Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, November 23, 2006

Spending frenzy!!

By Farzeen Anis

You've just received you're paycheck from tutoring a couple of brats, as well as your Eid salami… and your hands are itching to spend all that hard earned money. A familiar situation, don't you think? Of course, it's not only us teenagers. In this time and age, youngsters as well as oldies have been diagnosed with the disease called the “spending frenzy”! So lets take a look at how insane our buys are, as well as how they are usually complete wastes of money.

Now, in the list of big money spenders, the gadget freaks head the list. What with their innate urge to own every new gizmo currently featured in the market, and the techno companies' abilities to produce one every other day, its no wonder why big money changes hands between these people. Starting from the basic ipods and PDAs (don't get me wrong, these are definitely necessities for me) to the laptops and plasma screen TVs, hi tech gadgets have taken the world by storm. I mean, its okay to own a couple of these things, but pray tell me, what is the reason behind buying a laptop for your 8 year old son or a plasma screen TV for every room in the house? And while you may see this as an act of generosity, personally I feel the money would be better off at charity. But the worst part is when these people try to infect you with the same obsession for gadgets, and end up buying you a mobile phone which you use as your video camera at weddings (with all the girls hanging around and all…), or a watch you're pretty sure used to belong to a calculator factory and the company owner changed his mind halfway through and gave it a digital clock face. And what about all the people you see hanging around with multiple mobile phones. Yes, you may need to advertise the fact that you have 7 sim cards or an eight figure bank balance, but my dear, you only have two ears and one brain…. how are you supposed to take calls on so many cell phones at once? Hmmm… maybe the exorbitant sums you paid to get all those phones have addled your brains a bit.

Then of course there are the fashion freaks. Among these, clothes fans top the list. Take the following situation for instance: you're wearing your favorite hot pink T-shirt with a fab pair of jeans and you're about to head out the door when you stop dead in your tracks because you realise you have committed a crime serious enough to get you arrested by the fashion police and put you in fashion prison. Because you've just remembered that pink is no longer 'in' … orange, happens to be the new pink. You rush into your house, grab your wallet, and, hiding yourself in your denim jacket (in spite of the sweltering heat bound to make your insides melt) you head for your favorite designer stores. When you're back home and you've unloaded your laden shopping bags, your wardrobe is full of every shade and design of 'orange-wear' possible.

And if you mention shopping for clothes to your mommies, they're bound to head for “Shoppers' World” or “Bashundhara City” or…well anywhere where no price tag is ashamed of advertising a sum that has less than 5 figures in it. Oh, your poor, poor, bank accounts. They must feel so empty. Come to think of it, I wonder how one manages to walk out of the house wearing a sari weighing 3 tons and costing around 5 lakhs … if it were me I'd be to scared of getting kidnapped… I mean all that the kidnappers would have to do is take the sari from me and they'd be instant Richie Riches!! I'd rather hang it up in my living room and show it off there! And don't think that only females are guilty of this crime. If you've been shopping from these places lately, you'll have seen that every group is accompanied by at least one male…who goes back home with more than his share of more-than-just-expensive suits.

But no costume is complete without the proper accessories. As the saying goes, “Clothes make the man, accessories make the woman”. And with costume jewellery shops mushrooming throughout the city, the only difficult decision one has to make is which shop they want to go to. And once you've done that, pick out your favourite earings, bracelets, bangles, necklaces and basically the works (whether you're male or female does not matter, the country is too full of metrosexuals nowadays anyways) … and hand over your credit cards. Sure people may be dying in some part of the country and the blaring lights and huge AC you're admiring yourself under may be consuming the electricity that could otherwise have allowed a sweating child somewhere to turn on her own fan but who cares, right?!! You just go ahead and head off for the shoe store next door. There you'll scream for a different colored pair of shoes to match all the clothes you've recently bought.

And why forget the beauty freaks? There must be at least 50 well known beauty parlours in the city catering to the beauty conscious women and men of this decade. And they don't hesitate to charge exclusive prices for their exclusive services. I don't deny that the trips to the parlour are fruitful sometimes, but why straighten your hair only to complain about hair loss in 6 months, why get facials and fair polish to look 0.5 times fairer than you normally do? Why get herbal treatments for “healthier skin”, buy expensive herbal packs, shampoos, soaps and so on for “healthier hair” when a simple neem pack, haldi-chandan pack, or egg pack works just as well, if not better? Not to mention that these have zero chemicals and absolutely no side effects.

But I've said enough about the big money spenders. What about normal people when they go shopping for normal stuff? When you go to buy your school books and stationery, why do you also buy Pokemon cards, bey-blades, or expensive colored markers? When you buy your own cosmetics, why can't you resist spoiling a kid with a lip gloss for herself? When you go to Archie's or Hallmarks, why do you buy more gifts for yourself than for your friends and family? Why do you lament that prices are rising every single day, when you are not going to even make an effort to save?

The other day, one of my younger cousins was given 1000 taka to save and spend as he wished. He returned at the end of the day with no money left. When asked why, he replied that he'd spent 300 taka on a bey-blade, 150 taka on Dragonball Z cards, 400 taka at Pizza Hut and the remaining 100 taka on ice cream. And to think that there was a time when I considered it a privilege to get 2 taka to be able to buy nuts from vendors and that I used to squeal and shiver with excitement when I was given 50 taka on eid day and 100 taka if I'd been behaving myself. To think that the same adults who taught me to save and the value of money, don't hesitate to gorge at eating joints or go on a spending frenzy at shopping malls. Ironic, isn't it?

I have this month's paycheck in my hand right now. I may not be donating it to charity, to kids who are starving. But I think the money is better off remaining in my account instead of feeding the bloated stomachs of the already rich and well fed.



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