Consumerism Melbourne

A local shop for local people

I’ve lived in my suburb just over a year now, long enough that I’m getting to know the local Bentleigh shops a bit more now, and a few of the shopkeepers know me.

For instance, the drycleaner lady recognises me, though like a TV news captioner, she misspells my name, and I can’t be bothered to correct it. So as far as she’s concerned, I’m Mr Bowan. (It’s a pretty good attempt given English is not her first language.)

One of the local restaurants Marita and I have been eating regularly has changed hands and re-launched, better than ever. The old owner was almost legendary for greeting us in what was a somewhat fawning manner. The new people recognise us too, though there’s rather less of the fawning, which was almost starting to get uncomfortable.

Now I think about it, apart from a friend who is sometimes working behind the counter at the railway station, and my sister (who runs the local traders’ association), they might be the only shopkeeper-types that really recognise me so far.

Most of the other shops are too busy, and my visits too infrequent to become known. Not like in my old neighbourhood, Glen Huntly, where I’ve been going to the same barber for ten years, and the guy who used to ran the newsagent giggled like a schoolgirl when he mentioned he’d seen me on the telly.

Not that it really matters. Even if they don’t recognise me, I’ve now got a feel for what shop is where. All part of settling into a new neighbourhood.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “A local shop for local people”

Getting to know local shopkeepers rocks – I’ve finally managed to accomplish a little of this, and it’s one of the main reasons I didn’t want to move (and so had to buy my rented house). My favourite is the Greek grandmother at the local milk bar/cafe, who drops hilarious Aussieisms into her conversations: “see YA later!”.

I like it when you get recognized by your local traders. I would like to think that this means that your business is valued and you will be looked after come what may. I am recognised in my local cake shop although I am not sure if that is such a good thing for me. Maybe it’s their subversive way of luring me back to eat more cakes. I noticed in today’s Epicure that the suburb focused on this week is Ormond/McKinnon which is your neck of the woods now.

An upgrade of the Nepean Hwy to 8-lane grade seperated freeway
standard with on-ramps at Centre Rd would generate more trade at the Bentleigh Shops :D

But we cannot just have rail – we need a mixture of roads and railways too! How can trucks drive down a railway line? Or how do people get around at 8pm at night after all the last buses have left?

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