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A touch of retail therapy in the Cabrini Gift Shop

Date: 05/12/2012

“I’m in here every week, at the moment and I always buy something to cheer myself up” – a customer who is experiencing a difficult time in her life.

“A great end to the day” – a customer buying herself a gift after receiving good test results.

“I need a chocolate fix – a packet of chocolate raspberries” – staff member, late on a Friday afternoon.

“The Gift Shop is often the heart of the hospital” – medical specialist who has rooms at Cabrini

The Cabrini Gift Shop brings a touch of everyday life to many people at Cabrini Malvern, whether they are patients, visitors or staff. Customers come into the shop for different reasons, often bearing different burdens – they can be happy, sad, worried or feeling overwhelmed. They come from different generations too, including the Builders, the Babyboomers, Generation X and Generation Y. These customers have a wide range of requirements that often call for special service and individual consideration.

The term ‘retail therapy’ came into use in the 1980s. While it has been the subject of much analysis, shopping is indeed thought to be a reliever of stress – that is, it could make you feel better. For women in particular, who are estimated to make up to 80 per cent of all purchases, shopping is a customary, pleasurable pastime.

The Cabrini Gift Shop has been at the heart of Cabrini Malvern for 13 years. Initially established by Sr Irma Lunghi MSC (who worked at Cabrini 1958-2008) and staffed by volunteers, it seeks to provide a dynamic retail outlet which stocks an eclectic array of items, from essentials such as nightwear to indulgences such as jewellery, as well as household gifts and the traditional hospital offerings such as chocolates, flowers and cards. The shop is staffed by a full-time manager, one part-time employee and many volunteers. They all work to provide a welcoming atmosphere, good service and an escape from the medical dimensions of many people’s lives.

It is here interaction plays a major role, which extends to customers interacting with one another. There is a deeper dimension to the shop’s community service with all profits contributed to charitable projects supported by Cabrini’s social outreach program.

“There seems to be positive consequences to buying oneself a small treat: one does feel better,” a study published the USA Journal of Psychology and Marketing in June 2011 concluded. 

If the outcome for customers of the Cabrini Gift Shop is the same as the study indicates, with the proceeds from such purchases contributed to a wide range of worthy causes, the Cabrini Gift Shop undoubtedly fulfils an important role.

The Cabrini Gift Shop is located on the ground floor at Cabrini Malvern, 183 Wattletree Road Malvern (ph 9508 1691). It is open on weekdays from 9.30 am-5 pm. Gift wrapping is available.