Saturday, 4 December 2010

Days Out in Devon: Trago Mills

I've been procrastinating about writing about Trago Mills,  since starting my blog.  As the biggest retailer in our village it conjures  up mixed emotions.   When I worked as a tax consultant nigh on twenty years ago I became aware of a legal case where the company were contending that its workers were self employed thus denying them benefits such as annual leave, sick pay and the like.  This was not conducive to warm and fuzzy feelings.  I continue to be  uncomfortable with the in-store promotion of the UK Independence Party.  Surely party politics and shopping don't mix?   And many of us remember  the dodgy adverts in the local press containing unappealing opinions for those who view life with a leftish slant.

But, sticking to my mantra,  things are not black and white.   One of the mums I know who is an employee at the store speaks highly about the way that staff are treated.  There is good interaction with local community groups who are given permission to publicise events or fundraise on site.  And the place represents good value for money from a retail and entertainment perspective.  For example, the leisure park has no admission charge and the pay per go attractions are reasonably priced, particularly the annual trips to see Santa .

For £4.50 an adult and a child can take a ride on a miniature railway to Santa's grotto. On the journey there there are Chrismas puddings to count and creatures to spot (look out for the crocodile and the dinosaur). Once at their destination, they are welcomed by elves and receive a gift from the main man of Christmas cheer himself. This is far superior to many of the presents offered at similar attractions where Santa's meeting place seems to amount to no more than a sparkly broom cupbard!    To perk things for the adults there's a hot mince pies from the snack kiosk near the railway station included in the ticket price!

Personally, I don't understand the hordes who visit Trago Mills from afar for a special day out.  It's essentially just a big shop with bells and whistles which gets far too crowded during holidays and at weekends.  But I'm glad that  it, and the  Coop supermarket which is also on site, are within walking distance of my doorstep to supplement the excellent village shops and post office in our parish.

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