It’s rare that a single experience can sum up everything that’s wrong with something, but Dexter17’s trip to the shops in the hilariously named city of Bath embodies everything that is terrible about brick and mortar shopping. In a gesture of goodwill, he has decided to share his experience with TSA, to serve as warning to those who dare to venture across the threshold of their snug houses.
I am walking down Stall Street in Bath early on a Saturday morning, and there is a considerable nip in the air. I have a thick coat on, but that still does not shield me from the coldness that seems to hibernate around me. I pass the early morning shoppers and glance at them with wary eyes. As if to cut me out of my trance, a man sitting on the doorstep of an abandoned shop offers me a Big Issue, which I promptly decline. His dog looks up at me with discontempt, as if I have personally offended it by not accepting the offer. I hurry on while still observing the ever-rising amount of shoppers. It briefly crosses my mind that I need to buy a couple of birthday presents, but after a few seconds of deliberation, I decide that they can wait. I am here for one reason, and that reason is to take a look in GAME.
Some people may think that I am odd making the journey into Bath just to visit my local video-game shop. However, if anybody here has ever visited the historic city, they will know that it becomes a living hell if you are trying to get out during the mid-morning rush. So, I go in, get what I want, and then get out as quickly as I came in. Sometimes I give in to my inner-cravings and treat myself to a Hot Chocolate in Costa Coffee, but I do so at my own risk of getting caught up in the aforementioned rush.
I continue walking and after what seems like a decade, I finally catch a glimpse of the GAME logo that reluctantly hangs over the doorway. As usual, I glare into the two windows, with my eyes frantically searching for any offers that may take my fancy. After establishing that I am not missing anything, I eventually wander into the shop. I take in my surroundings, and instantly head to the Playstation 3 section, where two teenagers are already browsing and chatting about the new Call of Duty. I stand behind them, and try to make out the games over their shoulders. I briefly catch Nathan Drake hanging from a precariously balanced train, and I also manage to spot the caped-assassin that I know to be the main character of Assassins Creed 2. I squeeze in between the two teenagers and pick up a copy, swiftly turning it over to see if the back can tempt me into taking the plunge. There are various captions and pictures, and although I am extremely close to taking it to the counter, I can’t shake the thought of those bloody birthday presents. I do some calculations within my head that involve my monthly income and my general spending routines, and soon come to the disastrous conclusion that I cannot afford it. In disgust I extend my arm to place the box down, when a GAME assistant creeps up behind me and asks if I need any help. I do a great job of disguising my annoyance and politely reply with a “no thankyou.” The assistant then explains to me that he will be behind the counter if I need anything. I nod, and resume my browse.
At this point, once I have looked at what I came in to see, I would usually make my leave. However, I hadn’t made any plans for the rest of the day and couldn’t see any harm in staying for a bit. I could have a look at a few more games, go to Costa for a Hot Chocolate, and then brave the crowds. Hey, I thought that it could be fun.
I pass my glare up and down the shelves, attempting to spot something that may accommodate my budget and also my taste. I pick up a copy of Terminator Salvation, before coming to my senses and practically throwing it back onto the shelf. I maintain my gaze on the shelf, but realise that there is nothing there within my budget and actually any good. I turn around and flick through the pre-owned section, in hope that I may find something there. I momentarily pick up a copy of Haze, before remembering that I traded it in myself a couple of weeks ago because it was complete and utter crap. I place the box back down with a prolonged sigh, and wonder why I didn’t leave ten minutes ago.
I was so absorbed in trying to look for a decent game at a reasonable price, I had hardly noticed all of the people that were now filling up the shop. The GAME assistant that had previously asked me if I needed any help was up on his feet, flitting between the counter and the various people who were almost shouting for his help. He looked completely flustered and was probably wondering why he had chosen to take the job in the first place.
The PSP section seemed to be inviting me over, but I ignore it’s call. The shop was heaving with people now, and if I didn’t get out soon, I would literally be stuck. Somehow I manage to glimpse a small opening within the crowd, and decide to go for it. I walk as fast as I can, keeping my eyes pinned to the floor in preparation to hastily dodge a stray foot. Men, women, and children alike are all around me now, and I am seriously starting to lose the will to live. I glance upwards to try and sqeeze past a mother and father who seemed to be arguing about what to get their child for Christmas. I blurted out a quick ”excuse me” before trundling in between them. Although, in my haste, I had taken my eyes off the floor and had not seen the wheel of the pram that was sticking out of the crowd. I knock against it, and it almost sends me flying into a group of young girls who had just purchased the new Hannah Montana game. I take a moment to compose myself, and say sorry to the girls. Then, with the pleasantries over, I make a dash for the exit, and all at once, I am hit with cold air that had greeted me this morning. I walk slowly away from the shop, and leave the GAME assistant and the crowds behind.
So, I had braved the wintery weather to take a trip to GAME, and what did I get in return? No game, no hot chocolate, and a bruised toe from where I knocked into the pram.
I should have just shopped online.