Thursday, June 25, 2009

Experience At Sak's Fifth Avenue

Sorry for the delay in posting - busy week and it is still not over - aye!

So last week I was in Los Angeles, CA for work. It was very interesting to be on a team with four ladies. Guess what we did every night....that's right, shopped! Los Angeles and really the state of California is not the best place to shop as they have high taxes but you know how it is when four ladies get together, the one thing we all have in common (as far as pastimes go) is shopping.

On the second day of our stay in Los Angeles we ended up in Beverly Hills at no less than Saks Fifth Avenue (the one Winona Ryder shoplifted from!). This was truly an adventure in how the other half lives (and by other half I mean the rich half).

Everything in the store was $1000 or more, except the sale items which were priced generally between $200 - $700. For someone who clips Michael coupons to save $.50 off a dollar, this was clearly out of my realm. I joked that I probably couldn't even afford the paper shopping bag given at this establishment.

The store itself is lovely, four floors of women's clothing, each designer has their own section (I loved Oscar De La Renta's pieces, beautiful!). The ground level was purses, shoes and cosmetics. Everyone who worked there was very nice, nothing like Pretty Woman, no patronizing or looking down their nose.

When I first entered I sincerely believed I couldn't afford anything in there but the more we went exploring (the team alloted an hour for the store), the more I realized it wasn't about that I couldn't afford it, as much as I could not justify wasting money in that manner. There was this beautiful dress that I really liked, pretty and perfect for summer, on sale for $369. I could definitely afford that, but is that a good use of my money? My student loan for graduate school is a monthly payment of $313 - less than the dress! For $369 I could educate a child in India for two years in an English speaking private school, two years of education that could significantly improve their lives vs. a dress that I would wear maybe a few times, than either I would get tired of it or grow out of it, or in my case, spill some food on it.

This whole Saks Fifth Avenue experience has brought to my mind many questions - who are these people who shop there? Isn't there a better use of money than wasting so much of it on clothes, particularly clothes that will go out of style? There are starving people around the world, who live on $2 a day, how does one who spends $4000 for a pair of Gucci pants, look someone poor in the face? Isn't this just a massive example of excessive opulance? Why are these clothes so high priced? Why are people shopping here? What do the people who work there make? Why don't the people who shop here make better use of their money?? Does anyone care?

8 Comments:

Blogger JoeinVegas said...

But, at what level does that question stop? Why should you buy a $49 pair of Levi's when you can get a cheap look alike for $19, and send the rest for food to Africa? When you can purchase the cloth and make your own for $10 and send the rest to India? What level is too much, and at what point do you say that you are not responsible for the rest of the world?

12:20 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

I often wonder how much it would take for a rich man to finally say, "Hey, I've got enough." I don't think there is an amount. There's just too much greed in our culture.

12:36 PM  
Blogger mommanator said...

great thought provoking post!
I thought it interesting the purses were on the ground floor so the thieves could get a nice bag on 1st entering the store and work their way up!
I have come to a place in my life, I go to a store and say- there isn't anything I NEED here! about the only thing I need is food, water and lots of love! oops did I forget air to breathe!

12:40 PM  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

I actually rarely enjoy shopping, but that would be doubly true in a very pricey store.

9:41 PM  
Blogger my mind wanders said...

It's amazing to me that there are still people who have this kind of dispensable income. I mean, aren't we in a recession??? The unemployment rate is at 9.4%! Ah, there are those people who say that the rich are the ones keeping this economy afloat because they are still spending - BUT - what are they spending their money on? Seems to me that spending that gives you the biggest "bang for your buck" is the way to go.... This kind of spending reminds me that there are people who still haven't FELT the sting of this global recession. Their personal priorities have not changed. Their habits remain in tact and the economic divide between the rich and the poor is becoming the Grand Canyon. If it is true that the middle class is the true beneficiary of democracy, I wonder where it is getting us now? I wonder....what would it take for people to stop being so selfish? Maybe I'm just being too judgemental? Critical? Who knows. Maybe. Maybe not.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Joe - you bring up a good question, though as for being responsible for the rest of the world, perhaps its because I'm a person of faith but I think it is ALWAYS my responsbility to help those less fortunate, because God has graced me with benefits.

Brenda - I think you are right, greed breeds more greed, look at Madoff.

Mommantor - amen to you - only shop what we need!

Secret agent - yes those prices turned me off as well.

H - You are not being too judgemental, these people are selfish!

1:02 PM  
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