Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 25: My Difficult Struggle With Consumerism

Beijing's started getting cold.
So i thought i should get a proper winter coat.
So in a big hurry i ran into Uniqlo and bought one.
Then i realized that for the same amount of money i could get a cooler one.
Made from some independent local company.
Not a multinational.
And also i kept daydreaming of the Astroboy parka i saw last year.
So today i took a 1 hr bus ride to the Astroboy store.
The jacket i was enamoured with last year (but deemed too expensive) was there.
For 1/2 price.
But it was too small.
But then the sales girls found one for me in the back.
It's a pretty cool jacket.
So i bought it.
After hemming and hawing for too long.
Then 5 minutes after leaving the store i remembered the main reason i didn't buy it last year.
It's not that warm a jacket.
So why the hell did i buy it now?
All of my thoughts, heavily influenced by the fact that earlier today i was researching Buy Nothing Day.
So i swallowed my pride and went bk up to the store to ask for my 400 yuan back.
How embarassing.
Obviously it's not easy to get refunds on 1/2 price clearance items,
so i don't recommend doing it in Chinese.
Refusals, exchange offers, phone calls, and a trip to the store office.
Schmoozing a bit w/ the head supervisor seemed to help.
Then i left.
And decided that Uniqlo is good enough for now.

The lesson is that looking for "cool" is regress on The Path.
Even under the guise of supporting local business.

Also, if this is the experience of a "non-consumerist" guy like me, then i can only pray for the rest of humanity.

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