I was browsing about the city, not shopping for much at all. I’d bought some underwear – that never goes to waste – and was poking about for something else to satisfy the consuming urge.

After dithering over a complicated tea infuser in one of the arcades off Pitt Street, I kept strolling along the arcade and chanced on a new Quality Opinion Supplies outlet. It was a bit of a surprise to see QOS now had a branch in the city centre where you’d think the passing trade might be too rushed for careful opinion shopping.

In fact, most of my opinions were getting a bit ragged and I’d been caught short a few times, so I thought I may as well go in and see what they had in stock. QOS is a reliable brand, and there are often specials on opinions that are still fairly fresh. The other good thing is that the staff don’t push you like they do at Opinion Express and If You Ask Me. Cogitations and Expatiations, renamed C+E, used to be good in the upper end of the market, before they sold out to Starbucks, who just needed to diversify, but who know and care nothing about the opinion business.

Anyway, I drifted inside. What opinions did I need?

I checked out the book section. There were interesting opinions on the merits of Booker winners over Nobels, so I bought a simple one of those. After the Jane Austen fad of the nineties, people knew there’d soon be unfavourable opinions on anyone that popular, but they were still holding off. I really didn’t want any, but I thought I’d better get a few negative views on a few of Austen’s works at least. You can sometimes just sense when you’ll be needing these things.

They wrapped my new opinions for me and asked me to pay at the main counter. I suppose that’s to keep you browsing, but with so much buying over the net these days you can’t blame a retailer for having a trick or two.

The music section didn’t have much. They had a run-out on negative Mozart opinions from about ten years ago, after the Mozart boom and all those open air concerts in the eighties. I’d already bought the opinion that Mozart is lemonade trying to be wine, and I’d pulled it out on a few occasions. It felt a little worn, that opinion, especially as I don’t mind listening to his music. I asked the lady at the counter if she had any new Mozart opinions, and she said there was nothing definite in stock or on order. Mozart is in opinion limbo, so I passed on him. There were some opinions on Miles Davis. Though I never listen to his stuff, I thought I should have a few opinions on someone so indisputably cool and major, so I picked up a few of those.

I brushed past the politics counter. A few years back you could buy hot opinions on Bush and Obama, now an opinion on either would take you nowhere. A young hipster with a plummy voice was buying an opinion that political opinion was futile. He wanted to take it to the Ironists’ Ball. I thought about it, but none of my friends are that ironical. If I bought it, an anti-opinion opinion would just sit in a drawer going stale. In fact, I’ve since bought an opinion that the irony thing is presently overdone.

On the way to the main counter to pay, I passed by the climate section. I really didn’t think I needed much, all my current climate opinions were fairly good performers in most conversations and encounters. Then I remembered that with some recent changes in weather I’d had a few problems, so I thought it better to get some fresh stuff if they had it.

The young fellow serving in Climate told me that there was now a shift to emphasising extreme weather over tangible warming. Climate science was as settled as it ever was, but, after floods in Australia and blizzards in the Northern Hemisphere, there had been some adjustments. So, the science was settled, but differently settled. I liked the nuanced way he presented the opinions, so I bought a few. Just on an impulse, in their kids section, I picked up Little Bindi’s Opinions on Overpopulation, a gift for my niece. I could have just copied my own opinions and given them to her, but these were charmingly wrapped; and I think it’s nice if children can receive their very own opinions.

I was just about to pay at the front counter when I passed a promotion table, where a young girl was selling fresh opinions on Judaism. She smiled very pleasantly, yet without pushiness, so I decided to check out her stock. When I told her I’d been the owner of opinions opposed to Zionism and Israel’s expansion for years, she was impressed, especially when I mentioned that I’d bought most of my stash at QOS. Then she asked if I was interested in a new product which might go beyond what I had previously purchased.

I was quick to point out that I was a QOS customer of long standing because I could be sure that there would be no race or gender problems with any of their products. She was quick to respond – in a non-argumentative tone – that the owners of QOS and the owner of the particular franchise were all Jews, and that there would be no hazard of racism-infected opinion in any QOS store.

So I asked to see the latest opinions from the promotion. She explained to me that while all religions had what she called exclusivist elements, Judaism, as religion and philosophy, was legalistic/materialistic in the extreme, which separated it from other spiritual belief systems. This unique character had a pronounced isolating effect which explained Jewish apartness and a certain incompatibility with gentile attitudes and institutions.  It all seemed to make sense, and the sales lady had been very pleasant and helpful. I added the new opinions to my check-out basket.

When I stepped out on to the street, I noticed a crowd milling about a chocolate shop I liked to visit, just across the way. There were demonstrators with placards, shouting, chanting, customers being jostled. On passing nearer, I saw a bloody looking Star of David smeared in red paint on the front window.

Immediately, I thought of the opinions I had just bought, and decided to return them.

When I approached the lady who had sold me the opinions she was busy for a while with a new customer. When she was at last able to serve me, I explained what I had seen over the road, and asked if I could return the opinions.

