Choice and Redemption in Shopping Heaven

Dundrum Town Centre

Dundrum Town Centre is probably one of the busiest, and certainly one of the more upmarket, shopping centres in the Greater Dublin Area.

It’s busy at any time of year, but just before Christmas the queues of cars to get in – and out – can be legendary. This post-Christmas week can be almost as busy, with the sales on, and this year in particular as people catch up on retail therapy avoided when travel was difficult during the big chill.

I’m not a big shopper myself, and I tend to avoid crowded streets and malls at these times, and yet Dundrum is one place that I never mind coming to, no matter how busy, and never leave without an uplifting of the soul.It’s not the view of the mountains from the upper-level car-park (though that helps) it’s not the fact that my retailers of choice – Hughes & Hughes, Easons, Marks & Spencer & HMV are all clustered fairly close to each other, though that helps too.

It’s the little unintended quirks in the machinery of modern consumerism that give me a twinkle in the eye.

Firstly, I love the way the car park levels are numbered.  You start at ground level, at level 3, and go down to 2M (mezzanine level),  then 2, then 1M, then 1 and then -1. Yes, that’s right. Minus 1.

Instead of having a level 0, or starting the numbering at 4, here we have a multi-story car park that utilises both positive and negative numbers. it really appeals to the numbers geek in me!

Then, tucked away in a corner not far from the lower level of Marks & Spencer we have   . . the Optimist/Pessimist Lift.

That’s not the official name of course. It doesn’t have a name, it’s just a simple one hop elevator in a distant corner of a very large complex. I doubt that there is any other human being who boards this lift and sees it the way I see it, and views the choices the way I do.

But what other name could you possible give to a lift which presents you with one simple choice of 1 or -1 ?

And then, after I’ve made my choice (always optimism, as I only use the lift to go up, never down), and after I’ve battled the crowds and done my shopping, when the time comes to leave, I know that I can rely on the car-park payment machine to restore my faith in the future, to tell me that the future can be better than the past if only I make the effort . .

OK, so I know it is only trying to tell me that I can use a banknote, and get the difference back with coins.

But I never fail to smile when I see the way that they have worded this, and I leave the centre with some hope in my soul.

Change is possible

Happy New Year!


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