Standing Out

Andy has an accent that reminds me of bangers, fish and chips. He was patient enough to adequately answer my questions on the Sony T900. I thought he may have been on a year long stay Down Under, and he was doing well in customer focus, with a genuine smile and show of interest. How refreshing and different from some sales people at white goods, furniture or electronic stores. Andy stood out like "I want to buy from him" at Moore Park in Sydney's east.

The same enthusiasm was shown by staff at a modernly adorned restaurant serving Japanese food in suburban Eastwood, north-west of Sydney CBD. Janie had recommended the place for dinner, a contrast to the tone set by the majority of the nearby businesses. Information was written on glass platelets above where we sat. Although space was at a premium, solid tables supported customers who were seen to be relishing their food, especially the ramen and the bentos. Customers who did not book ahead were content to wait on this Saturday night. It was a refreshing sight to see a blonde-haired bloke attend to customers instead of the expected smiling Asian women. My sashimi of tuna cuts were fresh and went down well with the miso soup and tempura.

At Broadway shopping centre, I noticed Asians selling Italian pastas - was that a contradiction, I thought. The place had not changed much even if I had not been there for years. The demographics of the shoppers and visitors reflected the variety of neighbourhoods it was surrounded with -university students, gay couples, young families, elderly matrons, Chinatown spillovers, fitness practitioners, bohemian dwellers and cinema goers. The outdoor store Ananconda offered challenges to the likes of Kathmandu, Australian Geographic and Paddy Pallin. L'Occitane was pretty in display and suggested a touch of Euro chic. The GNC store of many years ago had disappeared, but the Dymocks book store still thrived, retaining its industry initiatives of having a coffee shop amongst its well-stocked shelves and display innovation. A new feature of Broadway in Sydney is the Oxfam store, with its brightly coloured baskets out front and socially conscious shoppers inside.

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