The young sales lady said she had heard of certain difficulties involving the chocolate shop, but all of that had nothing to do with the opinions I had just bought. Most of the people rioting in the street, while very sincere, had bought their opinions in Red Rag and Aryan Storm – even though the two suppliers carried completely different stock.

I insisted on returning the opinions, still unused, and the young lady asked me to wait while she fetched the owner from out the back. The owner was an older lady of evident Middle European origin who explained to me that it was not normal to give refunds on specials or promotions. She asked for my reasons. When I again explained what I had seen just outside the shop, she told me that she herself was Jewish and that QOS was a Jewish business. The opinions I had bought did not reflect in any negative way on educated and liberal-minded Jews like herself. If people acting on opinions bought elsewhere behaved in an injurious or abusive manner it was either because their opinions were defective or they were provoked to the point where opinions did not matter. The chocolate shop was, after all, a supplier to the Israeli military.

Just as I was about to insist again, a brick crashed through the plate glass. The young girl who had served me received a cut to her forearm, while the older lady ducked down under the counter. A red smear of paint was appearing on the area of glass that had not been broken.


After the police arrived and the crowd dispersed a little, I was finally offered a full refund by the owner of the franchise. QOS no longer seems to stock those opinions, though perhaps they are kept out the back or in-warehouse.


About mosomoso

Growing moso bamboo on the mid-coast of NSW, Australia.
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  1. Joe's World {Progressive Evolution} says:

    There is very little science that is actual facts.
    Much of it is wrapped around the authors opinions and suppositions.

    To venture into the understanding of our planet is a complexity 100 times more diversified than our current crop of followers(scientists) can grasp.
    The story of our planet is vastly different from what models tell us.
    Darwin ONLY hit a small portion of a much greater complex issue of evolution.
    Evolving also changes the complexity over vast generations.

    Simple economics changed into the monster of today…

  2. mosomoso says:

    Yes, Joe, there may be a bit to know yet. But sssh…

  3. Beth Cooper says:

    I like this, mosomoso and it’s useful infomation. I usually pick up
    me opinions from radio talk back if I’m able ter stay awake,but fer
    every 2 or 3 opinions I can use, there are others I find jest a teeny
    weeny bit boring. But a retail outlet, one stop shop fer current
    political opinions, sciency stuff, literature, music, such a time saver!
    And yer can go back next month if the wind’s changin’… yer always
    informed, off the peg so ter speak, and in the swim socially. I must
    find out if we have an outlet in Melbourne.

    • mosomoso says:

      Well, Beth, they say the shopping in Melbourne is the best in Australia. (Sydney’s weather allows other activities.) There’s no excuse for being caught short without a new season St Kilda scarf or a jaunty little opinion on climate.

  4. Beth Cooper says:

    mosomoso, as yu’ve said previously yew didn’t mind me
    posting from here, I posted this on Climate Etc ‘open
    thread’ 26.3.13@7.58 am, in response to a comment
    there. Hope that’s OK.

  5. John says:

    Fine little story. Related to this, you write in another place:

    “The method: Always refer to any contradiction as a “straw man” and describe all contrary evidence as “cherry picked”. Take a general attitude of lofty amusement and remember your hipster irony!”

    Is that from a manual or something?

    • mosomoso says:

      Glad you enjoyed the story, John. Hard to believe that the blockading and boycotting of Israeli-owned chocolate shops actually occurred here in Australia not that long ago.

      Expressions like “straw man” and “cherry picked” must be in some clever persons’ manual. They’ve almost become automated responses to all disagreement or criticism. They’re not doing much for common communication.

      Hey, thanks for popping in.


      • John says:

        I was thinking, that maybe the method was described in Mao’s Little Red or in a manual by http://www.campaigncc.org/ or something similar!? I see individuals ‘debating’ climate using this method again and again.

        Incredible about the chocolate shops. What do we do? Maybe this is a way:

  6. mosomoso says:

    I tried to measure my IQ once but stopped when it was getting embarrassing. I have trouble with keeping tomato stakes upright, counting change, that sort of thing…But I’ve never been tempted by conformity of opinion, so one corner of the brain must be ticking nicely.

    You know, John, I’ve finally mastered a home-made hot choc that’s as bomb-like as a Max Brenner brew. If someone wants to send the Bald Guy out of biz they can always come up with a hot choc that’s better and cheaper, then find ways to market and franchise it across the world.

    But that might be a touch harder than picketing!

  7. Beth Cooper says:

    But … but … that’s compatishun!

  8. mosomoso says:

    Compatishun is everywhere. Even among poets, we see rivalry between the rural lyrics of the serf and the epigrammatic jabs of one, Kim.

    Compatishun suh-stayns culchur.

  9. Beth Cooper says:

    KIm non-pareil I love. Kim who said he/she? wrote ter poke fun at guilt
    and the sacrifice of virgins ) was one of the reasons I posted on Climate
    Etc anf fer those reasons. Someone once asked how another poster
    could know kim’s gender and Kim responed, ‘because he’s seen me with
    my software off.’ lol

    rural lyrics of the serf …not bad mosomoso.

  10. Beth Cooper says:

    Re the chocolate shop in yer fine story, mosomoso.I read an article
    in The Australian, 7//5, on issue re targetting Israel by boycotting
    products and people with Israeli connections.

