Chief Trading Post – the Salvador Dali of Garden Centres

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Continuing our occasional series on shops and shopping, Brit takes us to a rather unusual ‘garden centre’…

The best shop in the Bristol area, and by extension the world, is Chief Trading Post, in Oldland Common. It is, I suppose, a Garden Centre; but Chief Trading Post is a ‘Garden Centre’ in the sense that Salvador Dali is a ‘landscape painter’.

It consists of a series of vast greenhouses, some of which contain heaped junk, rejects and broken things; and some of which (and the boundaries are fuzzy) contain many hundreds of items for sale, grouped into categories all of which seem to be ‘Misc’.

There is also a very good café. The food and drink is relatively normal but the seating is not. For example, inside the main building we have The Satanic Table:

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And then just outside in the greenhouse is a bewildering range of themed seating, such as the giant clay pot containing circular benches and a table, and guarded by this sort of African warrior…

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…or this one, below, which we call the ‘Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Table’, for the very good reason that next to it is a model of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a big wobbly head. Above the table is a big blue glass ball, a birdy thing and a heater with the sign: “Touch Button Every Twenty Minutes For Continuous Heat.”

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You can buy many things at Chief Trading Post. Here are a just a few:

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A cabinet, some dusty glass bottles and bowls, cartwheels, a large Hindu frieze, some windchimes.

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A variety of rocking horses.

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A full-size tart in bronze, reclining (price £12,312.86 exactly).

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A frightening statue.

You can see many more items for sale at Chief Trading Post – including a 5-foot winking Jeff Koons-style Manga boy, an obscene CD rack and a handful of dust and pebbles – on my old Think of England blog.

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About Author Profile: Brit

'Brit' is the blogging name of Andrew Nixon, a writer and publisher who lives in Bristol. He is the editor and co-founder of The Dabbler.

8 thoughts on “Chief Trading Post – the Salvador Dali of Garden Centres

  1. wormstir@gmail.com'
    June 5, 2013 at 09:52

    Since reading about this on the original think of england blog I have been saving up and am only a few hundred pounds short of finally claiming the full size tart in bronze

    • markcfdbailey@gmail.com'
      Recusant
      June 5, 2013 at 11:09

      What calculations, factors, taxes, etc., get you to a price tag of £12,312.86? Or does he(?) just ‘feel’ for the right figure?

      • wormstir@gmail.com'
        June 5, 2013 at 11:26

        I think mild insanity helps to conjour up such a ridiculous figure out of thin air

        normally you see strange prices like that occur when the company uses a fixed % mark up added to each item’s price in the store. In this case somewhere around 1000%

        • Brit
          June 5, 2013 at 21:30

          Yes I think mild insanity is the one.

    • Brit
      June 5, 2013 at 21:32

      I believe it’s still available. Obviously quite a slow market for bronze tarts costing in excess of twelve grand.

  2. mail@danielkalder.com'
    June 5, 2013 at 16:10

    I knew a sculptor once who calculated his fees according to the following formula:

    Calculate materials and time, multiply by 2 or 3 and then add a few zeroes.

  3. joerees08@gmail.com'
    Joey Joe Joe Jr.
    June 5, 2013 at 21:53

    Brilliant! Can you make Things You Can Buy At The Chief Trading Post a regular Dabbler feature?

    • Worm
      June 6, 2013 at 09:14

      ha! not such a bad idea

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