Like many freshly-minted Australians, my parents’ friends, the Ducs, have a healthy respect for money. They’re not afraid to shop around. Their daughter and I used to be fairly close—we went to Vietnamese school together—so I got to tag along when her mum took her computer shopping.
We traipsed from Donvale to Springvale, from Harvey Norman to the corner tech shop. Her mum wasn’t content with comparing price stickers; she’d wring out profit margins from the sales assistants, before making a move on the manager. After the third or fourth store, my friend was begging her to stop. I wriggled in my seat, equally mortified. Haggling and bargain-hunting, I thought, was something our parents did. It was so very un-Australian. I’d rather eat stinky shrimp paste than make a beeline for the sales rack of any clothing store.
But how can something so universal be considered un-Australian? Continue reading