As a minimalist, shopping doesn't rank high on my list of priorities however, I needed to buy Christmas gifts so the prospect of being driven around in a clean air-conditioned bus to several factory outlets offering heavily discounted goods was irresistible.
No driving, no parking worries, no carrying the merchandise – the bus driver would take care of that and our hostess would guide us through the maze of inner-city warehouses and show us where all the bargains could be had for as little as $1.00.
Our first stop was a book clearance store in Collingwood, after which we were set loose in nearby Smith Street with its bumper to bumper factory outlets and discount stores selling well-known brands. The group had a predetermined list of stores of their choice to attend that sold apparel, home wares and electrical goods. From each store the group would then receive a commission based on their total sales to go towards fundraising.
In order to visit all the stores of choice and nab the bargains, we had to be quick as some places can get very busy and each stopover has a time limit. But to sustain us, we were provided with refreshments on the bus and were entertained with free raffle prizes.
For lunch we were driven to a local restaurant for a good quality three-course set menu with beverages for only $20.00 each. The lunch option is not mandatory as some shopping tour groups choose to bring their own food.
Afterwards we made for an outlet selling Australian designer bags followed by a jewellery shop where I had to leave the group who proceeded to a chocolate shop and toy warehouse.