When I was invited to attend the Primark opening at Viennese shopping mall SCS, I felt lucky yet guilty. Just a week before, I had accompanied friends to another Primark store in Vienna where I've only been once before. That experience left me thinking if I ever wanted to go there again; well, shopping on advent Saturdays is never a good idea, but besides the crowds of noisy people, I was really sore after leaving the shop two hours later. I could barely breathe through my nose, had a sore throat and a headache - that all pretty much felt like I had been poisoned by all the polyester and plastic smell.
Now, what can you expect other than cheapest material and bad working conditions for the people producing our clothes and accessories, when a t-shirt costs 4€ and - for most costumers - has an even lower value?
With that in mind, I feared the opening of another giant Primark store. Ain't I totally hypocritical for attending an event like that while knowing about the numerous grievances? Everyone who has been shopping in England or Ireland once, has most probably come across an overcrowded chaotic Primark somewhere, which was the very opposite from the new Primark store here in Vienna. Everything was neatly sorted and clean - even the air inside the shop. So, there was a completely different atmosphere than a week earlier. The stuff was nice and happily fooling around in kitchy oncies and preparing for what I'd literally call the 'calm before the storm'. An hour after the press reception the store opened its doors for everybody - and the crazy amounts of excited screaming people waiting outside truly frightened me.
Long story short: the newly opened Primark store at SCS is a cheap and fashionable place to shop. You'll never find it as empty and clean as pictured in my post, but if you start your shopping trip early, there's a good chance you won't have to que too long in front of the dressing rooms. Finally, there's the ethical aspect to be questioned. And to my surprise, the company seems to be investing in 'fair' production and is one of the global leaders when it comes to hiring people of all nations, religions or whatever. Of course, how companies present themselves is always different to what they may look like on the inside, but at least they know that there's quite some pressure by the public eye on these very aspects.