Friday, 16 May 2008

Consumer Report

Through not doing anything in particular at work I ended up winning this voucher for $100 worth of Adidas products. It arrived home a day later in a letter containing nothing but the voucher and the addresses of two shops I can redeem the voucher in.
We went to one of them to see what we can get. I don't need anything in particular, but I wouldn't mind some good clothes that would feel good on me and last a while.

The shop was rather weird, or rather not what I'm used to. It was quite big for a shop (as opposed to a department store), but it hardly had any stock in it; instead it had lots of spacious atmosphere, for lack of a better superlative.
The products they did have were ridiculously priced: I was, for example, curious about getting myself a tracksuit that I could wear around the house in winter and also go out in, but the cheapest tracksuit top I could find was $90; I didn't even bother checking the matching pants' prices.
Price, however, wasn't the only odd thing about the clothes they did have at the shop: there was something weird about them all, something I can best define as lack of practicality. The clothes were not designed to fit well and do what clothes are supposed to do, as in keep you nice and warm; they were designed to look fashionable.
After trying a few on and contemplating others I realized what my problem is. Here I was facing clothes whose main aim was to promote the Adidas brand! Check, for example, the hoodie in the photograph: At $90 it's not only stupidly expensive, it's also revolting. Why would I want to wear something with such a huge brand logo on its front? Am I trying to compensate for something? For all I can tell, Adidas should pay me to wear a this portable advertisement for them and not the other way around.

What is Adidas thinking? What makes them think I would buy such a cloth? I suspect their line of thinking is that by buying such a cloth you're proclaiming that you're identifying with the Adidas brand, thus putting yourself in the same club as a multitude of celebrities who get paid to wear Adidas clothes. But do people really think that buying themselves a personality is so easy?
From what I can tell, Adidas is just another nasty company that puts its bottom line ahead of everything; why should I want to associate myself with them in particular?

Eventually I decided that this shop is just not for me. I'm much happier with the $10 tracksuits I can get at Big W. They're not as stylish, but they're practical, sensible, and they don't make me feel like I'm a fool for some company that is basically only interested in helping me get rid of as much of my hard earned cash as they can.
I think what surprised me the most is seeing seemingly ordinary people step in and quickly purchase a shirt or two before disappearing back to the anonymity they came from. I find it amazing that we can both share the same planet, because I just can't get it.

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