Brewer's Droop #224

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Having been through a good number of public holidays in the past month I thought I might share an experience I had. It involves shopping in a large mall, so you pretty much know what to expect I’ll say.

You may even be scratching your head and asking yourself “why the hell would he want to do that?”

The reason I felt the need to go was because I wanted a new pair of shoes to wear with my tux when I go cruising in about a week’s time. So there. I also thought everyone would be outside enjoying the surprisingly warm weather. Wrong.

It seems that I stumbled onto a little known national pastime. Did you know there are thousands upon thousands of people who aimlessly wander around these Temples of Retail? AND they take their entire families with them “for a day out and a Wimpy” too!

And what is it about children that when they’re in a building with a high ceiling that echoes they have to run around everywhere, knocking over old ladies and screaming at the top of their voices while their parents lick ice creams (a part of which inevitably finds its way onto your sleeve).

But, man-up, bite the bullet and over the top we go chaps!

Now, we’ve all been told about the 80/20 principle where 20% of the staff write 80% of the business. Well, in the shopping mall shops 80% of the staff are moronic. I mean truly stupid.

“This size 10 won’t do – have you got it in a size 11?”

“No, but we do have it in a size 9.”

“Is it made of leather?”

“I don’t know. I think it’s plastic, or maybe it’s nylon.”

They don’t know what stock they carry, they don’t know where anything is. I doubt they even know the name of the shop they’re working in.

And why, in the name of everything holy, did shopping become a disco experience?

Did some expert tell retailers that really loud rap music will help sell more crystal glasses? I somehow don’t think so. Maybe a little smooth jazz or light classical but Rap? Really? And when you do find one of the 2 out of 10 shop assistants who actually does have a brain you each have to repeat everything you say because the music’s so damn loud!

How some of these shops stay in business amazes me – because I wasn’t the only one walking out empty handed and shaking their heads in dismay.


Since I last wrote there have been a number of mergers and closures in the ad industry and, frankly, we’re in a bit of a mess aren’t we?

There’s total media chaos and confusion. Nobody seems to know where media is going (and don’t even ask about Social Media), the future of AMPS (and SAARF for that matter).

Bester Burke just said they’d had enough and decided to close – others didn’t have the luxury of such an option.

There are only a few talented agencies with highly experienced people who do really fabulous work – but there just aren’t enough of them. Clients are pulling their hair out trying to find an intelligent agency which can help them grow their businesses. Several significant clients have told me that they get their strategies written overseas!


If ever there was a time for young, talented people to step up to the plate and open their own shops, it’s now. Go for it!


Well, the ANC got more votes than I would like to have seen and whilst they didn’t get the smack in the mouth I was hoping for, they did, at least, get a tap on the nose.

Marius Fransman in the Western Cape must be particularly embarrassed and Jacob Zuma must be chewing his nails a bit more and wondering if the axe is going to fall and he might have to face all those fraud charges.

Good sense will eventually prevail but it might take 15 years – or even longer.


Most Droop readers know I’m not fond of tattoos so when I saw this posting from a lady on Facebook I thought it summed it up perfectly:

”When people ask why I have no tattoos I simply ask them if they’d stick a bumper sticker on a Ferrari.”

Nice one!


(Currently sipping a martini on the Grand Canal in Venice)

Filed as:


  1. Are you on a Gondola Chris?

    • And I know all the words to “O Solo Mio” too!

  2. Probably had enough od gondola ends.

  3. You men! Shopping on a Sunday is one of the best moments of the week!

  4. “Currently sipping a martini on the Grand Canal in Venice.” – treat yourself!

  5. Have a great cruise Chris and Michelle!

  6. Ever been to Canal aka Anal Walk? The size of two rugby fields… count me out. Have a great trip, Chris.

  7. I personally would NEVER go near any shopping mall at ANY time – that’s what my girlfriend’s for.

  8. I had my wallet pinched while perambulating down the Grand Canal, so watch out!

  9. Chris, it’s not just that the ad industry is in a mess. It’s also that the folks working at many are seriously behind the techno curve. As a publisher of digital media (mags now, books shortly) we get asked routinely entirely the wrong questions by supposed digital planning types. As in: ‘What’s your unique visitors figure?’ and: ‘How many click-throughs do you get per campaign on average?’ Putting aside the fact that we have to (usually) refine the question into, ‘over what period of time’, for example, both question types are completely irrelevant to digital magazine publishing hosted off our website. Sigh. So we spend a lot of time ‘educating’ the very people supposedly making decisions on behalf of clients, based on ‘expert’ knowledge. It is very tedious and wasteful of precious time and energy. Also, this situation helps explain why this country can’t move forward as it should.

  10. Have a lovely trip – I love Italy! And when you’re back, get your client friends to send work my way :-)

  11. Have a wonderful time in Italy. Hope your weather is better than London (although in all fairness it is warming up)

  12. I was chatting to an agency colleague yesterday about the sad drop in calibre of a certain media owner’s sales team. Many clients also appear to be battling with inexperienced marketing staff. So the problem is spread beyond agencies. All in all, too few strong people are having to do more with less – a global sign of the times.

  13. Ice cream lickers at Canal Walk.
    Experienced them every weekend at Canal Walk – probably has the lowest spend per visitor of any retail mall in South Africa, resulting in trading densities that businesses cannot sustain – lost my shirt there. Bad memories and bitter taste.


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