With a bare concrete floor and industrial ventilation tubing running across the ceiling, it’s not the prettiest store. But if you set up a One Direction shop at Werribee Sewage Farm you could still expect an onslaught of pre-teen girls licking the walls.
Inside, the current five gods of non-threatening sexuality for the most hormonally-charged, obsessive and cashed-up people on the planet (teenage girls), gaze at you lovingly from the walls. ‘You are safe here,’ they seem to say. ‘Pray in peace, and leave your cares and parents’ money behind.’
It’s Wednesday lunchtime, so it’s relatively quiet with only a handful of people in the store at a time, mostly parents. The flat screen televisions display the boys jumping around and singing, but are switched on mute. The staff seem to be recovering during a rare lull.
“Crazy” is the word used by shopkeeper Michael to describe the pandemonium when the store opened at 9am on Saturday morning, which saw over three thousand people coming through on the first day.
“There was one girl who was camped outside from 8 o’clock in the morning on Friday and camped all the way through to make sure she was the first one through the doors,” Michael says. “I got to give it to her, ‘cause it was pissing down with rain. It’s lucky there was a little bit undercover, otherwise she would have been soaked, poor thing. But it was crazy, a lot of screaming girls, I thought my eardrums would bleed because of that high-pitched screaming.”
Remarkably, four days later the store is still standing. To be fair though, there’s not much to the shop itself. Essentially nothing more than a big merch stand, it looks like it’s been set up in five minutes and can be dissembled in the same time (a metaphor for any relevant boy band sensations?).
Although decorated with signed posters and live video footage, the main feature is one long table covered in a black cloth, spotted with around ten Eftpos machines. Behind the counter (aside from weary staff) is every single object on the planet that could possibly squeeze a print of One Direction on its surface – t-shirts, hoodies, key-rings, bags, books, badges, wristbands, compact mirrors, door hangers, stickers, touring programs, notepads – although the most spectacular items in stock are the One Direction dolls.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but only Harry and Zayn are left. Zayn looks a lot like repainted Kens that didn’t sell in the 90s, while Harry looks like it might come alive and strangle your pets in the night.
The best store ever/blight on the planet will only last until May 27th, after which it will move on to the next Australian state/unsuspecting victim.