Saturday, October 29, 2011

TJ Maxx Goes Filipino

"Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we're going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time."

Name that movie.  As I was starting this blog, it sounded a little like this so I chose to throw in some trivia for y'all.  I expect both of my brothers to get this.  Number 3, if you don't, you're not the movie genius I thought you were...

Anyways, I'm pretty sure you've guessed already that I didn't go to Home Depot or Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  However I did pick up some of those items in the Poblacion market in Solano.  New fact that I just learned... 'Poblacion' is apparently 'city' in Spanish, which is why almost every municipality around here has a barangay called Poblacion.  Maybe this is a dumb blonde moment.  Kind of like:

1. When I thought an air guitar was an actual instrument.  Until age 16.  OR
2. When I thought gravity simulators actually existed in space shuttles, and astronauts casually walked around like they do while on planet Earth.  Until 2ish months ago.

If this, in fact, WAS a dumb blonde moment, don't hesitate to tell me.  I enjoy laughing at my stupidity and gullibility. (Is that a word?)  Maybe the latter was due to the movie 'Rocketman,' a classic.  "The earth looks like a giant blueberry!"  

Anyways I had to go into the "city" to run some errands.  As I was sitting down having lunch, I was thinking about how I was really enjoying my afternoon.  I decided that my 30 minute trip from little Lamut to big city Solano feels a lot like my 40 minute trip from little Scituate to big city Boston.  However please take note that I am using the term 'big city' very loosely here.  Solano is probably the size of my little hometown in the States.  I'm not sure though- Google it.  But anyways it was nice, just sitting by myself, probably looking like a weirdo when laughing at funny incoming text messages. 

Wanted a few items from the market, but I think I'm still getting used to the whole market thing.  I don't know.  I guess I just always feel a little vulnerable, financially speaking, when I'm in any public market.  When I say this, I don't mean about theft; I'm always very aware of that, but what bothers me more is that I can't really tell when I'm being ripped off.  And I think I probably always am.  Unlike in the familiar shopping malls and outlets I grew up in with my mom, public markets are cramped, loud, and there is a ridiculous variety of things EVERYWHERE.  Sounds like a shopper's paradise, right?  To me, it seems more like a third-world version of TJ Maxx.  I hate that place.  Although the building is large, the racks are all squeezed together, there is no rhyme or reason to its organization, and the air conditioning is never high enough.  It's overwhelming.  One of my friends always finds wicked cute things there, but my organization-wired brain can't handle that store and it really bugs me to even walk through the doors.

So basically the whole market setup is really intense, then you have to pay attention to your purse and pockets the whole time, EVERY vendor is saying 'Hello ma'am' (and my polite upbringing makes me feel inclined to respond), you have to walk at a decent pace because there are always people behind and around you, you have to look back and forth, left and right into your dim, Hurricane Katrina-like surroundings... then if you DO see what you're looking for, there's a lot of pressure to just buy it right away so you can get out of there as quickly as possible.  I think this is one reason why these places are so successful.

I had a friend who worked at Abercrombie and Fitch.  He said their company purposely turns up the volume of the music in their stores because studies have shown that customers are more apt to buy impulsively when they're in a loud environment.  It triggers something in the brain that distracts the customer from thinking through their purchases logically and reasonably.  I guess what I'm saying is that these markets create the same fight-or-flight response in me.

Anyways I decided to walk around into some different stores before hitting up the market and I found a few awesome, reasonably-priced places!  I got a few nice polos and some other things.. all without that stress.  And the way that I see it, I may have spent a little more money overall, but I was able to go along slowly, at my own pace, and think about what I was buying.  "Do I really need this?  Is this a good deal?  Will I actually wear this?"  So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not sure how long it will take for me to get used to shopping in the market like all the locals do, or if I ever will.  However part of me doesn't really worry about it... "I DO WHAT I WANT!"  (Name that trashy daytime TV show)  I know plenty of people who hate shopping malls or strip malls or boutiques (or TJMaxx for that matter).  

So ya know what?  Maybe I'll just stick to what I like and what I'm comfortable with.  There's no reason to stress out when all I need is a darn T-shirt!  I appreciate public markets for what they are and how they contribute to the society and culture here in the Philippines.  I continue to learn and make adjustments to life here, and it's been SO fun... I could go on for days.  But maybe this part of American Becky will just stay the same.  You can take the girl out of the shops, but you can't take the shopping out of the girl.  Don't worry Mom, Sharon, Cor, and all my long-term fellow bargain queens.  Nothing full price!

Some things never change :)


At November 20, 2011 at 7:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see you haven't lost any of your marathon shopping abilities! We'll have to plan a big trip when you get back home!


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