Elementary, my dear Watsons: my epic quest for Gosh Cosmetics

If you have been following my blog since its infancy (…poor you!), then you’ll be familiar with the term ‘Treg’s Luck’, introduced in my early post about the beautiful Waterfall Bay and the numerous misfortunes that occurred as we looked for it. Check out the post itself for a more detailed explanation (and some lovely photos), but it basically boils down to Sod’s Law – anything that can go wrong for me, generally will. Especially if until now, everything had previously been ticking along far too well.

My quest to find a certain shade of Gosh nail polish is a case in point. By now, you’re all well aware how my indifference to nail varnish has bubbled up into a full-on obsession, helped along by the multitude of nail blogs sprawled across the Interwebz. Having spotted a particularly lovely Gosh lacquer on such a blog, I remembered seeing the brand sold in Watsons (think Superdrug, but not as good) so set out to claim a pot of glittery goodness for my own. Alas, none of the colours in the Tin Hau branch took my fancy.

Having stopped off at every Watsons on the way back home from Tin Hau, it transpired that Gosh Cosmetics were only sold at selected Watsons stores. Specifically, absolutely none near me. Most people would shrug, sigh and move on to bigger and better things. Unfortunately, I decided that the most important thing in my life from that moment was getting hold of Gosh nail varnish.

So my quest got more professional. I found their Facebook Page, which helpfully listed all the Watsons stores that stocked their cosmetics line. In Chinese.

I can’t read Canto. God bless those Gosh folk, they’d tackled their task with gusto, listing at least one hundred stores and my auntie would probably have a breakdown if I presented her with such an essay to translate. But things were looking up – my boyfriend understands certain characters and was able to pinpoint the section sub-titled ‘Hong Kong Island’ i.e. area where I live (and obvious best area in HK, fyi). Once he’d gone to sleep and was oblivious to my raging obsession being put in action, I painstakingly copied and pasted each string of characters of around twenty locations into Google, who showed a map of each possible destination.

‘The ones with the star next to them’

I was thus able to narrow my quest down to Wan Chai, in order to disguise my mania with a trip to Marks & Spencers Food. Wanting to double-check the exact locations of the stores, I presented my auntie with this small section of Wan Chai stores, asking her to translate ‘the ones with the star next to them’ (the asterisk denoted Gosh Cosmetics were sold there, as opposed to Skincare). I even pointed for good measure. My auntie confidently told me one was at some China Insurance Centre that I couldn’t figure out her directions for, the other the Hopewell Centre.

First, to M&S, which, true to form, had barely any of the items I wanted to buy (I should have spotted the Treg’s Luck warning signs from here). We then plodded from Gloucester Road all the way to Hopewell Centre on Queen’s Road East, where pots of glittery goodness would be waiting to be snapped up by yours truly. On arrival… no sign of Gosh Comsetics. Argh.

My boyfriend has 3G on his iPhone so I brought up the Facebook Page to show him. Even his limited grasp of Canto was enough to tell me that my auntie, in her infinite wisdom, had wonderfully managed to translate every location listed UNDER each asterisk. ARGH!

Not wanting a wasted trip, I picked up some other toiletries at Hopewell instead. On reaching the check-out, I was presented with a plastic bag bulging with random stuff as a free gift. Normally, people use the word random when they mean anything but. No really, this bag was random. I presume it was a clear-out of Christmas stock they couldn’t flog anymore. Then the saleslady decided my bag of free crap wasn’t quite complete… she wanted to include some cereal bars too. Alas, this involved authorisation from the manager, eating up a further five minutes. I eventually emerged from Hopewell Centre with: three packs of my pill (sadly, not free), box of yoghurt berry flavour CelebritySlim snack bars (impressively not even past their sell-by date), mini bottle of Listerine, red Garnier mobile phone case/purse, Olay sample, overnight CracKare moisturising patch (no… me neither), strange but cute fruit/alien shaped shower pouff and masses of pent-up annoyance at auntie.

Initially, my plan had been to catch a bus home from outside Hopewell. But now my determination to get Gosh nail polish had intensified further. Another location was Johnston Road, merely a street away. Off we went.

Bizarrely, the folk at Gosh aren’t too keen on divulging actual shop numbers on their list. Luckily, I used to work in Wan Chai so had some vague recollection of which Watsons they meant, or else we could have trotted down the wrong side of Johnston for who knows how long. On arrival at Johnston Road Watsons… a Gosh concession! Hurrah!

By now I wasn’t even bothered about the original colour I’d set out for and just wanted any nice nail polish to show for my efforts. I had a few back-up choices courtesy of those damned nail blogs… my boyfriend immediately noted that the space labelled with shade number ‘541’ was empty. I felt a familiar sinking feeling in my stomach as I used his 3G to Google it… yes, 541 was the very number of my next best back-up choice, Gasoline. Treg’s Luck strikes again.

I was weary, frustrated and all tregged-out, ready to admit defeat and head home. But my boyfriend knew that if we left now, I’d no doubt be horrifically annoying for hours/days/weeks on end, wondering if the other location (Hennessy Road) had my shades in stock. So on we marched, continuing to walk further back on ourselves and our ill-fated trip to Hopewell, including passing where we had started off in the first place.

This time, Gosh had given us a shop number: 205-207. Do I need to tell you that we found ourselves at the single-digit end of Hennessy?! We plodded on and got to the place we really should have gone to in the first place, where an amply-stocked display of Gosh Cosmetics awaited us… and, what’s this, plastered in red stickers offering 25% off!

Gasoline was there… so was Golden Dragon (another back-up favourite)… so I grabbed my booty. Horrors! A sales assistant starting removed the 25% off signs but, after some badgering, she reassured me I’d still receive my discount. By now, I was fielding calls from my auntie asking when I’d be home since some friends had arrived and would like to see me. So, of course, it was destined that I’d be served by an assistant who looked like Tubbs from The League Of Gentlemen and was mystified by the workings of her till and how to do 25% discounts. Fifteen minutes and three failed attempts later, I’d finally paid for my haul (receiving some no doubt erroneous further discounts along the way) and my lip-biting, hand-quivering mania was quelled. By now, I was so exhausted, flustered and late that I cancelled out all savings made by hailing a taxi home.

My hard-fought Gosh haul is pictured above and thank God, they are worth it (even more so at discount, reviews to follow). My auntie is using the phone case, I managed a fleeting hello to the friends as they left and Tubbs learnt how to use the till. Needless to say, I have since discovered that the original shade of polish I wanted has been discontinued and was probably never available in Hong Kong anyway. Treg’s Luck strikes again!

[Banner photo: Tim Ellis’ Flickr]

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