Monday, September 29, 2008

The trouble with being a Target target



And the day started so well as, er, well...I was happily going about my business, listening to Cambodia, Kim Wildes greatest ever song, and everyone was looking forward to seeing Hawthorn in the Hobart mall with the Premiership Cup (apart from me, I wasn't that bothered, but I was amused by the bloke who got the Geelong tatt before they had even won, and possibly had Rod Quantock been there he might have ten minutes of anti Jeff Kennett material, although even I had to hope Jeff didn't have to talk to our highlarious radio duo Kim and Dave for more than a minute, casino or no casino) and I myself had my very first ever BELIEVE! bar, which tasted oddly like a Mars Bar, but with 90% more BELIEF! or something. However, something went horribly wrong - dark clouds rolled in over the mountain, not just because another old biddie got served before me in the lunch queue, but because someone was stabbed to death in the Hobart Target. Which is obviously terrible, and a completely rubbish way to die, stabbed in a discount store in the middle of Hobart. You wonder what could motivate anyone to stab someone in Target, - an argument about the merits of the Veronicas exclusive line of make up or the price of a T-shirt being 3.99 on the scanner? I always get massively freaked out though when someone gets killed or beaten up somewhere I've been. When I got back to Tassie from London, someone got knifed outside the McDonalds I ate at all the time, and now this. Someone got stabbed in the same store where I bought my "Future Pop" CD and first heard Jenny Wilson - truly a sad day. I've never seen any problems in the mall with my own eyes, obviously apart from the big black girls reign of terror. The unemployed man vs the Chiko Roll was as bad as I've seen it get, and now...I don't know, I'm just kind of bummed out. Target for gods sake...not even in a troubled store like Fullers Book Store...ordinary old Target? Amazing...

Incidentally, the last time I was in Target in town, it was part of my determined search for an 80GB somewhere in Tasmania that ended with wailing and gnashing of teeth inside the Apple store and my getting stroppy and referencing the hillbilly nature of the Apple store, and earlier in Target I went up to a bewildered gerbil faced freckle pants with a blonde pony tail in the sound and vision department (not electronics, sound and vision, like some sort of evangelical experience), who was whittling wood erratically to pass the time of day. She gave me a big gap toothed smile and asked if I needed help. Yes, I said, I'd rather like to purchase an IPOD, and if you could get me one, that would be superb. I'll never forget the look on her face and she looked up at the ceiling, down at the floor, back at the ceiling, directly at the tower of Shannon Noll CDs (Shannon remained stoically mute) and then back at me. "I'm sorry...what's an IPOD?" she said, still smiling but clearly puzzled, as if I had emerged from a cave with a stick and all the tribe did gasp. At first, I thought it was an exetensial question - after all, what is anything really, and if you play Cambodia in a forest and no one is around to hear it is it still Kim Wildes best song, and I thought she was referencing some kind of anti consumerist manifesto, pondering the relative worth of an IPOD against...no, she really didn't know what an IPOD was. This was despite the fact she was staring right at them (when she wasn't rolling her eyes in the direction of the still stoic Mr Noll) and, sitcom style, did a comedy double take as she looked at me again. "I...POD..." she said, rolling the concept around in her mind as a cat may roll around a ball of yarn. I did consider as the wind whistled through her ears starting with a simpler time, maybe asking for a record player or a cassingle? After an age, she looked me dead in the eyes and smiled. "Oh...the box with the music in it!" - I was terrified that I was going to get one of those things with the ballerina in it that you make spin with a hand crank (that'd be a music box, obviously) but I shrugged and said yes, technically, that defined an IPOD if you squinted. She was beaming she had worked out what an IPOD was, and had left it at that, clearly content that we had defined the IPOD as a concept. "Do...you have any?" I said, hopeful that she didn't have a one question limit. She looked at Shannon again, and shook her head. "No...we'll get some in May I think!" - being it was November, I went to Harvey Norman.

I had a mate who used to work at the local paper in Burnie, the Advocate - which as I've mentioned before is the last refuge of Hagar the Horrible, and usually features on the front page a woman who has just managed to knit the perfect sock or a nursing home patient who has turned 88 or something like that (or turned 88 on the same day as a famous movie star). He told me this one time though they had an ace reporter who was great at being wherever the action was on the North West Coast whenever a crime was committed. If some no goodnik punk kids were vandalising, he was hot on the trail, practically catching the rock as it flew through the glass. Anyway, this one day he got a really hot lead that someone had been stabbed in Hiscutt Park in Penguin and so he flew down the road in his Holden Commodore at a rapid clip of about 70 kmhs an hour to get the story, so that resident readers of the Advocate could be scared by the rise of knife crime in the state. When he got to Penguin, he found out that there was absolutely no stabbings, no knife crime, but some customers at the Soapbox had been robbed by the high price of rose smelling bath salts. It was a difficult day for our reporter, as he had probably been deprived of his usual beat, wandering around the K Mart mall counting the kids on a free period and calling them truants. What he did though was write a think piece about how eerily quiet Hiscutt Park was, how he had seen some no good punk kids on the swings being up to no good, and how easily he could have been stabbed if someone had wanted to stab him. His editor wasn't happy with this think piece, so he went back to Penguin, A Current Affair style, and began trying to wind up some members of Lauries Pub to try and get in a fight. As it turned out, all that happened was that he couldn't handle his drink, fell over a stool, vomited all over himself and passed out in the corner. He then woke up with a sore head, told his editor someone had hit him, and crime was rampant in Penguin. Mission accomplished really...

