Toby Young Toby Young

Status Anxiety | 6 December 2008

In a recession, head for the mall where you can buy seven Crunchies for £1.49

In a recession, head for the mall where you can buy seven Crunchies for £1.49

I was awestruck. As a long-term resident of West London, I had been looking forward to my first glimpse of this emporium, but it was even better than I imagined. I simply had no idea shopping centres could be this good. From now on there would be no need to go anywhere else. It was the answer to all my prayers.

I am not talking about Westfield, obviously, but the Oaks Shopping Centre in Acton. The new £3 billion retail park in Shepherd’s Bush may boast a branch of Tiffany, but the Oaks has a branch of Netto, the Danish-owned discount chain where you can buy a two-litre bottle of diet cola for 19p. If you cannot find what you’re looking for in Netto, you can try your luck in Poundstretcher, which offers a 16-piece dinner set for £9.99. It is credit crunch-tastic.

When I first moved to Acton a year ago, I was too snobbish to set foot in the Oaks, dismissing it as a retail substrata that even Kerry Katona would steer clear of. In fact, there is a branch of Iceland in the Oaks, the frozen food chain that Katona’s a spokesperson for. Having combed the aisles of Iceland, I now realise you can ‘party like a celeb’ for next to nothing. £10 will get you 12 mini chicken kievs, 15 crispy duck parcels and a 75-piece Tex Mex combo platter. All you need to is a 70cl bottle of Kasoff vodka to wash it all down (£7.79 from Netto).

The Oaks Shopping Centre is so ridiculously cheap I felt like buying everything in the place, but I soon learnt not to be too hasty.

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