My last Blog, Twaddle deep and Twaddle dumb in Auckland, seems to have struck a chord, judging by the amount of reaction I’ve had from around the world.
To recap, the New Zealand Herald recently published the views of “economic consultant” Rodney Dickens who raged that the expansion of duty free shops was impeding passenger movement through Auckland and Melbourne airports. The newspaper headline dutifully screamed, ‘Auckland Airport under fire: Critic says older travellers could get stuck forever’ in duty free.’
“In both airports travellers are forced to take much longer routes than needed to get from security checking to the boarding gate because they are forced to walk through the duty free precincts that snake around on themselves rather than travellers having the option of taking much shorter routes,” claimed Dickens in a 49-word sentence mauling of the English language (Rodney is, we can confirm, not a descendant of Charles).
“There is also a lack of clear signage for travellers to follow through the maze of duty free shops, especially in Melbourne but also now an issue in Auckland Airport. I can envisage some elderly travellers stuck forever in duty free unable to find their way out.”
As I pointed out, during my visits to both airports I’ve seen plenty of elderly travellers shopping and plenty who have chosen not to shop. But I’ve never eseen one lost, let alone unable to find their way out.
Someone at the New Zealand Herald must have decided that the story was as unbalanced as Mr Dickens. As a result the media title sent out reporter Grant Bradley to shoot a video (click here to view), titled (with a nice touch of irony) ‘Getting lost in Auckland Airport duty free’.
Apart from the fact that Bradley’s camera work does suggest that he may have supped a little too much Plymouth courtesy of The Loop’s excellent ‘Spirit of gin promotion’ (tagline, ‘let the journey be-gin’… heck, even my puns aren’t that bad, though they do tend to be London dry), you will find that he indeed did make it out of the retail zone.
Our very own Dermot Davitt did something similarly cinematic last December (see below), albeit in slightly more leisurely style (possibly reflecting his use of a 1900 Brownie dollar box camera bought at a Galway second-hand shop and a heavy dollop of outstanding Central Otago Pinot Noir the night before). I can personally testify that Dermot made it through the shop as I saw him later the same week at our staff Christmas party.
The Herald’s budget didn’t run to sending Mr Bradley to Melbourne, so I’ll help out with my own Spielbergish effort, shot on a humble Lumix point and shoot last November on the day that Dufry opened its ‘New Generation’ store at the airport. With my advanced years, notoriously fickle directional capabilities AND having to focus on shooting a video, what possible chance did I have of getting out of this terrible ‘force through’ duty free? Would I become one of those elderly travellers stuck forever in duty free unable to find their way out?
Take a look. I am happy to report that, like Mr Bradley, I was not lost in (duty free) space and that Melbourne Airport Chief of Retail Andrew Gardiner did not have to send out a search party or a Saint Bernard Swiss rescue dog (complete with barrel of duty free rum around its neck) to get me out of there.
I can also reveal that, in keeping with our strict Corporate Social Responsibility principles, no elderly travellers were harmed in the making of any of these films.