Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Mall Train

Why isn't there more shopping on trains?
  [vote for,

The festive season is nearly upon us, and I am girding my loins for a 7-hour (ish) train journey from the chill slopes of Scotland to the damp hills of Devon, to go see my relatives. Now I have done all my Christmas shopping (well done moom), so I will be somewhat laden down. However, I really need a haircut before I go, and I'm not going to get time.

There are obvious drawbacks with combining train travel and hairdressing, so I'm not going down that path. But it did get me thinking: when you fly somewhere, in a vehicle (the plane) where weight is jealously monitored and fretted over, they somehow always find room for loads of crap which they try and sell to you as you rattle over the Irish Sea. But on a train, which is much bigger and nobody really cares how much it weighs, can you buy perfume? Or little models of trains? Or an electric banana straightener? You cannot. Not on any train I've been on, anyway. What's going on there?

So I propose a series of 'Mall Carriages'. Each one has a different selection of merchandise, and as the journey continues, they are occasionally swapped so you can visit a different mall. So, for example, from Edinburgh to Preston I could browse the bookshop, maybe buy a packet of playing cards for later. Then, from Preston to Birmingham, I could be in the Health and Beauty shop - get a manicure, maybe, if I'm feeling crazy. Finally, from Birmingham to Plymouth, I could browse for a new pair of jeans and a tie for when we go to Aunty Myrtle's (only found out we were going 'coz I got a text as we went past Crewe).

Of course, this would be a logistical nightmare, and would require special Shopping Coordination Wizards in the rail traffic control centres. However, to reduce the problem, I'd suggest simply not telling everyone what shops they're going to get, or even if they're gonna get one at all. Maybe each mall carriage could stock the same basic range (trousers to replace the ones the baby in the next seat has thrown up over, for instance), but beyond that, it's pot luck. Could be remote-control cars, could be organic jam. Just don't know.

Long train journeys are pretty boring, anyway, and it would be great to be able to relieve the boredom with manic splurges of impulse buying.

moomintroll, Dec 21 2005

(?) http://www.geocitie...915/inventions.html [DesertFox, Dec 21 2005]

For [froglet] http://www.moomin.fi/moomin.htm
I loved the books when I was little. And I kinda like the word. Plus, I'm white and I have a big nose. [moomintroll, Dec 21 2005]


       choo, choo...jimmy choo choo
po, Dec 21 2005

       [po], you just made me cry with laughter.
moomintroll, Dec 21 2005

       had me in stiches [moom].   

       "where's my birthday present?". "sorry love, train was late".
rainbow, Dec 21 2005

       Ha! //Electric banana straightener// I just mentioned that somewhere.   

       Comes from a list of useless inventions. <linkie>
DesertFox, Dec 21 2005

       Now this would be cool.   

       Is it Moom in troll? Or Moo mint roll? Or maybe Mo o mint roll?   

       Sorry, just curious...
froglet, Dec 21 2005

       I rode Amtrak a couple of years ago from Toledo to Croton-on-Hudson, and all they had were these crappy little microwavable burgers in the Commissary car.   

       This is a huge step up. [+]
shapu, Dec 21 2005

       [DF]: yeah, I stole that from you ;)   

       Edit: [froglet], Okay, finally found a proper moomin site (took a bit of doing, though). Here's a quick quote, though: "A Moomintroll is small and shy and fat, and has a Moominpappa and a Moominmamma. Moomins live in the forests of Finland. They like sunshine and sleep right through the winter. The snow falls and falls and falls where they live, until their houses look like great snowballs. But when spring comes, up they jump...."   

       The books are for kids, but they have an edge of whimsy to them that always appealed to me when I was little. Not that I knew what whimsy was. Just liked it.
moomintroll, Dec 21 2005

       Are you Finnished? I used to love them on TV too.
neilp, Dec 21 2005

       not as good as Noggin the Nog....any other fans out there ?
xenzag, Dec 22 2005

       Entire loaf for this idea.   

       train stations usually just have the same string of shops: Tie Rack, a massively overpriced Sainsburys metro, a news stand with only foreign papers on and a newsagent with a cadbury's obsession. I'd love a huge shopping carriage. And I empathise with the train journey - from Cheshire to Glasgow loses the novelty after the Lake District and it seems to take forever to get over the border.
rubyminky, Dec 23 2005

       Instead of "SKY MALL" Have "Rail mall"
Antegrity, Dec 24 2005

       Very consumerist. The Americans would love it.
Honduras, Dec 24 2005

       I have to agree with [rubyminky], most stations have exactly the same thing, to a greater or lesser degree.   

       But my burning question is this:
How is it that Tie Rack manages to stay afloat? I've never actually seen anyone buy anything from Tie Rack, so it must be selling something, just that I can't seem to see the exchange taking place...
froglet, Dec 24 2005

       I think it will be easy yo do. just take one of the cars and convert the compartments into shops.
FireElf, Jul 18 2006

       Nice idea - let's put it into practice after we've made trains that keep to time and don't crash.
wagster, Jul 18 2006

       every country but the UK has done that.
FireElf, Jul 26 2006


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