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3 High Risk Moments Singaporean Shopaholics Should Avoid

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Joanne Poh

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Singapore might be the safest country in the world, but for shopholics, it could well be one of the most dangerous.

Advertisements scream out from every corner, hawking everything from essence of chicken that apparently turns kids into PSLE top scorers to solutions for sufferers of male pattern balding. Whether you’re staring blankly around you on the MRT or heading to a shopping mall food court for a quick bite, you can’t help but be accosted by yet another exhortation to buy or sign up for some package.

If you’ve ever tried to sneak into your bedroom without your parents or spouse noticing the number of shopping bags you were trying to hide behind your back, here are there high-risk moments during which you’d probably be safer plugging into your headphones and keeping  your eyes on the Korean drama serial playing on your iPad until the danger has passed.

 

Bored in front of the computer

I once overheard a foreign exchange student at one of our local universities express surprise that his Singaporean classmates stayed glued to online shopping sites or blogshops on their laptops throughout every lecture.

And if you have one of those colleagues who stays at the office till 10pm every day but doesn’t seem to be doing much work, chances are one of his or her browser tabs is open on ASOS or some such online shopping site.

Thanks to the rise of online shopping, Singaporeans don’t even need to leave the house or the office to get their shopping fix, and spending hours browsing mindlessly through hundreds of shopping site pages is quite common for bored locals. If parcels are always landing on your doorstep, it might be time to stop wasting all your time on the internet and interacting with some real people.

Tip: Focus on avoiding not just online shopping sites but also on surfing the internet for leisure. Listen to music as you work instead of surfing the net, read a book on the train instead of using your smartphone and put on a movie when you’re at home instead of logging on to Facebook.

 

Social engagements in shopping malls

As Singaporeans, a great many of our social engagements take place in shopping malls, even if we don’t particularly want to shop. It’s just the nature of our landscape—a huge number of restaurants and cafes are situated in malls. If you watch a movie on Orchard Road, you’re pretty much stuck circulating through giant malls all day.

Letting a shopaholic run wild in a mall is like letting an otaku loose at a comics convention. Even if you’re just there to meet a friend for a coffee, you’re bound to walk into shops, since every square inch of your surroundings has been converted into space that’s designed to earn as much money from you as possible.

Unless you’re being escorted by a prison warden, the risk of drifting into your favourite H&M outlet is just too high while waiting for your late friends, on the way to the MRT station after your appointment or simply wandering around aimlessly to while away yet another Sunday afternoon.

Tip: Gone are the days when Orchard Road was the only place people could hang out. There are so many (relatively) shopping-free areas that are frankly a lot more pleasant to spend time in than some crowded, noisy shopping mall on Orchard Road (Tiong Bahru , Holland Village, Siglap, Serangoon to name a few), so spend your free time at these places and out of temptation’s way.

 

Breaks during work

If you work in the CBD, you’re in a high risk category of employees. Business owners in the Raffles Place area know you probably have money (assuming you’re not working at the Boat Quay McDonald’s branch), and they’re determined to make you spend it, even if you’re just on your way to lunch.

There’s a reason the area around Raffles Place MRT is so dense with shops that you can barely walk to your office from the MRT without being distracted by countless shops selling OL-ish clothes, shoes, G2000-style outfits and designer stationery (the latter make a killing during the Christmas season as office workers rush to buy gifts for their colleagues).

Tip: You don’t need to bring your entire wallet out with you during lunch. If you usually eat at food courts or hawker centres, a $10 note will suffice. That will stop you from picking up a new smartphone cover or blouse as you try to de-stress during lunch.

On what occasions do you end up shopping the most? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.