I used to enjoy taking a stroll around the department store, when it was all about free air-conditioning, window shopping and walking aimlessly. All that had to stop when I had a baby because it just wasn't convenient _ what with diapers changing and uncontrollable wailing (my son's, not mine). Now that he is in school, I have some (albeit limited) free time to spend walking around my favourite neighbourhood department store.
I was unpleasantly surprised to find that over the years, some of my favourite shops have disappeared _ those gorgeous, expensive furnishings perhaps do not sell so well _ and are now replaced by one skin clinic after another, with a lot of slimming centres joining the strip.
Personally, I have nothing against these beauty businesses, although I am not currently a client. Who knows? I might need their services one day in the future. What I don't like is the fact that most of them seem to have this strange idea that they can circle around someone, shove a bunch of leaflets into that poor person's hands, say he or she is not good enough as is, and expect to squeeze money out of his or her pocket. Does any business really ever become successful that way?
The aggressive approach never works for me, and I don't like being told what to spend my money on in such an in-your-face manner. Tempt me with big-budget commercials and I might consider it. If you just walk up to me, tell me I can lose 2inches of my belly fat in 30 minutes, and I will just give you an evil glare but not a satang of my money. I will be even more offended if I am in a hurry and get stopped by one of those uniformed staff who, truth be told, could use the treatment herself. More to the point, I think it is rude. Approaching someone and asking whether he or she would like to fix a weight problem or make the saggy parts tighter is clearly an offensive thing to do, and if that person is offended, how can that be good for the business? People spend on things that attract them, not annoy or offend them.
One afternoon, when looking for birthday cake for my mother with very limited time, I was driven crazy by how many people stopped me and tried to sell things I don't need. I mean, why would a woman who is holding her son's hand want a pre-wedding photo package? Minutes later a few women from a slimming centre asked me if I wanted to lose my "post-partum excess baggage".
A few steps from that trap, I was greeted with a woman who tried to convince me that I could really use a skin rejuvenating treatment. What kind of world are we living in? Why am I getting all these insults thrown at me when I don't even know these people? That afternoon, I ended up walking in a big circle in order to avoid them at all cost, spending more time that I'd like to, just to save my self-esteem from sinking.
Recently, I went back to that department store to find that whole floor very quiet and dead, because not many people would want to venture into that trap. A bunch of staff stood awkwardly in front of each shop, looking out for potential victims they could gang up on. Clearly, this approach doesn't work. A few places have already been shut down but there are newcomers, too. It seems like other mall-goers share the same policy as me _ if you can't stop getting stopped, stop going there in the first place. I hope the owners realise how annoying this approach is, and stop ruining our leisure time by telling us we are not good enough and need their expensive help.
Napamon Roongwitoo is a feature writer for The Bangkok Post.
About the author
- Writer: Napamon Roongwitoo
Position: Outlook Writer