I just went to the Westfield Bondi Junction with Daniel to do some shopping. He was in the Land of Eyeroll (deservedly) as I walked around seeing entirely new brands for the first time (and snapping pics + acting immaturely, which I happily justify). Here are some observations:
You can buy food and brand name clothes simultaneously. We were at a retail shopping mall doing retail-y things so I was surprised to learn you can pick up groceries at the same time. It certainly wasn’t a ‘mind-blown’ type of scenario but it made sense. Yea, we have Target and Costco and such where you can do both, but I’ve never been in a mall in the US where there is also an entire grocery store. The big one here is called Coles which would be like a Giant or Safeway back in the states (and not to be confused with Kohls).You can also manage your healthcare, dental care and eye care within the shopping center. Through my new employer, I now have private health insurance called Bupa. And I can easily pop-in and have a live chat about claims and such. I think it’s quite cool to humanize insurance in this way as back in the States, it’s a bit ivory tower and usually involves a horrifying maze of IVR systems whilst your medical condition slowly worsens.There are tons of local coffee roasters and I did not see a single Starbucks. This is par for the course in Australia, and I’ve made a strict promise to myself to avoid SBX for at least the first year. Trust me, a blog post is already in the works about everything I’ve recently learned regarding coffee. It has been ed-u-cat-ion-al (and not for the lactose intolerant). Below is a local roaster called Toby’s Estate where I had a killer flat white.On the topic of coffee, I will never miss Keurig pods. Ever. That’s because Nespresso exists in the universe. And not only because of quality, flavor, etc. (which is true) but primarily because the Nespresso retail outlets are full-out experiential. They have walls and walls of the different flavors you can buy in boxed sleeves. And they will make you – for free and on the spot – any flavor you want to try and prepare it specifically to your liking (I went with macchiato). Now I know this brand has penetrated the US reasonably well, but the retail shop made me smile and is a must wherever you live.
Oh, and speaking of penetration, these guys are computer experts. Duh. What else do you think they are are known for? Some things are just global. You will be completely unsurprised to learn that Apple is alive, well and draining people’s bank accounts on Saturdays here as well, so that’s a home-grown comfort.
And even when I think I’m starting to catch on, I’m clearly still learning. From my limited understanding, the closest thing to a Bloomingdales here would be David Jones. I kept hearing people mention this place throughout the week and was fully convinced it was ‘Davy’ Jones. You can imagine my disappointment when I learned it’s just a nice department store and not a retailer of sexy pirate gear and Monkees albums. So there you have it. That’s my initial impression of a brief shopping experience in Oz. They are keeping it classy with well-thought shop names, full stop. No exceptions. -JW