Monday, December 19, 2011

Confessions of a Paranoid Shopper - How to Survive the Post-Christmas/New Year/Chinese New Year Madness? Get an education.

New sandals
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Paranoid. We all experience it once a while. From experience, or just naturally, paranoia is a form of condition that makes one extra aware and over cautious in certain situation. It is for me when I'm shopping during the festive season. You see, I enjoy shopping like everybody else. It's just that I can be such a perfectionist when it comes in purchasing a particular product. Let's take 3 examples of product I've bought for Christmas - a swimming trunk from Philosophy, swimming goggles and Walkman from Sony.

Way Ahead the Curve
The thing about paranoia is - I am always ahead of the curve. While others might still be shopping for a Christmas present, I've already set my mind ahead of the holidays madness. I think one need not think too much about what to do, when you already have the end in mind. Which I have already. Thinking ahead really helps too. Personally, I hate Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year. Simply because this is the season where all the fake-ness concregate in its maximum. Everyone is pretending to be jolly. As an artiste, pretending is sick. Sorry to those who actually enjoys the holiday seasons, but for those who don't, this is a great time to reflect.

We lie to ourselves about our real self-image
Personally, I hate buying swimming trunks, because I am often in a dilemma of of my own size.. I always aspire to be thinner, so in my head I have this ideal waistline. But when I have to buy a swimming trunks, I have to give in to reality. My ideal waistline is 30, but in actual, I am a 32. Like the Sony Walkman, due to its brand name, I always consider Sony as supreme in sound quality. But when I pluck in the earphones and listen, I find out the sound somewhat out from what I expected. Same as the swimming trunk. When I tried to put it on, I find out that it couldn't fit me. Then why on earth in the first place, did I bought these 2 stuff?

I SWEAR - this is my LAST purchase from Sony

We are all impulsive buyers
Like last Sunday, when I was reviewing the Christmas displays, I suddenly found the new swimming trunks on display. Frankly, I need a new pair, because the last one was stolen. And this new pair looks really cute with all the stars decorated on the front and back. I didn't even try it on - I just told which size I want and bought it on the spot! Same as the Sony Walkman. Since my last Zen Creative went bonkers and needed repair, my music addiction kicks in and forces me to purchase that damn Sony Walkman. It's all impulses no doubt.

We are all tricked by sales promotion
Office shoes 
When I first noticed the swimming trunks at Philosophy, I remembered that I have their membership card. What's good is that I get 15% off on the purchase without having to buy anything else. And since it was Christmas, and I am in serious need of a pair of trunks to do my swimming exercise, what the heck. In my mind I am foreseeing the late night parties and all the celebrations will make my weight balloon, so as a precaution, I needed those damn pair of trunks. As for the Sony Walkman, in actual fact, I hate feeling bored. There weren't any sales promotion that time when I purchase it.

The after-effects of shopping
I got very upset with the Sony customer service, because a month after my purchase, it came with 3 freebies. I felt cheated and under appreciated as a customer for buying it so early and missed the freebies that came after a month or so. So I went to them, and demanded - only I get to redeem the silicone casing, but not the USB charger. In other countries, the customer service wouldn't deny my privilege of getting those freebies, because I am the customer. In Malaysia, the customer service is very gangster type.

5-tier plastic cabinet RM50
Perfectionist Extreme - "I spot a strand of pubic hair, aaargh!"
The thing about me that I've discovered is I'm such a perfectionist. Everything that I ever buy, I would compare and check, double-check the product first. As for the Philosophy swimming trunks in which I bought at an impulse, I noticed there were some hair-like elements in the inseams of the trunks, yet I scrapped them away. Imagine that! In my mind, I was so determined to buy this, and my head is playing all kind of mental pictures. Only the next day, when I tried out another pair of red swimming trunks in size 1, I couldn't pull it up at all - it got stuck at my knees! But I want to wear the trunks now, and go for swimming now.

Driving Salesperson Mad!
The very next day, I went over to the shop at KLCC. Apparently, I can only change the size of the trunks at the shop where I purchased, and doesn't apply to its branch. So I have to went to Pavillion and exhanged it. This going back and forth really takes up effort, in which I take it as a form of exercise. But I can tell you, it drives some salespeople irritated. And I couldn't care a fart! Really, the salesperson needs to provide all necessary information, but in their haste, they didn't. So they deserve it, when the customer return the product and demand a better size.

Sweet Puffs, RM16
Customer Service or Excuse Service?
When I was refused the USB charger from the Sony KLCC, I went over to the Mid Valley office. Now they don't have the ground lounge, but I went up to the 8th floor (the spare parts) and demanded for it. The person in charge was readily to find excuses to redirect the customers away from them, instead of actually helping to find a solution. That is the worst kind of attitude. And I notice that, even though I was polite and all that. Call it lazy or inefficiency, whatever. The customer service in Malaysia is doomed, with their giving excuses attitude. They certainly need to go through some form of communication class (or take mine for only RM950 per pax). My friend advised me to write a letter to the manager and demand for the freebies.

Chocolate Cheese Cake, RM7.90
Product Dis-Uniformity
When I purchased the new Sony Walkman E Series, I thought I could plug in my noise-cancellation earphones into it. But it can't! Then I ask the salesperson whether they sell anymore walkman with the noise-cancellation feature, and they said no more. Discontinued? Sometimes, it gets frustrating for a faithful customer to ask so many questions before they can receive the answer they want. Now, both of my noise-cancellation earphones are deemed useless. I just have to settle for the poor quality sound or resort to forking out about RM450 for a pair of noise-cancelling earphones!

Conclusion - Intangible Products is worth the money more...
Finally what have I learned about the festive season day shopping? Well, I shouldn't have put myself through it at all. But who can resist not to spend? I notice I get frustrated more with the stuff I bought at a higher price range like eletronics. Come on, I've been waiting for the Galaxy Nexus and Tab 7.7, and until now it's not release yet. I think by the time they do, other better models like the Ipad 3 would have already been announced, and I could hold onto my wallet for that. I think tangible products are more frustrating to buy to say compre to education or coaching lessons which is more satisfying when purchased. This is because coaching is meant to uplift you and give you knowledge in the subjects that you're interested in like Acting, Modelling, TV Hosting and Film Direction (all starting at only RM 950 per student for 20 hours of lecture + 10 hours of practical. Original price RM 1500). Email to for details.

Products can be classified into tangibles (like all the stuff I bought and went the trouble with) and intangibles (like education, coaching session - worth spending the money for). How about food? Yes, it's definitely worth the money, if you can get the best deals. If I have known sooner, I'll put all my money into improving myself with communication skills and not upset myself again with all the paltry, sub-par products currently flooding into our Malaysian market today. Ooops, not today. My mind is already way ahead in February 2012 already.

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