes shop (I won't find anything in this mood anyway) and grudingly part with 70p for the parking.

Next stop is the 'Low Road' in New Charlton and the Stone Lodge Retail Park. This, I have decided, should be a good bet as there is PC World and Curry's to choose from. Major mistake. Huge. There is also Halfords, Carpet Right, Harveys and MFI (although I didn't see if MFI were still open or not). The car park was stationary. Parking on pavements and all sorts. The overflow car park was being blocked by two attendents. Now this was realy stupid. They'd blocked off one access to it and had two staff blocking the other. Surely they ought just have let people drive around it and employed the two staff clamping the miscreants! Luckily as I was about to give up and leave I found a space.

PC World failed me, and I was about to give up in Curry's when I noticed the memory cards behind the tills. A (relatively) short queue and I was back to the car to get on home. Getting out of the car park was almost as bad as getting in.

I don't think the whole experience was helped by Charlton playing at home today... hampered by no service on the Jubilee Line and 'alternate' services on the main line trains. More than the usual amount of people have driven to the game judging from the cars abandoned throughout Charlton!

I'm now adding Boxing Day to my list of days on which one should never (ever) indulge in any retail activity... unless it is online!