Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Conspicous Consumption

Working in KLCC I am basically surrounded by purveyors of wealth symbols for aspiring socialites. Luckily I am myself quite inured to such lures to the path of bankruptcy for a poor salary man like me, thus I normally am desensitised to the sales period that seems to be a monthly affair over here. In fact I once had an embarrassing affair when I entered a boutique famous for their shoes that was having a sale when I just started working in the area, since they were advertising of more than 50 % discount. Imagine me strolling in with sandals as I was on the way to Friday prayers at the KLCC mosque, and was just dropping by to recce the shoes thinking I will make the purchase after work. However when I was inside and started to turn a shoe over to see its price tag, it was in the thousands. That gave me a shock as through experience I know such shoes in their home country factory sales only costs a few hundred bucks. I was imagining I could get a pair for about the same price but when the list price is in the thousands, after the discount it would still cost more than a thousand right. No way Jose! Although I am thrifty but I subscribe to the adage that quality is worth the value, but this sort of pricing is pure throat slashing for me. I will not pay for something above its fair value, and definitely not a premium just to show off someone else's monogram. Might as well go for something custom made and have my own monogram or crest incorporated. Branded goods that really denotes its quality is the limit to what I would buy in terms of expensive goods. I still keep one branded EDT that even after 10 years, has not evaporated nor turned off. Well to cover my embarrassment, I took sometime window shopping before telling the salesgirl I will return after prayers and immediately took my honourable exit.
Thus I sometimes wonder like when I was passing by a boutique and saw a young girl trying on a boutique's monogrammed sunglasses, whose money are you spending? I cannot believe that at a such young age you have earned enough to display such conspicuous spending and I pity your parents that you can easily spend their money just like that. Even though my own kids are showing symptoms of the same attitude, for sure I will not allow that to happen. A penny earned is a penny saved goes the saying. But I would add that that penny earned also earns you the right to spend but in such case you would be spending it more wisely as you know how hard it actually was earned. Reward yourself with expensive gifts if the occasion calls for it, but don't just spend to show you have the moolah to buy overpriced baubles. You are just perpetuating the myth of wealth even though the really wealthy would still look at you as just another aspiring socialite. Like Scrooge might say during this season that symbolises such conspicous spending, "BAH HUMBUG!"

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