It’s no secret that I’m a cheap-skate…but not in the traditional sense. If Nooj, KS or MJ or anyone else for that matter (Non-Stalker/Non-Paedophile types) had to proposition a 3 week bloggers back-packing holiday to Greece or Mexico, I’d be the first one on that plane, no questions asked. I wouldn’t even care if it costs R20k to get there and would even take un-paid leave from my job. But I will never, I repeat NEVER buy something for R700 when I can get it for R50.
I’m not particularly brand conscious either. As far as I’m concerned, the “brand” is one of the biggest lies told to mankind. The premise of a brand is that you are only worth something if you own it. It’s absolute rubbish because they’re all produced in the same factories in Taiwan anyway, and I have seen proof of this. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t like that turquoise Adidas tracksuit that has been on sale at the Adidas Factory shop since like January this year, even though it still costs a fortune after being marked down thrice. I like it because it’s pretty, not because its a resident in the House of Adidas. I still won’t buy it on principle though…because I see no sense in paying R800 for a label and stripes. And I’m sure if I really wanted to, I could get the knock-off that was made in the same factory for R120. My philosophy behind my attire is that I wear my clothes and my Eau de Toilette…they don’t wear me. My clothes and my possessions do NOT define who I am as a person. I'm sure my personality carries enough weight so I don’t need names to enhance who I already am.
I do have standards though. I don’t buy pirated DVD’s…especially if I like the movie and since I only ever buy movies that I have already watched and really love, I NEVER buy pirated DVD’s. I’d rather wait for 3 months when the retail price of the original DVD goes from R150 to R80. And if all else fails, I will fly to London and go to HMV on Oxford Street or Virgin in Piccadilly Circus and buy 6 DVD’s for £30-00…on principle, just because I won’t pay R150 for a DVD.
That said, we were invited to the ASCO perfume sale recently. The VIP pass didn’t prevent us from rushing to get there after work before they closed for the evening, and because the place was packed, we had to park around the corner which meant that Azra had to run up a street that resembled Kilimanjaro and could rival Everest…and in record time…and in stiletto heels. I wouldn’t have worn the stiletto’s had I known that an unscheduled installment of Wrestle Mania was waiting for me, but we had planned to go out later that night and home is not exactly around the corner. Now I like perfume as much as the next person…it entices my senses and is delicious and refreshing and all that but again, I have principles. Needless to say, I was astonished when I saw how over-zealous and ballistic some consumers can become.
I’m a Davidoff girl, so naturally I was drawn to the counter housing “Echo Summer Fizz” and “Cool Water Wave” but on my way there I was knocked out of the way by some Speedy Gonzalez who thought that she was the only one entitled to buy anything there. Regaining my balance, and taking one step at a time I found it amusing that most of the men and women there had luggage…huge bags brimming with everything from Escada to Lacoste. I walked past a woman who was harbouring two huge carbon boxes (intended for purchasing) like they were fugitives…her eyes never leaving the coveted merchandise. I wanted to grab the bottle of Givenchy “Very Irresistible” on the top of the pile just for kicks, to see her reaction, but I got distracted by the lady behind the counter thrusting a bottle of Hugo Boss “Deep Red” into my hands. I put the bottle down and moved on to the next counter.
An olfactory sensory overload and what seemed to be hours later, I selected my purchases for the evening…just two bottles…waited for Tweety to get her two bottles and headed for the checkout counter. As we waited in the queue to pay, I looked at the carnage around us. Tweety informed me that the perfume and cologne industries are fast becoming the most profitable in the retail sector. Celebrities who endorse a scent are likely to make more money with their endorsements then they would make from their movie or music sales. I looked around and there were people strewn everywhere, counting their gems…guarding them like little cubs in the wild…it was hilarious. What is it about a scent that can make even the most civilized people act like animals? The perfume/cologne industry is the second biggest farce in the world…being a subsidiary of the farce known as the “brand”.
We were discussing it and came to the realisation that most people derive a sense of self-worth from the names and labels they acquire on their clothes and bottles of fragrances. Sure the smell is enticing and adds to or enhances their personal value, but the names and labels they purchase validates their existence in some odd way. A few squirts of Aqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani on the nape of the neck is as good as 6 months of therapy for some. Self-esteem in a bottle. It can make one feel beautiful, special, worthy, elegant and a whole list of other adjectives that only a shrink can prescribe for you in the form of Prozac or some other related drug. I feel like a million bucks every time Davidoff’s “Cool Water” touches my skin…I’m a sucker too.
The concept of the brand even extends to what we eat. Look at MacDonald’s for example. Any person with regular healthy taste buds (that are still alive) will tell you that MickyD’s is shite…glorified cardboard…tasteless…
And I can hear the onslaught of dedicated customers who swear by their Big Macs but I have to pose this question…is it really the burger made from soya products, or is it the novelty of the brand working it’s consumer psychology by making you believe that it has to be good because it’s “MacDonalds” and comes all the way from America and that it’s one of the most popular brands on earth? You decide.
I still prefer some original products over their generic counter-parts though…not because of the name but because some things just taste, look, feel or smell better than the knock-off…and I’ll take quality over quantity any day. But I still won’t pay through my backside for things…because I have principles :D