Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Let's (not) go to the mall!

Yesterday after gym (good grief swimming kills me!) I briefly visited the mall to pick up a birthday present for my boss. It feels like forever since I've been into a mall. I've been avoiding them because a) it's January and I am flat broke b) I don't like malls very much (artificial lighting, large groups of pushy people and enclosed spaces combine to make me feel a bit trapped) and c) there are waaaay too many temptations at the mall.

I'm not a fashion follower by any description (I think brand names are a waste of time and until recently, when my colleague Roo "educated" me, had never heard of Ed Hardy, Jo Malone or Baby Phat etc). In fact, I bought my Matric dance dress (the South African version of your prom, for non-saffers) at a fleamarket for a whopping R350 (less than $50) and I do most of my clothes shopping at sales and factory outlets. I am also lucky to inherit clothes that my mom is done with. She has great taste and I look forward to her cupboard clean-outs with anticipation.

I like things this way. I enjoy my clothes and look just fine in my cheap ones (to my knowledge, that is). I get a certain satisfaction from putting together an outfit I think is nice without spending much money, and from the fact that I can spend a little cash on other things instead, like my garden, crafting, spoiling TSC, going out to dinner occasionally or nice birthday gifts for friends.

But, for some inexplicable reason, when I am broke (pretty much the end of every month) I have this wicked urge to go out and just blow money. On clothes, on homeware, on anything really. I don't (not because I have great self control but because I have no money to blow and haven't allowed myself the temptation of owning a credit card). But I want to spend. And so walking through a mall is pure torture.

Those retail magicians make the store windows seem so pretty, sparkly and inviting. And then they put up great big "SALE" signs on top of it all. They're usually red, which should be a warning. Red is the colour of danger in nature. Red is the colour for 'stop'; the colour of blood. But not in a mall. In a mall, red is the colour of "if you buy this record your life will be better".

And once you're actually inside a store, there are all sorts of clever tricks retailers have to make you spend your hard-earned bucks. Thankfully, there are people with too much time on their hands helpful folks out there who have dedicated themselves to exposing this treachery. For Sarah and Po, there is even an article by some guy meationing how Barry Manilow aids and abets these merchanisers and how not to be a hamster.

I have my own solution. And it is simpler, better and faster (unlike a certain bank): DON'T GO TO THE MALL.

That is all.

15 comments:

Cam said...

Tam which mall so I can avoid too. Fourways, Cedar? Not that I cross the highway often anyway :)

Glugster said...

Never mind spending money. Malls are just too busy. I hate crowds, especially inconsiderate ones.

Being Brazen said...

malls can be very evil places - so much temptation ;)

Shayne said...

I have to say i love shopping - malls or not.

Cannot help myself.

I justify it better tho if it is for the house/my baking bus/the girls ....

momcat said...

Luckily I'm pretty much immune to impulse shopping but I also learnt a long time ago not to take the kids shopping with me too much. They are total impulse purchase freaks and the moment they enter a shopping centre, they immediately get hungry or thirsty or require some form of entertainment. Our local mall over the Christmas period was also mind-numbingly full of really rude people with no idea of personal body space or the need to avoid bumping into other people and that experience really double reinforced my resolve to avoid shopping centres unless dragged there kicking and screaming. :)

Damaria Senne said...

I live less than a killometre from two big malls. And basically I have to go there to buy basic stuff like fresh bread etc, unless I plan to buy at garage shops, which charge exhorbitant fees. thankfully, it's hard to spend money you don't have, and after a while, the people with too much time on their hands get so used to seeing you walk past them they no longer see you. So they target the ones who come rarely to the mall & seem to actually look at the pretty store windows:-)

Paula said...

teehee. Agree and will def follow advice. :D

Paula said...

Oh and I meant to say that we learned at school about how to layout a store to manipulate a shopper to buy. Its weird the science behind it. Even the music that they play in shops is on purpose... oh and the smell in some cases. Like the entrance to some supermarkets smell like a bakery... it is no co-incidence my friend.

angel said...

I must be honest... I love shopping malls! I love shopping!
I was rather pleased with myself today. On the way home I notices huge sale signs in the window of Mr Price Home, so I stopped to look. I left my handbag AND wallet in the boot of my car and I didn't buy anything!

Jeanette said...

I must agree, I always shop more when I'm broke.

Helen said...

I'm with you on avoiding credit cards, while it would be nice to have one for emergencies, I was always taught that it's a bad idea to spend money you ahven't earned yet.

I hate the crowds in malls, I try to shop once in a while and get a LOT of stuff, right now I'm working on cleaning out my cupboards and rediscovering the things I'd forgotten about, youd be amazed how much you actually have that you don't know about!

boldly benny said...

I ALWAYS want to blow money when I'm broke. Weird.

I love shopping but on my terms and often I just like to browse and see what's in store. My favourite mall is Rosebank, I prefer shops along a road so I can get some open air, I'm not a huge mall person though because I also often feel trapped.

po said...

Haha what, who wouldn't want to be a hamster? Malls are an evil South AFrican invention and I hate them. Here in the UK they have their high streets which are like malls anyway except you freeze to death walking from one shop to another. Makes no sense. They have the January sales here, which is beyond evil cos after Christmas has broken the bank all of a sudden everything is so cheap!

Anonymous said...

Well I've never been broke before but if I had no money I wouldnt feel like spending more money then, thats just silly what are these commenters saying, anyways I love that song "let's go to the mall" heh heh so catchy! I wish I could watch that episode right now.

Susan said...

Unfortunately, I fall prey to the halls of the mall more often than I'd like.