I was supposed to meet my sister today. She wanted me to come with her to the travel fair in Kuala Lumpur.
Something came up and I couldn’t go but I told her that I could at least see her somewhere in Subang Jaya.
She told me that I don’t have to go out if I don’t need to because she has a friend with her.
I was already dressed at the time and contemplated going to the mall in SJ anyway.
But in the end, I changed my mind and decided to stay at home, re-watching the parts in Winter’s Bone which I missed because I dozed off last night.
Staying at home yet again on a weekend is such an achievement for me. Why? It’s because I have consciously tried to stay away from shopping arcades for a while now.
I have a few reasons for doing so. Financial is definitely the most compelling one.
I believe it’s impossible not to spend when you are at a shopping centre. Your spending begins the moment you start the car engine (think burning fuel) or take any other mode of transportation to get there (think bus or cab fare).
If you drive there, you are likely to park your car. While some department stores offer free parking, most charge you.
Once you’re at the mall, you are bound to spend on something. If you’re not going to buy a new pair of ________, you are most likely going to have a meal there.
If you’re watching a movie, you’ll be paying for the tickets and the snacks too.
That’s all well and good — IF you spend on things you REALLY need. Scratch that. IF you actually need to buy something!
If you’re anything like me, you treat a shopping mall as a hang out joint. After all, you favourite cafe, restaurant or book shop is IN a mall.
Freelance journalist Clarissa Tan said it best in her article To Shop, or Not? (Reader’s Digest, Nov 2010, pages 15-16): “it seems that our default venue for every activity (nowadays) is the mall — it’s where we shop, eat, watch movies, bowl, arrange to meet friends, have a romantic date or just generally lounge around”.
So no wonder it is so hard for us to avoid frequenting malls!
But who says you have to go out AND spend money to hang out?
I know it seems much “cooler” to be seen with your laptop or iPad, sipping or nursing a cup of java at that gourmet coffee shop.
But would you be less cool or have less fun hanging out with your friends at your apartment, cooking lunch or dinner together and ending the day with a movie in your own living room?
How about a gossip session with a friend over a strenuous power-walking session? You can have breakfast/tea after and then go home and get a nap or something. (You do need to catch up on your sleep!)
Ever thought of going to the library to borrow a book or curl up with your own book on your weekend?
I had to go to my local library on a Sunday morning for work once and I saw people at the library, reading, doing homework and studying BEFORE 10am! On a SUNDAY!
I was so inspired that I vowed to wake up early on Sunday to go to the library! (Of course that has yet to happen… but “it’s the thought that counts”)
My point is, we don’t HAVE to go to the mall to have an eventful weekend. We don’t need to REWARD ourselves for our five or six days of hard work, with a trip to the mall. Because, let’s face it, most of us consider going shopping as a “treat”.
It’s fine to reward yourself now and again, but EVERY weekend? REALLY??
I think we would all be much happier if we avoided the malls more.
For one thing, we won’t feel bad for ourselves for not being able to afford product A because it’s not staring at our faces. We would also save money and time — finding parking is such a waste of time!
So the next time you have a strong urge to go to the mall “because there is nothing else to do”, take a deep breathe and ask yourself, is there anything else you can do to fill your time?
Do you have a book that you’ve been meaning to finish? How about that long-lost friend you have been meaning to call? Does your closet need rearranging?
If you really have so much time in your hands, let this girl give you a few ideas on how to kill your time. She’s a real inspiration. I’ll leave you here with this video. Watch and be inspired!
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