    Not only does this have connotations of 1933 Nazi attacks on Jewish
    shops, it would alsomean boycotting many medicines necessary for
    sufferers of Diabetes AIDs, Strokes, Alzhheimers, Glaucoma, etc

    A boycot would include all Intel Pentium and Celeron computer
    processor chips removal from personal computers as well…
    Sometimes yer wonder about some of these supposedly bright
    Aca – demic acta – vists. )

  11. mosomoso says:

    Not to mention that an impoverished Israel means an even more impoverished Palestine and Middle East. Living in Sydney’s east I’ve been around Jews a lot and have never been shy of giving them the odd non-PC sledge. Now I’m careful, not because of PC but because I see a real threat growing. Hatred of Jews is self-loathing, simple as that. Being anti-Zionist has never been the same as hating Jews…but it’s a good step in that direction for a lot of people. When Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and even Lebanon were trying to get their slice, there was no tenderness over Palestine, and there wouldn’t be now if Jordan had extended its borders successfully in ’49. Nope. We are seeing full-on Jew hate, mixed in with good old envy of hard-won success.

    My, I’m ranting! I try not to be like that when I write stories. Maybe I should stick to stories.

  12. Beth Cooper says:

    The film Lawrence of Arabia only showed a part of the sorry saga
    after WW1 of deals, broken promises and changing alliances.
    Promises to Western Arab allies and the Balfour Declaration,
    and Palestine/ Israeli hotspot was conceived. ( A few years ago
    I read an interesting book by Maxwell Rodinson on its history.

  13. Beth Cooper says:

    Re quality opnions, mosomoso, i read the interchange between you and
    tonyb on Climate Etc. Agree about history records and weather that seems
    like ‘back to the sixties.’ I’ve been feeling it…Bring back those 60’s mini
    skirts, stove pipe pants and spikey hair do’s (and this time maybe the
    heavy overcoat.

  14. mosomoso says:

    And remember, don’t wear the mini-skirt with stove pipes. It’s one or t’other.

  15. Beth Cooper says:

    No stove pipes, Mini-skirts, yes, ) I received a few whistles in me day.
    These days in me ramblin’s beside one of the worlds great rivers I git
    around in tatters be-fitten a serf.

  16. Beth Cooper says:

    So yer’ve discovered yer part English. mosomoso?
    Suppose yer’ll be supportin’ faustino now re gardin’
    the English cricket team. Now that warrants a ‘lol’.

    • mosomoso says:

      Serf, I would not support the English cricket team if it sat in my lap. They are a pestilence within a pustulence…though their batting is quite strong at the moment.

  17. Beth Cooper says:

    Hmmm …still three fourth’s Irish inheritance I guess. Suppose yer don’t
    like Cromwell either?

  18. beththeserf says:

    I like this better than the meme-psych goin’ down at CE. Decision
    at least to buy, not opinions caught like influenza. Speakin’ of the
    supra natural I shall again endeavour to summon rain ter the Northern
    Rivers with song, incantay-shun and rain dance.
    Hope it rains soon, moso.

  19. beththeserf says:

    Oops! er… herewith:

    Heaped storm clouds accumulating
    on mountain ranges now changing
    from blue to indigo, ants moving
    to higher ground, a distant sound
    of kettle drum thunder taken up by
    a staccato frogs’ chorus and the first
    tentative drops of rain that pitter-pat
    on thirsty grass and … down it pelts,
    tempo presto e molto vivace …
    piercing the roots of leaning bamboo
    and grove of expectant trees with a
    loud hosanna of the highest or
    if not the highest, high enough!


  20. Beth Cooper says:

    Hmmm … Don’t know about the ‘tempo presto e molto vivace,’
    perhaps scrub the e and vivace at least. Thx fer new comment,
    up to 1575 views now.

  21. Beth Cooper says:

    Well the forecast is fer showers Saturday, I’ve done what I could,
    rain dance ‘n such. Wishin’ you and yer bamboo a much needed
    dousing moso. )

  22. Beth Cooper says:

    Why do I laugh? Well I note a few showers mid coast today,Toff, did they
    fall upon yr place beneath? If not guess I’ll haf’ta keep dancin’. (

  23. Beth Cooper says:

    Oh, I ‘ve jest noticed, a new story with a twist! I shall return tonight after
    ‘New Tricks’

  24. Beth Cooper says:

    ABC well-written–detecting-unsolved-crimes- program with great character acting,
    though sadly, one of the comic main characters, Brian,an eccentric with brilliant memory
    but minus social skills and coordination, rides a bike ) recently left the series.

    I reckon yer latest story would make a good TV film but would require a very good
    actor fer the landlord. The pub scenes, women and their shelled peas, would work
    so well, like those old comedy scenes the English excelled at, only Australian.

    • mosomoso says:

      ABC…aren’t they all communists, or some such thing? Nonetheless, I’ll catch an episode on your recommendation.

      I always think Richard Roxburgh should be cast in everything. Doesn’t seem the type for my landlord…but he can handle it.

      Glad you enjoyed.

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