THEY are stuck within the maze of the markets, they are marching through “The Lanes” of Li Yuen Street East, and they are riding the never ending escalators of the department stores, where they ultimately meet both doom and ecstasy; they are foreigners, and they are shopping till they drop.
My fellow exchange students and I have ventured to Hong Kong from all corners of the world; we all come from different cultures, all of which reflect their own unique characteristics. Yet, I can guarantee that they'll all stand by me when I say, “Hong Kong holds the heart of consumer heaven.” Everywhere you go there are things to buy, and compared to western standards, these “things,” are very cheap.
During our first few weeks in Hong Kong, my fellow exchange students and I certainly fell prey to the shopping temptation. We bought bags, shoes, DVD’s, clothes, statues of the Buddha, swords, etc. The communal understanding seems to be that if you like it, you buy it. Now, someone back in our home countries may say, “that’s great, it sound like you are having a great time!” However, outsiders cannot comprehend the magnitude of the trap.
Michael Hayden came to Hong Kong from the USA, and has been having a blast. However, he caught the consumer bug a little too early. On one par-ticular shopping excursion Michael came across a very attractive, and expensive, Rolex watch, and he just couldn’t resist reaching for his wallet. In response to Michael’s dilemma of whether “to buy, or not to buy,” people will likely say that indeed Michael could have walked away. But when temptation lurks around every comer, for foreigners, resistance is futile.
I recently found Michael in line at the Taste grocery store at Festival Walk, as he was in the middle of purchasing 35 packages of the cheapest brand of instant noodles. Laughing, I asked him “why so many noodles?” and smiling guiltily, he pointed to his shiny new watch. When you’ re broke, noodles are great for curing hunger pangs.
Hong Kong and shopping go hand in hand, and The Hong Kong Tourism Board’s official website makes this clear to prospective visitors; they preach “live it, love it, buy it, Hong Kong!”
My warning however goes out to those who plan to stay in Hong Kong for longer than just a visit; BUYERS BEWARE: get a prescription for the consumer bug in advance, believe me, you’ ll need it!