Saturday, 16 October 2010

Body Searched at the Super Market

By Laura Collins.

I can understand being body searched and having my bag rifled through by security when leaving a supermarket (kind of), but on entry? Never! That’s the first way in which my recent ‘Super Market’ experience differed from its namesake. The next? Where do I start? It could be when I was trying to get in and I was handed a playing card without any explanation of why. It could be that I was then asked to hand said card back as soon as I stepped in the door – a seemingly pointless exercise in my, and surely anyone’s, eyes. Maybe it was the staff rather rudely demanding payment on entry to this ‘Super Market’, overlooking the fact I was meant to be on the so called ‘free guestlist’ (apparently I had been handed the wrong playing card at the door so it confused them!). Or it could be that I was forced to have a huge cross tattooed on my arm in pink fluorescent marker pen. What’s wrong with a normal, subtle entry stamp on the hand, I ask you!?

After this long battle to simply get in to the ‘Super Market’ night at Avalon bar and club in Shoreditch, I was already feeling wary, as we stepped away from the discourteous door staff and into an empty club. I knew I would need to hit the bar right away. It was 10:30pm and the night was about to get worse.

Avalon is the latest club to hit the Shoreditch scene and Super Market is its newest night – an evening described as fun, fresh and unpretentious. I beg to differ. Starting properly on 15 October, Super Market will take place every Friday night in a bid to be THE place to be seen at. The people behind it, who first introduced the night at Oxford University, are setting themselves a high task. They seem to think there is not much happening on Friday nights in London so decided to set up shop in Shoreditch in the hope that everyone would follow. I’m not sure they will. Take a look around guys. It’s Friday night and this is London. There are things going on in every corner of this city, and ones that don’t involve dodgy and forgettable music from the 80s and 90s.

As predicted, our first stop was the bar, which was an experience in itself. I’m not sure if it was the bartender’s lack of understandable English, his incompetence to make a drink, or that he poured soft drinks straight from a plastic bottle (presumably purchased from a nearby supermarket – ironically the only credible nod to the night’s name) that made it so funny. Whatever it was that kept drawing us back like tourists to a monkey cage, it wasn’t the service I was expecting from a recently opened club. Avalon should have actually paid more attention to the local supermarket in this respect – they should have installed self service tills. It would have made getting a drink much quicker and a lot less exasperating.

As the club started to fill up with people, I filled up on drinks, so it was time to hit the toilets. Why raise this? Because I am a stickler for toilet etiquette, a test that Avalon failed quite severely. While I queued outside the cubicles (an annoying experience whoever you ask) a member of staff marched to the front of the line, pushed in and then proceeded to inform us that she had a right to use the next available toilet because she was a member of staff. Come on Avalon, I know you’re new but surely there’s an employee bathroom at least somewhere in the building!

This final straw that encouraged my friend and I to vacate Super Market was aiming for the cloakroom, a task that I thought was bound to be easy. It wasn’t. I had to actually go into the cloakroom to search for my coat. The fee I paid them to store my belongings obviously didn’t cover the staff labour required to find them again afterwards.

All in all, I would prefer to spend my Friday night in a real supermarket in the darkest depths of London then endure this club night at Avalon again. This so called Super Market was a mere mini-mart. It could be likened to Waitrose for its prices and One Stop for its quality. I’ve stopped once and I won’t be stopping there again. One stop at this Super Market was one stop too many.

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