“I don’t even have money to pay for all this stuff. I just charged it on credit cards so hopefully I can pay it off later,” says Jessica Mckee, 24, a shopper at Crossgates Mall.
Shopping is a need for women as well as men. With the economy in recession since 2001, people have severely cut down their spending on certain aspects of entertainment and daily activities. Stores try to attract consumers with sales and deals. The malls are becoming increasingly lifeless with only a few shoppers wandering around “window shopping.” What happened to the spirit of the shoppers? Where are the shopaholics?
Cherish Trakarnboochai, 20, who used to be some-what of a shopaholic complained about her cut on allowance. “My parents cut my allowance. I can’t even afford the things I want and my lifestyle has changed since I don’t have the money to pay for stuff anymore. Instead of shopping once a week like I used to, I can’t barely afford to shop every other week.” The economic crisis not only has affected those of the working groups, but the younger crowds as well. “I just wish the economy can get better. I’m still in college so I’m not worried much about getting a job, but my parents are struggling and that affects me. I like brand-names and I’ve been spoiled all my life, now I can’t buy something as simple as an extra pair of shoes without thinking about if I have money to eat later,” says Mandy Gao, a student of the University At Albany.
A visit to Crossgates Mall will leave you in a “what the heck?” kind of mood. You will wonder where the shoppers went. On a perfectly sunny Saturday afternoon, the mall is deserted with only a handful of people roaming in the food court. Apparently, some shoppers have decided to stay away, not even bothering to window shop, just in case the desires kick in. Others have decided to rely on the internet. Websites such as retailmenot.com and slickdeals.net have become a hit amongst smart shoppers trying to save money. These sites provide coupons and deals up-to-date. All shoppers have to do is look up the store they wish to purchase from and a list of the latest coupons will show up. Jessica Mckee says “I’ve gotten so addicted to these online coupon sites. In a way I think it’s making me shop more. But then I know I’m getting a good deal. It does save money when it’s used correctly and only on stuff that you really need.”
An employee of Abercrombie & Fitch at the Crossgates Mall is frustrated with the empty store. Shirley Wong says “It gets so boring now. I stand here all day and only a few people walk out buying something. The store used to be crowded with shoppers, but now we’re not doing so good. We used to barely have sales, but the manager said we have to now because people won’t buy anything in this recession without a good deal.”
On the other hand, thrift stores such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army have gained popularity in the recent year. “I would never have gone to a thrift store before this recession. My friend told me recently about how she brought cheap clothes from this thrift store down in St.Marks and it’s great with discounted prices. I think I’m going to check it out because it seems like a good way to save money right now,” says Amanda Jones, a teacher at the Red Apple pre-school in New York City. Figures from the Salvation Army show that sales have heightened from 5 to 15 percent at stores around the country in recent months, compared with the same period a year earlier. However, donations have gone down about 10 to 25 percent. Goodwill sales have also increased 6 percent since 2008, but their donations have gone down 5 to 10 percent. [Source: NYTimes]
We are all waiting for the economy to get better. For now, we must all be smart shoppers. Trakarnboonchai says “I just can’t wait for the day that I can buy 2 pairs of shoes and brand-named bags and have a fabulous dinner without worrying about breaking my bank account. I would still look for coupons and codes after the recession though. it’s a great way to save more money and still get what I want.”