Shopping at QVB

Sydney Travel Blog

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Today was just a shopping day. I'm looking for a 'thank you' present for Neil's flatmates but wouldn't you know? The thing I want is all sold out across Sydney. Still, I had a good wander round the Queen Victoria Building (Sydney's best-loved building apparently), the Queen Victoria Galleries, Central Shopping Centre and the Pitt Street Mall.

I'm surprised at the lack of large international retail groups, such as HMV and Boots. There are HMV and Virgin here, but the sole HMV at Central Shopping Centre has been closed down (unheard of in the UK), and although the one Virgin store I found was as I would expect, the Australian equivalent shop (so badly marketed that I can't even recall the name) was a confusing mess of baskets of discounted products, badly catalogued stock and hand-written signs on neon yellow card in red felt tip pen!

Likewise with pharmacies and chemists. These all seem to be small independent shops, so there is little choice for the consumer due to lack of space, and since I'm fussy (travel-sized bottles and specific painkillers) I had to trawl across town searching for things. It seems the only place to get choice are the Wilkinsons-style cheapy warehouse shops like Priceline or Pricelink.

Conversely though, I am surprised by the number of companies that ARE international. Vodaphone, Virgin, Cadburys (thank the lord), Fry's, Moosehead, Loreal, Garnier, Nine West, Jigsaw etc. I had sort of assumed that it's hard to 'break' Australia in retail and was half-looking forward to exploring new products and half-dreading missing products I rely on. Neil tells me that retail companies love it; any stock that didn't sell in a season round our way get shipped round to Australia in time for their new season, so stock doesn't get wasted. Also, I have noticed tops and dresses sold here that are sold under different labels at home. I have twice seen a top I bought in Jane Norman at home in windows or on girls here bought from a different shop (and for less I might add!) And I am still slightly miffed that Australians get such a lot of variants on UK chocolate that we never see. For instance, mint-flavoured Flake, raspberry-flavoured Kit-Kats, Fry's Turkish Delight and Crunchie in big bags of little bitesize balls, Fruit & Nut Toblerone (! Please send this one home!) etc etc. I spent about 15 minutes staring at the chocolate displays before wandering off empty-handed, just too confused by the array to decide on anything....

Later we met down the Station Hotel for a few drinks and some dinner before I scooted off to do dull computer stuff. I am preparing to leave my secure internet connection and brave the hostels and dodgy wireless hotspots of the East Coast! The real adventure begins soon!
Tannith says:
It's really disappointing actually! But that's good I don't have to post some to my Mum. I'm going to get into M&Ms now. :)
Posted on: Dec 12, 2007
kimberleydonkersley says:
as if by magic, we can now buy fruit and nut toblerone in blighty.

But you tasted it first chica ; ) ! x
Posted on: Dec 12, 2007
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