As I start to prep for (and therefore panic about) my upcoming trip to Thailand and Cambodia, my inner Bargain Hunter has been making an appearance. I learned from Mother that ‘only the poor pay full price’ and while this country may make me feel poor, I refuse to suffer from the tyranny of distance and pay the exorbitant prices on clothing and merchandise. Armed with a list of items to pack, provided to me by Brown Squirrel, I hopped on my first Sydney bus heading to parts unknown, in search of a bargain. Turns out, the mall in question was only 10 minutes away and had it not been raining, would have been an easy walk.
I made the decision to head for the Broadway Shopping Centre in Ultimo because it contained my much loved Target. Hilariously, Target is all over Australia even though it hasn’t moved into any Canadian soil yet – odd, but useful for my circumstances. Much to my dismay, Target did not produce any of the items I was looking for, so I marched off to the Shopping Centre Directory in search of a new plan – and there it was: Kmart. I had half noticed the abundance of KMart advertisements on television here over the last few months, mostly because they appeared to be WalMart ads, and because they pronounced ‘Pillow’ extremely weird in one particular ad – but I hadn’t thought of looking for one. Why not? Lets be honest, I’ve never purposely shopped at a Kmart before. I couldn’t quite put a finger on why exactly I had icky feelings about Kmart, so I headed off on my never ending hunt for discounts.
After emerging from KMart 30 minutes later, I was an extremely confused Nancy. I had two bags of items, had crossed the most important items off my list, and I had new shoes – 3 pair of them! I didn’t, however, have that joyous feeling I normally do when I’ve scored a good deal and feel like I’ve earned my new things. I felt dirty.
While I’m happy to report I have some much needed knee covering (and therefore culturally acceptable) skirts for my trip, and some great travelling shoes, I can also confirm that my suspicions about Kmart were right on the money: Kmart is icky.
Unlike it’s discount department store brethren like Target and Walmart, Kmart doesn’t seem to make any attempt to camouflage the fact that you are buying lesser quality goods – in fact they same to embrace it. Every rack was rammed with seemingly poor quality items, displayed on cheap looking hangers, and nothing but a discounted price visible on the signage. No in store branding used to differentiate clothing lines, and no budget at all geared towards layout, lighting or decorating. It was like the Hell of shopping. There is no point really discussing the fitting rooms, suffice it to say I didn’t take my shoes off for fear of my bare foot touching the floor.
One final point, which is the essence of why I would likely not grace a Kmart with my presence in the future: The smell. Seriously, what is with that smell? I hazard a guess that the cheap plastics in most of the inventory have something to do with it, but good lord,do something about it!
In the interest of not seeming like a complete bitch, I will refrain from commenting on the customer base that Kmart seems to attract. I will only say this: People of Walmart, watch out – you have some serious competition!