I've never really been in any kind of situation like the one that would have confronted the poor old Target shoppers today, seeing someone stabbed and bleeding on the floor or being in some kind of crisis situation. Probably the worst I've been involved with seeing was outside a train station in Bruges, as the taxi took me away from the city onwards on my adventure. The taxi driver was a Pakistani man with a giant beard, and was making jokes about terrorism which was obviously disconcerting, but we pulled away. As we drove off, I noticed two girls drinking alcopops on a brick wall, no older than thirteen, both in sparkly dresses. The Pakistani cab driver looked at them and said something that sounded like hookers, but I didn't believe that, having lived my little sheltered Ayrshire and northern Tasmanian life. However, at the moment we stopped at the lights, a man came out of the shadows and walked towards them, possibly a pimp, or just a sleazy old man. If he was a pimp, I wanted to know where the cane and hat was - he looked like a biker, with his beard tripping him on the ground. The girls and he had a brief, seemingly unanimated conversation, and then the man with the beard fell down hard on the ground, and as he lay on the ground, the lights turned green and we drove off into the night. I thought as we drove off, he's just been stabbed. The Pakistani was espousing a theory about a particular night club in Eindhoven where everyone dressed in a nautical theme, but I wasn't really listening. I quietly and softly asked "Do you think that guy was just stabbed?" - he looked around, uncertain if he'd missed something, and then realised what I was talking about. "Nah," he said with surety, "he just faked a heart attack, and then he mugs the girls..." - I didn't know what to make of this, but either way I had seen something pretty bad. The Pakistani taxi driver saw my look of concern, and stared through his rain soaked windscreen. "Don't worry," he said firmly, "I see bad shit all the time, you can't fix everything, you just have to keep going sometimes, god, if I kept jumping out the taxi everytime I saw shit like that, I'd be dead quickly..." - it wasn't quit the inspiring moving speech I had hoped for, but he had already mentally moved on. "Everyone is into the 80s here in Belgium...huh? What's all that about? Fucking rubbish! Who wants to bring back the Spectrum! Why! Huh? Huh? Huh?" - and on we drove, leaving the problems of the world back at the train station, all the while discussing why computers in the 1980s were so bad, but in the back of our minds, wondering why for different reasons we had ended up being so helpless...

Since today I couldn't even a way to stop my IPOD from continually skipping over Kim Wilde and going to Moloko, I can't think that I'll ever save the world, or someone in Target, but one day, I might be able to try...IPOD first though...

6 comments:

SuvvyGirl said...

That would be horrible..getting stabbed in a department store. The world is an ever changing ever scarier place. This is the main reason I don't read the news. It's all very depressing and scary. More happy news, that is what is needed.

We could make you a superhero costume and you could be IPOD man and fly from crime to crime, city to city blarring peaceful music and shall single handedly end war and crime. :)

Mad Cat Lady said...

Maybe it was somebody who worked at Target who was doing the stabbing? That would be understandable. My best friend has worked at KMart for 20 years and I always expect to hear that she's cracked and beat somebodies head in with a shelf. She bought herself one of those big suspended Punching bag, like wot boxers have, to relief her stress towards customers on after work (and she keeps a little plastic baseball bat out the back at work to beat the ground with during working hours).

Kris said...

Given the amount of drugs that are dealt in the mall right outside of Target, and the amount of aggro said drug deals seem to generate in the mall right outside of Target, and given the key commodity is rotten speed, not at all conducive to calm and rational forethought, I'd be keen on nominating this as a causal factor.

On the way home on the bus yesterday arvo I saw a quite exciting scrag fight occurring right up the middle of the road in the Rosny bus mall. Earings had been torn out and there was an awful lot of "nerfucken fuckencuntfucken nerfucken" going on. It could have been about the Veronica's, but I myself would have a quiet bet that it was prompted by one too many playings of that god awful Kid Rock song on HOFM.

Good times.

Miles McClagan said...

I know, trust me, when it comes to the news, I skip straight to the cute cat up a tree. I'd love to solve crime simply by putting Cambodia on really loudly...who could resist the soothing tunes of Kim Wilde!

Oh, I work in retail, it's funny how much your thoughts turn to stabbing wildly...no one ever sees the way I kick wildly at the little bar at my feet...it was worse when I worked at Coles, those old biddies really put me off the human race...

I like the thinking - I pretty much blame everything on Jason Mraz and Kid Rock as it is. I didn't realise Target was a drug store...weird how places end up like that. Rosny is now a Glenorchy bogan overspill - Big W on dole day is like a treasure trove. Throw in that they can get the Metallica album now, and it's a grotto!

JahTeh said...

I hadn't heard about this but there have been times when I've been trapped in Target and wanted to kill myself if I didn't see an exit in 6 seconds.

Miles McClagan said...

Well, when the girl didn't know what an IPOD was, there was a certain part of my brain that was thinking someone should get the knife sharpener...