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You’re not going out in that!

Collecting for the Red Shield Appeal can, at times, be less than exciting. If you’re at a static point in a busy shopping centre, you have music to listen to, people to observe, shops to consider spending money at and maybe even a food court nearby to have a break at. However, not all static points are as stimulating.


One of our collection points is standing outside the door of a supermarket looking at a car park. People park their cars, walk into the supermarket, and 10 minutes later, they walk out and drive away. Sure, we collect good donations, but not much is going on to stimulate the senses.


One of our static points is at a busy outdoor shopping mall, and I enjoy observing people as I stand there. I especially enjoy judging different fashions and styles. I hasten to add that I live much of my life in jeans, t-shirts and Dunlop Volleys, so I’m no fashion expert. But – just like judging art – I know what I like and don’t like.


While I was collecting the other day, a teenage girl approached with a lady I assumed was her mother. As they walked past I noticed something moving just behind the girl: it was her fox tail. Yes, she had a full fox tail hanging out the back of her jeans and swinging behind her. I’m assuming it was not actually connected.


A young man, maybe 20, walked by in his pyjamas and slippers. It was 1pm. I figured he was just being prepared in case a sudden and overwhelming urge to nap overtook him.


Two teenage girls walked past wearing baggy, calf-length pants, socks and chunky white casual shoes. The socks stood out: one set had watermelon slices on them, and the other set had bees on them. They had swapped one sock so that they each had one watermelon sock and one bee sock. I wondered if they washed the other person’s sock before returning it or just gave it back dirty.


An elderly lady walked past pushing a small shopping trolley. She would have been about 70 years old, with white hair, sensible black shoes, black slacks – and an Iron Maiden t-shirt. Perhaps she just liked the colourful design; perhaps she’s a fan of classic UK heavy metal music. Who knows?


I saw four young businessmen walking and laughing together, seemingly on their lunch break. They all wore suits with white shirts, ties and black leather shoes. The suits were almost an identical colour – that mid-blue that seems to be the only choice of young, upwardly mobile office workers. I wondered how they choose what to wear each day as they look in their wardrobes in the morning: “Hmm, might wear the blue suit today.”


Mind you, I can’t be too picky, I’m standing in a public place wearing a red apron! Sure, it has a big red shield on it announcing my representation of The Salvation Army, but nevertheless, it’s a red apron with little tie strings on the side. Maybe I need to get a fox tail to make myself more acceptable. That might help attract attention.


– Major Mal Davies and his wife Major Tracey are the Corps Officers at Adelaide City Salvos



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