Tubes, Stores and People

Edgware Station and the Bakerloo Line.

Today I went down to Oxford Street to do a little exploring and shopping. I'm really excited that I basically have the tube system figured out. It isn’t nearly as complicated as the NYC station is to me. It's also a ton cleaner, and there aren't dodgy or homeless people on it. It makes busy days on tube when everyone is cramming onto the train before the doors close a lot easier when it’s evident that the people you are uncomfortably close to are clean, normal people.

I got off at the Marble Arch station and walked along Oxford Street for a bit. The buildings on either side of the road primarily sell clothing, and the entire area was very busy. Saturday is the big shopping day. I’d rather go during the evening on weeknights, but the vast majority of stores close at either 5 or 6 p.m. for some reason. It’s too bad, because I wake up kind of late, have classes until 5, and then everything is closed for the evening.

Primark is almost the Wal-Mart of the U.K., at least in terms of controversy. It sells clothing and some household items like bed sheets and curtains, and everything is suspiciously cheap. Of course, with my budget and the fact that the USD is horrible, it’s hard to resist. Primark sources its supply very cheaply and uses sub par materials for their products, I have read. It also ran into some trouble just earlier this summer when the BBC uncovered three garment manufacturing facilities in India subcontracted under Primark that were using child labor. Primark said it had no idea. It’s also gotten some publicity about poor workers’ rights.

Everything else on Oxford Street was too expensive for me. I also stopped into a bookstore and bought a few travel guides on the countries I’m thinking of visiting for fall break, France, Germany and Switzerland.

The people in the flat below us had a note delivered to our flat, complaining about noise. But rather than the type of noise you’d think of somewhere like a house on Ackerman Ave. emanating, they referred only to a specific incident where someone in the house dropped a pair of shoes on the ground, and how they can also sometimes hear us treading down our corridor. They ended their note by suggesting we purchase softer shoes like slippers so as to help us quiet down.

None of us were particular happy about this, mostly because they’re being ridiculous. We’re all trying very hard to keep the noise down, conscious already about Americans having a reputation of being loud and obnoxious. I don’t know what their problem is.