S4L Book Club – Cheap

I was surprised—and skeptical—when Ellen claimed that outlet malls were not only the fastest growing segment of retail but also the fastest growing tourist destinations. Really? Really?

Upon further consideration, though, I guess it could be true: Many people shop for entertainment and fun. If that’s what someone does for recreation, why shouldn’t it influence where and how s/he vacations?

Are you a recreational shopper? Do you enjoy it and seek out opportunities to shop? Is the experience fulfilling? Does it cheer you up when you’re down? Is it a social thing—do you shop with friends and family?

I am not a recreational shopper. I avoid shopping, on vacation and in everyday life. I’m oh-so-happy to let Mike do it. I tend to let the shopping pile up, and then I feel badly about all the money I’m spending when I finally get around to doing it. There are some bad repercussions for this. I sometimes don’t buy things I should when I should and wind up spending more in the end because I was too cheap to solve the problem in a timely fashion. I definitely have money issues—a dysfunctional relationship with it.

But to have shopping opportunities influence vacation choices is something I cannot relate to. How about you?

Categories: Reading

7 replies »

  1. I used to live in the panhandle of FL and there’s a few outlets near by. One in San Destin area. It’s a really nice mall but it’s a mall. It used to be that the outlets sold the past seasons fashions at a discounted price but now the companies have their own Outlet Brand and while you may be spending less than at the regular store you’re still paying more for the name that you would have if you were going to a department store.
    When we go to Gatlinburg TN there’s an outlet in Pidgeon Forge (we call it Destin of the mountains) but the only thing I will go to is the Scrapbooking Outlet. That one actually has things that I know are on sale or discounted! Then I go to the regular store next door and shop. Did notice some of the items I got on clearance were still on the shelves of the Scrapbook Store at retail prices!

  2. We live relatively close to a large outlet center and I have know people who have made it a vacation spot for a girl’s weekend. It is not how we would spend a vacation (just shopping), although we like to shop for souvenirs when we do go on vacation.

  3. Ziggy, that’s one of the points the book makes: that outlet stores aren’t what they were originally conceived to do. I remember, too, that they were a place for “seconds,” i.e., items from the factory that didn’t meet quality standards.

    With the advent of outlet brands, the “good deal” aspect of outlets is diminished.

    In some cases, I think thrift stores are the “outlets” of today. I’ve seen small quantities of new (identical) clothing from Old Navy and other stores in Value Village and The Salvation Army. This seems to be where last season’s un-sold fashions wind up.

  4. I wonder if deals factor into souvenir shopping they way they do in other kinds of more routine shopping.

    I’m curious, too, about social shopping. I’m trying to remember doing this in my teens; surely I went shopping with friends. My gut says I was more interested in having something new, pretty, and interesting than getting an awesome deal or being social. Good deals enabled me to have more new, but I think new trumped deal.

    Or maybe I’m deluded. I won’t rule that out!

  5. I am not a shopper and not really concerned with the cost of what I purchase except in the context of “can I pay the price marked and still afford to live”. While that may sound like I have no monetary concerns, it really is just a reflection of my new thinking; i.e. money is just a piece of paper representing the “energy” that occurred to receive the “paper”. Having just returned from a cruise where shopping is a significant part of the vacation I am pleased to say that we purchased only a few items, and none just for the purpose of bringing someone back a gift.

    We did find a bargain – on the last day of the cruise a pullover that my husband wanted was marked at 50% off. What the ship didn’t realize is that we would have purchased it at regular price on the first day if it had been on the sales floor.

    Cheap is a matter of personal perception. When I hear the word “cheap” I don’t think of money as in “financial bargain”. I think of quality as in “poorly made”. [I just noticed that I used the word “bargain” in the paragraph above.] I’d much rather than a bargain that something cheap.

    Jen, when you mention malls as vacation spots, I remember many years ago in Nashville the Grand Ole Opry theme park was torn down and replaced by an outlet mall – which is still there today.

    Changing the landscape just a bit – I wonder how many people that want things cheap would be willing to work for less in their paychecks in order to assure that products are priced cheap!

  6. Gayle, I think you’re right about the connotation of “cheap” as opposed to “frugal” or “bargain” or “thrifty.” I think there’s some overlap even when we wish there weren’t. For instance, a frugal person may desire the value of a well-made product but be unable or unwilling to pay for it, settling instead for “cheap.”

    You ask how many people would be willing to work for less in order to assure that products are priced cheap. I kind of think people ARE working for less, but not because they’re willing to. Wages have dropped.

    Also, while wages have gone down, expenses have risen. Americans can’t afford to work for less because expenses continue to rise even while some product prices drop.