Some fruitloop somewhere is saying the world’s going to end again next month. Yeah? You ask me, I reckon it ended this week.
This week, a thing called Click Frenzy happened. Or more to the point, didn’t happen. I don’t know what Click Frenzy actually was, or was supposed to be, but I am aware it was some kind of sale and that it ended up broken.
Thus, were millions of unbridled shopaholics denied the right to buy crap they didn’t need with money they didn’t have to satisfy an urge that can never be satisfied anyway.
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Two blue jackets – size small and medium; one pink jumper; a sparkly cinnamon tank; a pair of yellow jeans; one Peter Pan-collar top; the turquoise cami; the nude blouse; a grey off-the-shoulder knit. Oh, and an orange skirt, which is what I went shopping for in the first place.
I carted these ten items into the Zara changing rooms expecting I’d have to leave half on the rack. But, no, you can try on a wardrobe’s worth of clothes and the army of shop assistants will happily grab more.
Let’s deconstruct this: I don’t need a blue jacket; I already have a pink jumper; cinnamon looks best on apples; yellow skinnies scream 2012 – and may well make me look that old; you need a bob to rock a dainty collar; the turquoise was in fact icky jade; nude – particularly when worn on TV – makes me look naked; jumpers that fall off your shoulders are as pointless as a bikini in Thredbo. The orange skirt I needed – OK, wanted.
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If you’re a parent, you may think the seasonal requirement to buy your children stocking-loads of plastic crap has finally come to an end.
“Phew,” you may be saying (or perhaps flatulating if you consumed one too many prune-stuffed ham fists over Chrimbo).
“At last it will be possible to enter a shopping centre without being pressured to purchase a googolplex of anatomically unsound dolls, micro vehicles and cyber pets.”
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The first thing that got me excited about Christmas was how seamlessly it merged with Halloween.
One day the supermarket was full of orange, pumpkinesque loot buckets, and the next day it was filled with every Christmas symbol you can think of made from marshmallow, alongside special edition Toblerones that were tall enough to enter Grade 1. I fancied sucking on a marshmallow Madonna but they seemed to be sold out.
Next year, I will be marketing edible, orange snowmen carrying Australian flags and wearing cute little “I Luv U” T-shirts. These will be targeted at those who want to get into the spirit of things from October to February but also want to keep their spending on useless special occasion crap under control.
When done properly, a celebrity endorsement can literally make a company. The most famous example is when then third string sportswear company Nike (behind Adidas and Converse) signed first year NBA player Michael Jordan in 1984.
Jordan had just been picked third in the NBA draft after centers Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie, but Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight really liked the free-scoring Jordan and courted him personally.
When Jordan signed, Nike’s stock price was below 60 cents. When he finished his first three-peat in 1993, Nike’s stock price was $8.80 and now the biggest sportswear company in the world. When Jordan announced that he was retiring from basketball a few months later, Nike stock sunk to $5.20 and when he sent out his famous two-word “I’m back” press release, Nike stock surged again.
Consumer spending is good, right? We are told in the media all the time to spend more, and we worry when “consumer confidence” is down. Why is that?
In short, the answer is because we have a GDP to look after. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is one of our key financial indicators, and in developed western societies consumer spending makes up approximately 65 per cent of GDP.
If consumer spending is a large determinant of GDP, then the more we spend the higher our GDP and the better the economy. So if we are being told to spend just so we have an increasingly higher GDP, then someone, somewhere must have worked out that this must be good for its citizens right?
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The Left blame welfare cuts and the moral failure of society’s leaders. The Right blame the bludger mentality and soft policing. As usual, the truth is more like c) neither of the above.
Some have portrayed the riots through the social frame of family decline and fatherlessness, while others viewed it through the racial lens, before hastily backtracking when they saw white faces beneath the hoods.
While many of these viewpoints point to a general sense of unease and frustration among a section of Britain’s youth, none of them explain why half of England ended up looking like a Boxing Day sale where someone forgot to open the store doors, with shoppers forced to smash their way in.
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Zara is here, as this video of somewhat hysterical shoppers in Sydney today shows. Whether you’re hysterical, trepidatious or completely ignorant, there is little doubt the arrival of Spanish clothing Zara is about to alter the fabric of our style landscape.
Here’s the low-down: Catering to men, women and children, Zara produces, on average, 11,000 distinct items of clothing distributed in 70 countries each year. As the flagship brand of the Inditex group, Zara and its sibling brands boast 5,004 stores with a global turnover of $12.5 billion. Heck, even that sartorial hotspot Kazakhstan now boasts its own Zara outlet.
But, what really marks Zara as an oddity, a stunningly successful oddity, in the clothing world is the way the brand has dramatically shortened the fashion life cycle. Zara’s commercial dexterity to mimic runway fashion and emerging street trends is largely unparalleled, meaning, new looks can make their way from the sketchpad to store shelves in two weeks flat.
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Have you noticed that these days it’s not just people who sell ‘handmade’ soap at markets complaining that our culture has become too high-tech, too overloaded with meaningless information, too much about instant gratification?
Particularly at Christmas when everyone complains about empty consumerism it seems we’ve all bought into the notion that life was so much simpler and people so much nicer before the advent of the mass media. No road rage, no mass shootings in high schools, families sitting politely around the dinner table discussing literature.
I reckon it’s time we test this belief empirically, by comparing the past and the present on a few issues.
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Call me a miserable old piece of shit but I reckon it’s pretty weird that on the same day that some of Australia’s most committed virgins are queuing up in the cold outside the Apple Store for the launch of the iPad, in China, they’re queuing up on the roof to kill themselves at the factory that manufactures them.
If you want to know the story of globalisation, this one surely will do. On George St, Sydney, extra staff have been called in at the Apple Store to cope with the demand as hundreds of cashed-up geeks gather in a display of commodity fetishism which will hopefully be the subject of formal study by some sardonic anthropologist from the developing world.
Meanwhile, not that far north at the Foxconn factory in China’s Hunan province, nets have been installed on the roof after an 11th employee hurled himself to his death as the workers struggle to meet a deadline which has been created by our demand.
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It’s no doubt a mark of my innate stoicism that I have until this point lived mostly happily without the benefit of The Remote Controlled Beverage Buggy ™.
Fortunately the Sky Mall catalogue alerted me to the life-enhancing possibility of having liquid refreshments “secured” in a miniature dune buggy’s mounted drink holders and ferried from the fridge without me having to move a muscle aside from thumbing the console commands.
Candidly the catalogue does note the one potential flaw in this scheme, that the “willing accomplice is not included”. Luckily I am married so getting the Beverage Buggy restocked for frequent journeys back to the couch should prove no problem.
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