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Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year, New Look

I decided to take a look at what different styles of template I could use for this blog after the inspiration came from a visit to IKEA. Hardly considered the height of good taste, but much maligned, IKEA has been loved for its cheap prices and functionality while loathed by traditional furniture fans.

Yesterday I went to IKEA and looked around for stuff I need for my party on Friday. I can't tell you where the said party is going to be, since I fear and dread gatecrashers. The guests who are invited are rowdy enough for my taste, thank you very much. What I can tell you is that my parents found these lovely green stools for around $6 in Australian money, and that could well solve my dilemma of how to seat twenty people, maybe a bit more even.

There's a lot to be said for IKEA, like ABBA, it's one of the best, and worst, things that ever did arrive from Sweden. You either love it, hate it, or simply use it for its cheap and affordable furniture. I really should take a camera to IKEA one day and post some pictures of what I see in there that I like.

But solutions for modern living aside, what I did yesterday, being New Year's Eve, was watching the fireworks from Chiswick with my family, and playing Scrabble in an excruciatingly dull game since both my father and myself were too tired and, as it were, lost for words (pun definitely intended) to the extent that we packed up the game in twenty minutes and watched the music videos on the VH1 Music Video No. 1's Countdown, because there was nothing else on really.

The other thing I did yesterday was shop for my birthday present, as my birthday was within four days of arrival. Sadly, when I went to EB Games at Rhodes Shopping Center, I discovered that although boxes of DS Lites with price tags on them were on the shelves, they were empty, and the rude and bitchy shopkeep woman told my mother and I that they were sold out. Not only that, but that they increased the price from the Christmas sales price of $189 to $200 that very day, and even though we had seen it cheaper in another EB Games shop, in which case the store guarantee promised to reduce the cost, she wasn't going to help us, nor was she going to tell us precisely when the new stock would come in.

Thus one of my New Year's resolutions is not to shop at EB Games unless they have something I need that nowhere else has, because JB Hi-Fi has a better range of games stuff at much cheaper prices. EB has significantly fallen from what it was, a friendly games and console seller to a greedy corporate chain store. This is why I more often shop for games at JB Hi-Fi instead, because people who work at JB actually like helping you.

However, there is hope. There was a Dick Smith Electronics shop at Rhodes, which was being operated by a very nice Muslim woman with glasses. She not only gave a much better impression than the EB servicewoman did, but she was a premium example of how helpful and friendly Muslims can be. Trust me, I want a DS Lite so bad, even if my acceptance of other cultures wasn't as tolerant as I am already, give me any serviceperson in an electronics shop of ANY faith, and I would accept their help in getting one of those little handhelds on my birthday, I would accept assistance from a Mormon or a Krishna-follower if I had to, despite my experience of some of them being pushy for donations/conversions!

The nice Muslim lady helped me order a DS Lite and took my phone number on a notepad in order for her to contact me when it arrives. I am exceedingly grateful for this. Such people deserve to be given raises/Employee of the Month awards/Medals for service, and they definitely need to be given respect by those of different cultures anyway, even if they really can't help you (but they try to). Never underestimate a foreign shopkeeper, as behind the cultural differences lie cultural strengths, such as hospitality and good manners.

- Jacob Martin
AKA "Jake of All Trades"

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