Jun 16, 2012

The Experience

Something I have not done here in a while, a little bit of ill informed, artist slanted, social commentary.

The other day we drove to Kingaroy to buy some hardware bits and pieces, some big bags of flower and to try and buy some compost worms (couldn't find any). Along the highway on the way back we saw a sign at a turn off for a cafe we had not noticed before. We don't drink much take away coffee these days (what with child labour in Africa n all) but on a whim we turned in for a slice of cake. What we found tucked away at the end of a little bit of dirt road was a real treat.

The Whipbird Cafe. An old couple have beautifully restored a little old church, they were friendly, and they lovingly prepared all the food there on sight. Vicki and I shared a jaw droppingly yum slice of Rum and Chocolate Cheese Cake, had a nice chat with one of the owners (David) and left relaxed and happy.

It wasn't until later that I realised I had paid and left without it even registering how much it cost. Some people might do that all the time, but as a freelance teacher I'm just entering a month with no work or pay (mid semester break) and am in extra tight ass mode (as opposed to the regular only working one day a week tight ass mode).

The whole thing left me thinking about the power of the experience that comes with a purchase. Or maybe I should say the lost art of providing an experience with a purchase. Have you noticed? How the process of buying anything has become like a visit to a warehouse? As a child I remember a visit to a department store was like walking into a palace, clean polished floors, staff buzzing around straightening things on shelves and friendly smiling faces. I've only been there once (and wont bother again) but the Big W in Kingaroy feels more like a Bunnings, on this same trip we stopped into Target because Vicki had a $20 gift card (we couldn't find anything worth while to buy with it) and it was full of stacked boxes and crates in the isle ways. Food is proud of being predictable (i.e. bland) and is served to us quickly so we can get the hell out of there.

And of course this all trickles down to the commercial artist. I mean the only reason for associating art with a product in the first place is to improve the experience and if culture places no value on that experience then it follows it won't place much value on the art or artist. As someone who has raised a child in recent years and seen the peer pressure applied to his daughter I expect the majority of young consumers would place an emphasis on how many of a certain thing they had acquired over the quality of its presentation.

Large corporations, conditioning consumers, feeding their agenda of constant growth rar rar rar rage! etc etc :P

But what I did find interesting was how the owners of this beautiful little cafe had managed to find themselves a little niche out of the spotlight, but still providing them with enough to get buy. We'd said to David that we had been living here for six months now and not known they were there, but he simply said they get good business on the weekends and it was more than enough to get buy on. He wasn't interested in the financial growth game, which instantly earns my respect.

I wonder if we will ever stumble upon a niche up here in the hills for a couple of commercial artists.


farmer_liz said...

We stop there occasionally too, its a lovely cafe. I know what you mean about visiting those big box shops, they all feel the same too! I hate them. People say they live in Kingaroy so they're closer to the shops - I think they mean BigW and McDs, but we would rather be further from those shops! Most everything we need is in Nanango in small local shops, we hardly ever go to Kingaroy. (Had trouble getting worms too, Mitre10 never has any, I got a handful from a friend at work, if they start multiplying in summer I'll give you some, might be worth askinf if anyone else at permaculture has any to spare)

Judi B said...

We have never been to that cafe, never got enough time. Just sometimes it is good to spend a little on a "luxury" it would be for us anyway.
Liz it is getting harder to get what you want in Nanango these days, I try to get what I want here first.

Ian said...

Yeah, I can't for the life of me understand why we can't support a rural shop. I mean even Goomeri has one.

Mind you I'm glad we don't have any of the big shops. There is a billboard at Blackbutt that says, "Sign the petition to get our own shopping centre!" and I always think egad why would you :P

Maybe we could have a permaculture shop, then I might like shopping :)

Judi B said...

Things have really changed in this town since we've been here, once you could get all you needed now it is hard and I think shopping online doesn't help (I don't)I feel if you don't use it you WILL lose it.
I only buy my seeds and fabric online.
A permaculture shop, then I might like shopping :) me too.

BlueWren said...

Ian, the Sustainability Weekend that sparked the SBP Group was held at the Whipbird Cafe!You must have felt the good vibes!

BlueWren said...

I did - but it's vanished now!

Ian, the Sustainability Weekend that sparked off the South Burnett Permaculture Group was held at the Whipbird Cafe!

You must have felt the good vibes!

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