I thought that the term “The Race that Stops the Nation” was one of those exaggerated terms coined in a fit of patriotism, and then hastily taken up by every advertiser in the country.
But it’s TRUE!. It was my first Melbourne cup day where I haven’t been at school, and it was weird as. I was at work, the quietest day ever. There was a smallish rush at about 2:30 when some office people came to buy newspapers so they could do the sweeps. But that was it really.
I had my lunch break at 3. I walked out of the shop and into the centre, and it was as empty as it is at 9o’clock on a Sunday morning. There were four customers. The music over the centre switched to the radio coverage of the horse race and all the workers went to the doors of their shops to listen. The manager from Michel’s patisserie was huddled over his own personal stereo completely oblivious to the lady at the counter who wanted to buy cake. There were 5 workers in the travel agency huddled in a group clutching their betting slips while an unattended customer sat watching on.
Everything went back to normal after that – as normal as stuff can get with half the number of customers you usually get. We started packing up an hour early than normal. We served lots of tipsy people coming down from the hotel upstairs. There was nothing to do so I sat on the counter and started read Job. It is a good book.