So I was quietly making my way to the office from the train station Friday morning and a little bloke came up from behind me, swung around and said, “Stop shoving your war support in my face!”
Apparently by wearing a Remembrance Day red poppy to show my support of all those who have fallen or suffered for Australia’s cause in war and armed conflict, I have offended this man.
He is entitled to his view, me to mine.
At 11am on 11 November 1918 the guns of Europe’s Western Front fell silent after more than four years of fighting. Since that time, 11am on 11 November has become a time to stop, reflect and remember all those who have died or been injured as a result of war.
I looked in quiet dismay at the stories running through the news sites and found those focused on what’s most important to me on 11/11 were not those most important to others. And then I saw this and felt sad:
You bought a poppy but do you really care?
Yes I care and very much so. I don’t care for war, but I care for freedom and justice and I care very much for the fabulous country that is Australia. I care deeply for those so brave people that lost their lives for my care of freedom and justice.
So I took one minute to be silent at 11am and I will wear my poppy proudly this day and every year going forward.
That little man may well chose to do otherwise.
Offline on the line
Last week Porter Novelli Melbourne hosted an AustraliaSCAN presentation by Quantum Market Research’s Imogen Randell. Australia Scan is an independent, cultural change monitor providing a view of Australians and how their behaviour is changing, and is the longest running social trends monitor of its kind in Australia. You may have seen some interest in The Age here.
Australia Scan provides fascinating insight into what we’re all feeling: Australians are becoming more conscious about their buck. We no longer appreciate discounts, we expect them – in supermarkets, at petrol stations, and in clothing stores. The statistics showed that we’re even more time poor than ever – working longer hours and spending more time in traffic on congested roads.
This got me thinking about the shift to online retail. Online stores provide a service that caters to our growing concerns about time and money. We’ve opened PayPal accounts, handed over addresses, and online shopping in Australia has grown 50% since 1998, says Australia Scan. While Spanish retailer Zara opens bricks and mortar shops in Australia, UK e-tailer ASOS has also launched offering a new way to fulfill our appetite for goods, and the notion of customer service is shifting from attentive staff in store to guaranteed and free overnight shipping.
If we’re shopping online, does that mean bricks and mortar retailing is offline? Where to from here? After revolution comes evolution. It’s not a war between the on and the off as speculated, rather it’s a mechanism for retailing models to change – and they are. But what’s missing is Australia’s ASOS or Shopbop.