Sunday, October 7, 2007

Conspicuous Consumption

During the "Golden Weeks", wealthy mainland Chinese flock to the shopping mecca of Hong Kong and spend their money like there's no tomorrow.

Dressed in their domestically designed threads, they invade designer boutiques like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Prada. And then they come out triumphant, loaded with shopping bags in each hand.

At the Tod's shop in Pacific Place mall, I saw one man whip out a thick stack of one thousand dollar Hong Kong bills from his pant pocket. And his friend took out his gold-coloured credit card and they proceeded to fight over who was going to pay. I really wanted to ask them to buy me a pair of the Italian shoes.

Macau is also seeing tons of mainlanders going to the casinos and gambling their newly-found riches. I've heard reports that some even boast out loud how much they frittered away on the tables.

What's interesting or scary, depending on how you look at it, is where all this money is coming from. Many think they are laundering it and want to show off how much they can spend.

They know the consequences of acquiring conspicuous wealth through questionable means. But perhaps they figure the chances of being caught are worth the thrill of buying enough Gucci purses, Chanel suits and Louis Vuitton wallets to last more than a lifetime.

1 comment:

IheartNY said...

Interesting... in Japan, the exclusive shops were barren of any shoppers. I was one of two women inside the Gucci store and had Japanese salesclerks fawn all over me in my slovenly state...