Gazing into the abyss

Prompted by an excess of logic in my life, a desire to be repeatedly addressed as “Madam” like I was the female owner of a brothel, and the fact that my hair dryer broke, tonight I decided to gaze into the abyss which is shopping in a big Thai department store.

Thailand is never really a big contender for any event in the logic Olympics, but it’s particularly bad at information design. Huge luxury malls regularly have maps with no “you are here” on them, or floor plans with helpful internal designations like “AT-45” instead of store names for the different stores. It might be Boots, it might be a puppy mill run by ladyboys, who knows?

I searched for a new hairdryer at Siam Paragon, only to find that appliances were organized by BRAND, not by type. So Panasonic hairdryers were with Panasonic stuff, whereas Foo brand dryers were with Foo stuff 10 rows down. Coz that’s how people shop, right? You leave the house thinking “I want to buy something, ANYTHING from Panasonic, I don’t care what it is, as long as it’s from Panasonic”.

Asking where were the other brands just got me a lot of “MADAM, this is a very good brand” and lots of 100$ hairdryers with lots of random features “NOW WITH IONIC GLOW!” pushed on me. Last time, I tried to shop for a pillow, it was the same, all 150$ pillows, when all I want is a normal pillow. They have them, they just pretend they don’t. Maybe I’m just too poor to shop in these places, or maybe I just look way richer than I am, but I don’t understand who buys this expensive crap. Thailand has the kind of rich kids in Ferraris who decide to run over a bunch of poor people waiting for the bus because THEY’RE IN THE WAY, I kind of picture them shopping for these kinds of ridiculous items on their way to eat shark fin soup.

I still don’t have a hair dryer.

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A blog about culture and technology in South-East Asia.

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