October 2012


A Satisfactory Saturday

After spending the Tag der Deutschen Einheit, a day off, getting stuff done—I’m happy to report that I’ve also spent my Saturday getting stuff done.

In addition to a bit of freelancing, Wednesday included mundane chores like changing the filter on my bathroom fan. Honestly, this is not a complicated chore, but it does require me to stand on the top step of my 3-step ladder and reach about as high as I can reach in order to change the filter.

Have I mentioned that I hate climbing ladders? I don’t light exposed heights?

I’m proud to say that I managed to climb the ladder twice: first to take off the old filter – I would have done it in one fell swoop, but the filter cover desperately needed cleaning as well, so I was forced to climb down and wash it, thus making the second trip necessary.

Hopefully I won’t be needing to climb to the top step of my ladder again anytime soon.

Today, on the other hand, I had two chores on my list – both embarrassing in their own way.

First, I needed new sweatpants – nothing I will ever wear outside of my apartment, but I was finding the prospect of winter with only one pair a bit daunting. I like to wash my clothing regularly, and it’s difficult to wear sweatpants while they’re drying – hence the decision to buy sweatpants.

The embarrassing part: I decided to buy my new sweatpants at Primark.

For those of you who don’t know, Primark is an Irish-based clothing retailer (seriously, I thought it was British until I read up on the company today) that is infamous for incredibly cheap clothing – clothing so cheap that if you wear it once and throw it away, it doesn’t make you feel all that bad.

Actually it does – the prices are so low that one imagines that the employees are lucky to get time off to go home at night – although, per the Wikipedia page, nothing has been proven, other than the fact that BBC journalists told the public that Primark was using underpaid illegal immigrants — lying about working conditions with fabricated footage – Primark is innocent of all charges.

Primark recently opened their first store in Berlin and after having heard so much about it, I decided to check the place out and buy sweatpants in the process.

Holy Cow!

The place was a madhouse – the most depressing, chaotic, and busy store I’ve shopped at in Berlin – and an even greater madhouse than any of the Primarks that I’ve wandered through in the UK (at least two that I can recall: Cheltenham and Glasgow).

Once I found sweatpants, I ended up going for an expensive option because I prefer cotton to polyester: the 6€ pair were 80% polyester, while the 14€ were 80% cotton.

I also got out of Primark as quickly as I could.

The second thing that I did today with the potential to be embarrassing is I cleaned out my kitchen cupboards. This was prompted by the fact that a couple of days ago I found a couple of things in the cupboard that had expired over a year ago. This discovery alarmed me and I decided it might be best if I went through everything to see what I could find.

I had unopened, well over a year past the expiration date, bottles of oil—never mind those that were open and only partially used. There were even some things that had expired before I left Weimar! Why I moved them is beyond me!

Happily the cleaning went more quickly than I expected: it took me only 45 minutes to sort everything out, plus four bags with which I transported the well-aged goods out of the apartment.

This leaves me with cozy plans for the rest of my day. Berlin’s taken on fall-esque characteristics this weekend – cloudy, cool, and random bursts of heavy rain.

I’ll be snuggling up with some (non-expired) tea and a book – currently I’m reading The Casual Vacancy (The Guardian sort of liked it, The New York Times didn’t.), the new, adult, novel by JK Rowling.

1 comment to A Satisfactory Saturday

  • I only just heard of Primark for the first time this summer. I was planning a trip to London and a friend of mine who used to live there asked me to step into a Primark to buy something for her that she couldn’t get as inexpensively here in Germany.

    I agree completely with your assessment. Even in the heart of London, Primark was depressing, chaotic, and busy.

    I didn’t stay there long either.