If I were to stop someone in the street and ask them, "What would you consider to be reasonable accessories to bring with you on a shopping trip to a large clothing store?," I could expect to receive a variety of responses. Assuming, that my general appearance - which has variously been described as 'off-putting' and 'hauntingly insidious' - coupled with the fact that I yelled this question at them without any prior warning, didn't result in me being maced in the initial fear and confusion, I'm sure that a repeated refrain would emerge. Many people would perhaps cite some sort of shopping or tote bag as a prerequisite, while others - perhaps anticipating a longer day out - may advise bringing some snacks to help stave off hunger while perusing the clothing racks.
However, while these may be good and reasonable answers for any traditional shopping trip, the fact that Penneys have opened their largest ever store - spanning some 160,000sq ft - has significantly changed things. The scale of this store, opened in Birmingham is simply staggering. Given the sprawling cavernous expanse that it contains within, spread across five gargantuan stories, the word 'trip' seems unsuitable to describe a visit to the store, 'expedition' would be more apt. Consequently, it sounds as if it would be almost negligent to enter onto the premises, equipped so feebly as if you were going for a simple conventional shopping trip. Given the likelihood of becoming lost in a among a labyrinth of incredibly cheap, sloganed t-shirts, in amongst the standard fare one would bring on a shopping trip, it seems advisable to also pack some basic survival equipment. Nothing too major, perhaps just a flare, a large bowie knife - to fend off any large predators that may target you at nightfall between the aisles - and some light rope so that you may lash together a rudimentary shelter from a display stand of discounted parka jackets.
The mammoth store officially opened its doors today to about 300 shoppers who had amassed for the grand opening. Some of them had been waiting outside since 6am, a truly mind-boggling endeavour. Within the vast confines of this shop are a multiplicity of other features and sub-venues. There are three food venues, including a Disney café - quite what this would entail beyond just some simple artwork in the café itself is beyond this writer, and, lacking the funds, means and sense of journalistic responsibility to go to Birmingham to find this out, we must content ourselves for it to remain a mystery.
Given the plethora of cross-branded products that Penneys - who operate under the name 'Primark' in the UK - have released in recent years they have incorporated specific sections in the shop for these. There will be a Disney shopping area as well as a Hogwarts Wizarding World section. Thrilling stuff all round.
So, if you are a fan of impressively cheap clothes housed for sale in essentially an aerodrome, then why not head over to Birmingham to experience this leviathan store yourself?