Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Sexist Shopping

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There’s no doubt about it, I loathe shopping. For a multitude of reasons. One of them being that – quite naturally – the people who sell me things usually don’t have my best interests at mind and thus make the experience unnecessarily painful. Both financially and even more so, mentally. They make you wade through loads of crap which won’t possibly be interested in and, more cruelly, they totally ignore your wishes. Most notably they seem to like subtly changing the way things are sorted in the supermarket and of course they’ll make sure that you won’t be able to buy another copy of that pair of shoes when the first one breaks after just a few years of usage.

While I do manage my grocery shopping – one rucksack at a time without variation of the stores – I think I’ve given up on everything else. Even if I think that some clothes or toys are nice, just the prospect of actually buying raises an avalanche of questions about their quality. However, unless you have a friend with extended first hand experience using the product you’ll have no source whose statements you can trust on its quality. Surely no manufacturer or vendor would tell you that their product is crap. Equally surely, the internet is mostly worthless as there’ll always be some idiot who’ll state that a product is great and some other one hating it. The same goes for the media. All of them with a bias towards the positive as the manufacturers surely pay some of their bills. In the end it means that you’re alone and you’ll have to trust your luck. Usually I’m unlucky, things break unreasonably fast (see my computers or even trousers of the new millenium – I still have Levi’s jeans from the mid 1990s which are in good shape but none of the pairs I bought in the 2000s survived more than a year without getting some hole).

Anyway, grocery shopping is of course a great source for sexist statements. The checkout wisdom seems to be that bad aspects of a checkout lane and women in the queue and guys behind the checkout. Wich ultimately may not be all that sexist a statement as quite possibly it just reflects that guys working in a supermarket are more likely to be temps and thus not as good at the job as the regulars. And that the women in the queue – apart from being unable to pay and bag quickly – may just be shopping for all the family as our society wants them to. Uh…

But when shopping around in a big department store for a birthday present, I was once again attacked by one of the bigger sexisms in shopping. And that’s the huge ‘perfume’ and ‘jewellery’ departments they tend to have just behind the stores’ entrances. Apart from being a huge olfactory offense of all the huge corporations ‘exhibiting’ their newest smells in public, at the same place, at the same time, the price stickers they put on their products just look like a sick joke. A little tub of smelly fat – €20 at least. And so on. And it looks like most of that money goes into marketing. Just considering what all the dedicated company supplied and dressed up tarts peddling the wares and attacking people who pass through with ‘samples’ cost is sickening. Ultimately it looks like both cosmetics corporations and department stores enjoy making women (and increasingly men, I suppose) think they’re ugly and they can fix that by dropping some cash with them. Ultimately that’s rather sexist.

Now don’t get me wrong, I may sound like a feminist there, but I’m quite sure that I wouldn’t mind that sexism half as much if they didn’t put it right in my way as a smelly dump.

November 28, 2007, 9:27

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