Hardly anyone about and the PC World salesman tells me that it's much quieter than the previous year. Unfortunately for me though, I find that the printer I want is not featured in the Christmas Sale, so I could have bought it for the same price last week!
Nobody appeared to have told all the early shoppers that most of the retail outlets at Westwood weren't opening until 10am. I ventured across with my daughter to the main area and lots of annoyed people were milling around at 9am, peering through windows with visible frustration. Unable to take her to the video games shop as promised, I had to make my way back on my motorcycle with her at noon, which at least guaranteed me a parking spot, only to find that the games shop had a queue for the tills that stretched back to Cafe Nero! - She gave up and will buy her next Playstation game on the internet instead!
For one of the most deprived areas of the country, Westwood Cross appears to be heaving with bargain hunters. With Thanet so short of cash one has to wonder whether a great many people are in denial over the predicted "credit crunch" to come in the New Year. Examined from another perspective it may simply be the urge to spend today, pay tomorrow and enjoy Christmas while the government worries about recession, failing banks and lost data.
Unable to find anything for myself, I did discover an attractive new "hoodie" for my dog for those cold winter mornings on the beach - pictured - although she seemed far from impressed with the result!
Finally, whoever designed the traffic-flow pattern in and out of the Westwood Cross car park did not think clearly about the consequences. Sitting on my motorcycle and watching the tortuous progress of the cars, it seems pretty clear to me that this bottleneck design is a major contribution to the traffic jam problems we now have on the approach to the centre. Whether this can be resolved, is another question and one I will certainly be asking in the New Year.