Monday, November 23, 2009

Merry Hill visit

Headed up on Saturday for some shopping both normal and Christmas. Got out a little later than I'd hoped and ended up arriving around 10:30. With one minor hold-up from the bus stopping in front of me. Hey I know let's not put the bus-stop a little further down where there are multiple lanes, let's put it next toa  speed bump and concrete divider so it's impossible to overtake
A queue from the cinema island to the multi-storey made me chose to head into the cinema car-park despite the drizzle. Headed up and down three aisles getting steadily further away until giving up and heading out to try the multi-storey.

Of course this meant heading through the traffic lights just outside the entrance, then round an island back towards the same traffic lights and then into the poorly laid out multi-storey. Though at least it was a left-turn rather than a right-turn for me now.

Counters had the first three floors full which meant only the roof had spaces free, didn't stop people cruising around and as mentioned poor layout and inadequate marking meant some people heading down the wrong way of one-way lanes to get to spaces they'd spotted (which weren't) leaving everything jammed up.

Fortunately I found a space on the top floor (in the open) quite close to the BHS; Fate dropping unpleasant things from a great height had both elevators out of commission - please use the ones next to Next. No we're not going to tell you where those are. Turns out they're on the opposite side of the car-park.

It would also be worth mentioning a small facet of English weather - it's wet and as such even with door mats in place entrances and exits tend to also get a little damp. So a tiled floor in these circumstance is not the best option, neither is using the same materials for the stairs. No I didn't fall over, but I had to be careful and aware of what I was doing; something difficult if you're coming back with some heavy/bulky items.

Despite the crammed car-parks Merry Hill seemed not that busy and stayed like that until around 1pm when everyone appeared to fill the place.

For reasons I can't comprehend I skipped past Gamestation, Game, WH Smiths etc.; and headed into Sainsbury's which was as poorly stocked as normal. Oh and by the way am I the only one that has to avoid looking at the black/metal striped entrance mat? Acts like a strobe light as I walk over it.

Anyway this brought me close to the top floor of Debenhams which was having a sale. I spotted the Jelly Bean Factory jars with 20% off, but passed over to the Game store section. Dragon Age: Origins was out in the Game exclusive for £49.99 normal version £39.99. Might as well pick it up and then Fate having screwed me on the elevators relented and smiled. Turns out the Game store registers are Debenhams' registers and that means the in-store discounts apply here too. No signs telling you this, but with the discount and points on my reward card it ended up costing me £37.99. If I'd gone to the 'proper' Game store first (as I normally do) I wouldn't have got the discount.

Taking advantage I has a wander around the store and found more Jelly Bean Factory jars including a 1.5kg jar for £22... 20% off made it £17.60; sweet...s.

Picked up a couple of books in Waterstones then headed to Asda and the Toys'r'us. This took a while as I was also perusing every jewellers, clothes store etc. for a tie slide. Minor's suddenly into ties and I thought it would be nice to get him a slide for his upcoming birthday. Could I find one? No of course not. Oh cuff-links by the bushel and some places even had tie-clips, but they were gold or silver (i.e. expensive) or came with cuff-links.

Into Toys'r'us and yet another example of a poor layout. From the Merry Hill exit the first door you come to is the exit, which you don't realise because the sign telling you this is above the door rather than on or next to the door. Past that and through the entrance and you're shunted to the right along a bare section until you get to the toy shelves. No signage to point you in any direction, you have to wander up the central aisle until you spot something similar to what you want. Except you can't because as all stores everywhere has decided to do they've stuck carousel type stands in your way.

Up, down, down, up and I can't spot what I want. I head to a wall and hug that as I head back down and there they are the 'educational toys' near the entrance. Oh but you can't see them from the entrance because they're behind a cross-shelf which you'd have to walk around to see them.

The original plan was to buy two cheapish telescopes for the Bratii, this means no complaints about one getting something the other wants and no sneaking away with the other's present. However I ditched this plan on the realisation that we wanted cheapish because they quite likely to get broken which would lead to Bratus 1 switching his broken telescope for Bratus 2's and claiming it's always been like that. Unless we labelled every part I'm not having that.

In the end I picked up a 25cm globe for Bratus Minor as he's always examining my gem globe when he visits, and a telescope for Major; 60mm aperture and I got them to take it out so I could examine it and it seems sturdy enough. Light, but bulky which left me with two large bags bumping around as I left. Tada it's the Next store and that's where the elevators are so I could ditch the presents.

Back down and in again and a quick looksee at Asda; something I rarely bother with. I saunter over to the games rack next to the entrance and spot Borderlands for £25. That's not bad, but wait Brutal Legend for £25 also? Damn I'm trying not to spend money, but damn.

I spent a couple of minutes weighing up the pros and cons; no demo of Borderlands, discussion that it's better played co-op; some bugs, pretty much a basic FPS with some small RPG grafted to it. Brutal Legend I'd played the demo which was meh, but it was fun and had a wider range of genre types. I decided on Brutal Legend.

Out and around and still no tie slides. Into Games Workshop and no new books out. Into HMV and spotted Blu-ray "Blood" for £19.99 no, way too expensive. Nothing else that caught my eye, not even in a 'Okay but not now' kind of way; either I'm saturated or they're just releasing crap these days.

In fact after my trip back from the car it was only Asda that I bought anything from so back I went up the stairs via BHS. Close to 2pm and traffic out was delightfully light and easy with not having to negotiate past the same set of traffic lights twice.

Pretty much all the shopping I need to do in that regard, the rest can be obtained from Kidderminster and Stourport. Yay!