Westfield shopping centre

westfield1Shepherd’s Bush, London (transport details here).
Not even in my younger, more shopping friendly days would I have expected to be blown away by a shopping centre. But when I visited Westfield London last Tuesday, I have to confess to being pretty gobsmacked. Not by the shops, mind you. I didn’t even enter one (I was simply making my way home from a meeting at the BBC* and had to walk through it to get to Shepherd’s Bush Overground station). But the place itself. It’s huge. And I don’t mean a lot of stores, I mean everything about it is huge. The walkways are really wide. The shop fronts are really high. The whole thing is about one and a half times as big as you’d expect it to be. Huge. And there’s touchscreen maps to tell you not only where things are, but how to get there. And digital advertising poster sites. And sofas to sit on when you’re knackered. Not seats, or benches, but sofas. And huge chandaliers and glass roofs and everything. It’s like ‘Shopping Centre meets Star Trek’. And in my book anything ‘…meets Star Trek’ has got to be good.
(4/5 But might lose its shine when it’s full of actual shoppers)
* darling

O2 Simplicity

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200 minutes, 400 texts, 30 day rolling contract (£15 +VAT per month)
Opportunities to say nice things about utility / communication companies are, as my old man would say, rare as rocking horse shit. So I’m going to grab this one with both hands. To keep a long story short, I rang O2 to ask if the iPhone still cost 2 arms and a leg up front. They confirmed that it did and I sounded disappointed. At this point the woman on the phone did something virtually unheard. She used a working knowledge of her company’s products to pro-actively recommend me a better deal! In this case the Simplicity tariff. I got my bill last week, it’s halved. Hooray. Until that moment, I believed Good Customer Service to be some sort of mythical creature, like a unicorn, or a goblin. At best a dodo. Once abundant, but now no more. Extinct. Deceased. But I’ve seen it. It does exist. What’s more, it’s alive, well and feeding on the lush green pastures of O2’s mobile phone offering.
(4/5 The next best thing to free money)

Paperchase

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Friday 8 February, 13.57 (Kings Road branch)
As I loitered in Paperchase last Friday, desperately trying to locate the most ironic birthday card in the place, it suddenly struck me that these days card giving is much less about connecting emotionally with the recipient and much more about showing off your eye for witty design. Perhaps it’s a London thing. Or perhaps it’s just me. Either way, I hold Paperchase at least partially responsible.
(2/5 Come back Hallwark, all is forgiven)