Westfield Stratford City

I’ve never “got” mass consumerism. Oh, I’m ok with paying for experiences, but I really can’t see the appeal for paying vast sums of money to carry heavy bags full of things that you will rarely get to experience.

So, some may think that it’s strange that I would bother visiting Europe’s biggest shopping mall.  However, while I’m not a fan of shopping, I’m a fan of both architecture and progressivism, and Westfield looked to be the standard bearer for both in the consumer market.

I’ll go ahead right now and state that it categorically succeeds at the former, with simple design techniques completely controlling your experience. From the way the mall curves, with wide spaces between the opposite shops, forcing you to look down a long row of highly visible store names, to the very wide balconies that take up most of this space, forcing you to walk closely to the shop entrances: everything is forcing you to passive-aggressively buy.

As for progressive? Not so much. You see, when you make the “largest” claim, you would assume that there would be a vast variety of shops, a wealth of opportunities to spend your money on useless tat. This is where WSC fails. Badly. Westfield is seriously just a bunch of high street stores in a room. There is a teensy tiny corner with some fancy food and confectionery, but you get stores like that in train stations nowadays. The restaurants were average sized, the bowling alley looked very small and the casino isn’t even open yet, or licensed. I’ll have to wait to judge that then, but a casino in a shopping centre can only be so good.

I was hoping that there would be some alternative culture in there. The outside proudly boasts a “Vans” store, which is tiny, and there is a “Doc Martens” shop, although nowadays Doc Martens are about as alternative as Disney, but there is nothing else. No sports shops, and no sports apparel. I was hoping that perhaps a shop that specialised in sport gear from around the world, perhaps some American sports gear. None of that. Most malls now have gadget shops, right? Not this one (unless you count a small Apple store). There was an outside section that I didn’t visit, but part of the “amazing design” of the place herds you up and down the floors of the mall, with limited opportunity to leave. I spent a long time just trying to get out of the place.

If you want to visit 100 crap high street stores, get on the Central Line, and head to Soho/Oxford Street/Regent Street, where they all have their flagship stores, have more room, and probably better products. You want something special? You aren’t going to get it here. Westfield is as boring and generic as every other mall in the south east, and overpriced to boot.

Money spent: £0.00

Tempted Purchases: £0.00

Planned Purchases: £0.00

Day in the mall: Priceless (literally)

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One Response to Westfield Stratford City

  1. zomeon says:

    They do have two sports shops…

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