Archive | March, 2013

Getting Fleeced at THE EASTER SHOW

27 Mar

The Royal Easter FleeceI apologise if the title of this rant led you to believe that this is going to be a piece on the Agricultural side of the Easter Show. As a matter of fact, the Agricultural section of the show may be the only part that remains true to the show of yesteryear.

As I was walking past one of the agricultural marquees my niece asked me;

‘Uncle Johnny what is fleece?’

Hmmmm I thought.

(I am about to be one of those annoying writers that puts dictionary definitions in to make a point but I thought this was quite apt)





a. The coat of wool of a sheep or similar animal.

b. The yield of wool shorn from a sheep at one time.

c. To defraud of money or property; swindle.


In one definition, the Easter Show has finally been revealed. Like a freshly shorn sheep it has been exposed to the world as  ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’.  Ok ,Ok enough of the analogies and euphemisms.

The Easter Show has always been a bit of a rip off but now it has become a complete joke.

I will start with the rides. They sell tickets in bundles and you use these tickets to go on rides. Now they market the most expensive tickets (75 tickets for $70) as the best value (of course it is).

You walk in and soon discover that anything worth going on is 8 tickets and the crappy stuff is 6 tickets. This means the kids can go on about 4 rides each for $70. Awesome! The kicker is you then have to accompany them on the ride if they don’t meet the height restriction. There goes another 8 tickets. In one ride we did 24 tickets. I stupidly thought that a parent or guardian would ride for free if they had to accompany a minor. No way, it wouldn’t be the Easter Show without the fist. Just like a good Easter egg hunt you have to search around the Show and see how many hidden charges you can find.

So within 20 minutes your allotment of tickets are gone, you have to rebuy and you find yourself $140 down. That’s just on rides!

All for the experience of jumping on a shitty looking ride that is manned by a bloke who has just had a shot of methadone to subdue the cravings. If I wanted this experience I would just pop the kids in the car and drive like a maniac through the streets of Campbelltown. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure the guy that was running the ‘crazy spinning coaster’ has a regular spot at the lights on the corner of Parramatta rd and Liverpool rd.

It all makes sense now.

Every time he cleaned my windshield he would lean in, check my seatbelt tension and tell me to keep my arms and hands inside the vehicle. I always found that strange until now.

Apart from this you have to deal with the spruikers trying to get you play their rigged games. It has reached an all new level. It’s like walking through Kings Cross where they are trying to lure you into strip clubs. The only difference is the strip club is probably cleaner.

At one stage we were walking through the show and this man stumbled up to us. Missing his front teeth and looking disheveled I took pity on him. Clearly homeless, I handed him the change I had in my pocket.

He looked at me and demanded another dollar.

I thought, wow this bloke is a bit pushy but he looks like he needs it more than me. I searched my pockets and found a dollar. I went to walk away, happy I had helped the less fortunate, only to be stopped by him once again. He handed me an oversized mallet and said ‘top hit wins a prize’. This guy actually worked on one of the games.

Embarrassed, I made a poor attempt, grabbed the kids and scurried away.

Walking through the games section was like being on the set of the Walking Dead. Expressionless looking people, missing teeth and looking for victims.

With the sun beating down and few trees in sight I longed for days of the Moore Park Easter Show. Homebush is so sterile.  It is soulless. You know you are here to be churned through and spat out the other side. In Moore Park there was a sense of history and nostalgia. In Homebush it’s baron and cold.

Hot and bothered we stopped for Lemonade.  $5 for a small cup.  As he filled the cup ¾ full of ice I asked for no ice in the second cup.

I was met with,

‘Oh sorry sir we must put ice in’.

I was sent reeling from that knocked out punch.

What? I said

‘We must put ice in the cup’, he said again.

“Listen mate I know your boss told you to fill the cup with ice so you don’t use as much lemonade but I am paying for a cup of lemonade not for a cup of ice.”

This went back and forth until he caved. Jesus, it was like trying get a release from my Vodafone contract, only harder. Shitty service, no coverage and not getting what I paid for. It was all too familiar.

I walked away and considered that a win and yet I still paid $10 for 1 ½ cups of small lemonade.

As the walking dead began to close in and the kids focus started to wane we headed for the biggest fraud the Easter Show is renowned for… the show bag section.

Actually the show bag section is so bad that a nickname spawned from it and has cemented itself in Aussie vernacular. Blokes that go by the name ‘showbags or showie’ usually are given this nickname because they are ‘full of shit’.

The showbag section has always been a bit pricey but for children it is like a poker machine den to a gambling addict. Bells, whistles, colours and games that excite the senses and lure them into a purchase. I hadn’t been to the show in over 10 years but I have noticed a massive decline in the quality of show bags. The ‘Snake’s Alive’ bag is half of what It used to be and double the price and the ‘The Greatest Show Bag In The World isn’t even the greatest show bag in its section. But it became apparent to me just how much the showbags have slipped when I saw the gag bag. One of my staples when I was a kid but when I Iooked at the gags and the quality I was shocked.   I noticed the supposed fake dog poo. It was the size of a 50 cent piece, had square edges and looked like a piece of Cadbury’s chocolate. If I saw that placed in front of me I would be more inclined to taste it than be shocked by it.

The fake dog poo of days gone by actually looked real and would always fool unsuspecting adults. It also had a foul odour to it but I am not sure whether this was intentional and or it was some toxic byproduct from the chemical in the plastic. Never the less it worked.

This was my final straw. You can’t even get a good piece of shit at the Easter Show anymore! We gathered our things and headed for the exit.  The final goodbye was the $20 dollars for parking. I put my credit card in the machine but it wouldn’t accept it, thoughts flooded into my head;

Maybe I hadn’t spent enough to be released from the show yet or was this a result of the great lemonade debate but just as I was losing all hope the gate swung open and I made my escape.

As I drove home happy to leave the show behind and $450 lighter in my pocket, my niece said from the back of the car,

‘That was the greatest day of my life so far’.

A bitter sweet moment as reluctant acceptance washed over me.

I guess I will be seeing you again Easter Show and we will see what depths you can sink to next year.

Happy Easter Everybody!


Here is a list of the top ten bags and the ridiculous prices

  1. Sesame Street $25.00
  2. Moshi Backpack $25.00
  3. Cadbury – Big Bite $10.00
  4. Dora The Explorer #1 $25.00
  5. Angry Birds Blue $25.00
  6. Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure $22.00
  7. Disney Princess $25.00
  8. Coca-Cola Back Pack $25.00
  9. Bertie Beetle Bonanza $10.00
  10. Triple M $20.00