In every large town now there are dozens of shopping complexes to cater for the ever increasing population. These complexes contain a variety of shops. They sell shoes, sports goods, clothes, computers, video and audio equipment, furniture, musical instruments, cameras and films, food, drinks and many other things.
There is one shopping complex in my town that is frequented by many people. I would say that it is the most popular one in town.
The moment I enter the shopping complex via its large entrance I virtually step into a different world from the street outside. The air in the complex is distinctly cooler. The air-conditioning is very effective. No wonder I see many youngster just loitering about the place. It gets pretty uncomfortable outside under the scorching sun.
There are armed guards in uniform stationed near a couple of goldsmith shops. Two of these guards look old and feeble. They must be retired army or police personnel. In the event of a robbery I doubt they would be of any use. Judging by the bored look on their faces, the shops might just as well have no guards at all.
On this ground floor of the complex there are many other shops. From where I stand near the goldsmith shops I can see people crowding near a computer shop. An audio tape shop blasts out the latest hits through two giant loudspeakers. A few meters away, behind the receptionist’s counter, a pretty girl seems to be speaking into a microphone. I can hardly hear what she is saying. The music from the loudspeakers is too loud.
There is also a supermarket on the ground floor. From afar I can see that it is just like any supermarket. Shelves after shelves are stocked with cans, packets, bottles and tins of common items like milk, beverages, sweets etc. the salesgirls seem very busy stacking the goods onto the shelves. Shoppers seem very busy removing them from the shelves.
I walk towards the elevator that is going up. I pause to let two persons before me get on and then I get on too.
The fist floor look similar to the ground floor except it has no supermarket. Instead there are many video arcades. I can see figures of youngsters inside hunched over the consoles feverishly working their fingers trying to beat the electronic machines. I used to be just as crazy as they but I have got over the madness. The machines are addictive and the addicts spend large amounts of money feeding them.
I proceed to the second floor via the elevator.
Again the air is filled with the sound of video games in progress. I walk past many arcades and other shops. Here on the second floor there are less people. Most of the shoppers are concentrated on the ground floor. That is where the bulk of the complex’s business is done. Up here there is more room for walking and browsing. The shopkeepers also are friendlier. I walk leisurely around the whole floor.
I stop by at a music shop to have a look at the guitars on sale. They are too expensive for me. I leave.
Next I wander into my friend’s sports shop. I chat with him about the coming Thomas Cup battle. He laments about the weaknesses of our team. He also laments about the lack of customers in his shop up here on the second floor. He says he will move down if he can find a place.
Finally I leave my friend’s shop and descend straight down to the ground floor. I notice the great difference in the number of shoppers compared to the higher floors. Perhaps my friend does have a point.
Anyhow I had come to the shopping complex to cool down a bit. I feel very much better now, good enough to go out under the scorching sun again.”