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Celia Capace - Shoppers

The brothel industry in Australia has people who are known as ‘shoppers’. These folks show up intermittently with miscellaneous goods that are rumoured to have fallen off the back of a truck. Some who show up are legitimate in their business but most are not. I was dubious of this practice and, at first, uncomfortable with buying shady goods but soon found myself a willing client. The prices were such bargains. Perfume, make-up, grooming products, DVD’s, clothing, jewellery and a treasure trove of female accessory products were available all in their original unopened casings. It was obvious these goods were department store quality.

I was able to do all my Christmas shopping without leaving work. A huge advantage considering how much I hated the chaos and frenzy of shopping malls the fortnight before Christmas. There is a two-fold advantage for sex workers in shopping via this means. Not only are they able to avoid the aforementioned madness of Christmas shopping but they also love the distraction from sitting in a lounge waiting for bookings. After spending money they would often choose to work longer, so a plus to the numbers (choice) on shift.

The shoppers brought in female-orientated goods as we were predominantly female staff. A polite young man came in on my shift one night and introduced himself as Mark. He had brochures for a popular sports-wear brand. At last, a range of Christmas gifts I could buy for males in my family! I could choose the clothing I wanted from a catalogue and payment terms were cash on delivery, no up-front cost and reduced risk of being ripped off. Mark and I chatted easily and I found out he was married with a young child.

I ordered a number of items but Mark did not return with the goods on the date promised. I wasn’t too fussed as payment on delivery was the deal. Mark showed up a couple of weeks later wondering if I was still interested. Christmas was still a month away and I was relieved to see him as males are not easy to buy for. There was an all-weather jacket I really wanted for my fishing-obsessed father, plus a couple of other items for the males in my family.

I asked him what had been the delay and he responded he spent some time in prison for being apprehended with stolen goods. I’m surprised and ask what he stole. He looks at me amused and says “have a guess”. I’m still somewhat confused. I figured it couldn't be the sports-wear goods as he had brochures and a catalogue I was able to order from.

“How does one manage such a complicated heist”, I asked him.

He looked at me as if I was a dumb blonde. “You ever hear of something called a warehouse?” he responds. That had never occurred to me. I really thought he was legit.  I asked him if it was wise that he was continuing to dabble in unlawful enterprises considering he’d only recently been released from prison.

“I’ve got a wife and kid to support and it’s Christmas soon. We still good to go?”, was his response. 

I thought about it for two seconds and concluded 'fair enough'. The prices were too good to resist.  “It’s your neck on the line and I have no clue who you are if anyone asks. Let’s do it”.


Footnote: This blog is a fiction piece. I have never been a willing party to receiving or handling stolen goods. Does anyone know if there’s a statute of limitations for committing such an offence? Asking for a friend.