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It's coming up to Melbourne Cup time, and it got me thinking. I asked Jillian if she had heard of 'buying on appro'?
She said she remembered her parents talking about it. Wasn't sure if they ever did it - but yeah the concept was known to her.
Seems that what used to happen was, in the olden days, you could buy something for a small deposit – probably about 10% of the price and take it home. Things like washing machines were popular in my youth, since many people back then did their washing in a copper. Now that's a story for another time.
When you had the unit at your place you could use it for a bit (time usually depending on the item and the price paid) and if you didn't like it you could return it. You then received all your deposit back. The system could be used for almost any non-consumable product.
Item had to be in resalable condition when returned, of course.
Why do we remember appro at this time? Well it has been known that a number of the Melbourne ladies have purchased hats and fascinators, even complete outfits that they will never wear again so that they can make a huge splash at the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Not cool or nice but I'm told it happens. Hence the link in my fevered brain.
Jillian at The Cup
Jillian remembered going to the Melbourne Cup - the main race day - once many years ago with a couple of friends.
They dressed up in all sorts of finery, top hats and frock coats for the gentlemen and many layered long chiffon dresses for the ladies. Hair in ringlets and things like that.
“It wasn't an attempt to follow a fashion style or time in history – just a way to dress up with what we had or could get hold of easily”, she said. “The clothes and shoes etc didn't have to match or anything. We were just out for a good time and this seemed like the way to do it. You couldn't really wear high heels either as we had to stay within the car park area or the public lawns near the tote boards and the ground was often soft there at that time of year.”
We had Champagne (we were still allowed to call it that back then) which we poured from a china teapot into Royal Albert Tea Cups and drank with pinky fingers afloat.
“Don't ask, she hurried on, when it became obvious I was going to. “I have no idea why we did that. One of the guys made that decision.”
“We ate little patti-pan cakes that we had baked the day before. Now they are all the rage, of course and called cup cakes. Who'd have known? Quite appropriate don't you think? We were trail blazers back then.”
Oh and we hired a friend's horse and cart to take us there. We were really going over the top.”
“I do remember”, she said, “waiting for about 4 hours in a queue of very drunk patrons to get a taxi home. It was horrendous. In many cases the women were the worst. Brings out the beast in people I reckon. Freezing cold, loads of stuff to carry and very tired. Never did it again. Haven't been to The Melbourne Cup since. Can't imagine ever feeling the urge.” #ourjillian