I know. That sounds stupid. But you, the overseas reader, have no fucking idea how ridiculous umbrellas are in this country. Actually, there are no umbrellas in Australia, because by definition an umbrella is supposed to protect you from the rain. What we have in Australia are shitty “umbrellas”. They look and feel like umbrellas, but they do not really protect you from the rain. At all. Let me explain.
Umbrellas are usually held in your hand and form a protective cover over your head. Umbrellas in Australia are usually not held in hand, but rather most often broken and shoved into a rubbish bin (trash can) on the street. When it rains in Sydney, it rains hard. A Seattle-style drizzle is rare here. Rain here is usually a Miami style downpour. You would think that manufacturers would create and sell umbrellas that can withstand gusty winds and heavy rains, but they don’t. The umbrellas here are nearly always flimsy. All it takes is one gust of wind to blow your umbrella inside out. I’m not taking about hurricane force winds here. Just a simple gust – not even that strong – will turn your umbrella into a bucket. Another gentle gust a few seconds later will break the wiring apart or simply bend it out of shape. In my world, a gust of wind cannot easily bend metal, but apparently my world and Australia don’t overlap on this matter.
After a heavy rain, you walk around the city and you’ll find broken umbrellas littered all over – in the gutter, on the sidewalk, and in so many rubbish bins. I don’t remember having to constantly buy new umbrellas in the States, and my umbrella from Seattle lasted me for 4+ years until I inadvertently left it in the food court here at lunch a few months ago. I was devastated. Never before has anyone exhibited such an emotional reaction to the loss of an umbrella. I was visibly shaken because I know that it would be hard and expensive to replace.
Of course, there are some higher end ranges which probably are of a better quality, but as with most things down under, they are priced so ridiculously high that I just can’t bear to buy one to see if it actually works better.
The umbrella industry must be making a fortune here because the subpar quality of their product causes consumers to constantly have to buy replacements. The industry is evil and it clearly takes advantage of the hard working Australian consumer, which I why I am writing this blog. I want change.
For those of you reading this here in Australia: I implore you to RISE UP! You need to call your politicians and INSIST they legislate strict regulation on the umbrella industry! You need to DEMAND consumer protections be implemented NOW! The time has come for real change. Parliament may be debating energy policy and immigration reform, but the #1 problem affecting the lives of Australians every day is clearly the umbrella crisis. Government has ignored this terrible injustice for far too long. Make your voice heard, Australia! And make sure that the politicians know that they are being held accountable for their lack of action on this pressing issue.
Disclaimer: I found these photos on two other random blogs about the same topic when I did a Google image search for “broken umbrella in a rubbish bin in Sydney”. I’m not the only one out there who has noticed.