Who are we, Australia?

There’s no other store like David Jones, the slogan goes. The joke in our family has always been that there is; there’s Myer. But David Jones did something courageous recently and it earned them my loyalty.

I grew up in a Myer family after my father had a fight with David Jones. He took our pressure cooker in for repairs. I remember the pressure cooker; we used to jump up and down in the kitchen to make it hiss. Turns out this breaks them. The pressure cooker disappeared from the David Jones counter – where my father had left it with a note, not wanting to wait – and when Dad asked for a replacement pressure cooker, David Jones said we’d have to pay. They actually said they thought someone stole our pressure cooker.

My father had to tell my mother the truth; not only had he failed to secure the repairs but the pressure cooker was gone. Never one to miss an opportunity to cut off his own nose to spite his face, he escalated immediately, mailing David Jones his account card snipped in two. When they subsequently offered to give us a new pressure cooker, Dad refused them. We never shopped at David Jones again, as my mother was fond of telling people who came to our house possibly expecting pressured-cooked food and instead getting shop-bought. We never got a new pressure cooker either, as I recall.

When my son was tiny, I often went to Toowong Village to watch people who were not punch-drunk with tiredness going about their days.  The parents’ room at David Jones, where you could change a nappy, breastfeed peacefully and, let’s face it, snooze in the comfy chairs, restored my faith in the store. I’m pretty sure I kept them in business because I bought so many Bonds’ jumpsuits there.

David Jones has named former AFL champion and Australian of the Year Adam Goodes one of its brand ambassadors. I don’t know what that means but if you ever wondered whether the booing of Goodes on the field was racially motivated, the bitter-hearted folk who went on to vilify him on social media after his appointment have shown us there are miles to go before some Australians understand that our only positive future lies in accepting the harms done to indigenous peoples and treating our fellows with more than a modicum of kindness.

I’m glad that popular indigenous voices – Goodes, musician Gurrumul and actress Miranda Tapsell – are telling their truths now, and a shopping icon is willing to stand up and be counted. There really is no other store like David Jones. They also have great Christmas decorations. See you there!