Life Stories 003

Rachael sat on a bench near a bus stop waiting for her friend, Amanda, to arrive. She had just gotten off work and as pre-scheduled, that afternoon was for her to spend some time with Amanda.

Now, Amanda always had an affinity towards excessive purchases — a shopaholic, if you will — and she could never differentiate between the things she needed as necessities for living and the things that were lavishly unimportant; what she sees and likes, she will get. If she doesn’t, her whole mood goes awry. Having come from a very well-off family, this is a typical characteristic of her financial and social standing. But, as it is, as money comes, it will always go, especially if not managed well. And it came to pass that her family fell on hard times, and it became a necessity for them to scrimp, a skill she never learned and found very hard to learn.

Rachael, who is and always was used to less, always had to work hard for what she needed and wanted (making her more discriminatory when it came to spending her energy to go after her material needs and wants) finds Amanda’s lifestyle irrelative to surviving and living. To her, it is a complete waste of time and effort to shop excessively. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t shop. It only means that when she shops, she weighs everything when regarding a purchase, and would rather buy things at cheaper places that offer up the same quality as expensive and branded things, than buy things for their brand name. She was more of a scavenger when it came to looking for the things that she needed. If anything, she did not want to associate herself exclusively to any one style. Or brand names as a whole group.

Two very different approaches to shopping from two very different people.

Amanda had expressed a wish to meet at Venetian instead of at the Taipa Stadium, but Rachael, knowing her friend, had a premonition that Amanda wanted to go on another shopping spree that would cost her a lot of money that she highly needed to survive in this ever increasingly inflation-filled world. To prevent that from happening, she had pointedly asked Amanda what they would do at Venetian without spending any money (Rachael had selective frugality). Amanda had sensed her disapproval of the meeting venue and had changed it to the Taipa Stadium instead.

Anyhow, the shopping spree was inevitable and Rachael could do nothing about it; when Amanda had her whole mind set on something, it was hard to convince her otherwise. Needless to say, a whole lot of money went down the drain that afternoon —in Rachael’s eyes, of course. Amanda felt that shopping was therapeutic, so she was feeling satisfied. Rachael, on the other hand, was feeling completely stressed out by Amanda’s lack of consideration towards the money that just got wasted on things that were impractical and essentially useless for everyday living.

It cannot be said that Rachael did not find it a good passing amusement to walk through aisles of clothing, shoes and accessories and contemplating which pieces would go flatteringly well together on herself, but at the very core of it all, she knew she didn’t need any more clothes than she already had. Also, buying in bulk is against her core principles, because she lived knowing that what she needed will come to her at the right time when she needed it the most.

She knew Amanda got a thrill out of buying things at discounts and sales because it gave off the same feeling when Rachael herself scavenged for things at cheaper stores, finding the exact top she wanted to go with the exact skirt/pants/trousers/shorts she wanted; she could relate in that sense. But she always had guilt when she bought things she did not need, because she knew how difficult it was to come by money. She understood Amanda’s ignorance to that because Amanda always got what she wanted materialistically throughout her whole life, and it is probably a difficult habit to get out of for her. But she felt that Amanda needed to also understand that money could not be spent so thoughtlessly, under the influence of emotions.

Rachael loved her friend. She really did. But sometimes, she frustrated her a lot. By the 3rd or 4th hour at Venetian, already weighed down by 2 huge shopping bags (one held two shoe boxes — the same heeled boot design, mind you, but in two different colours (and heels so high, they are most certainly impractical to walk in…like…WHY?!) — while the other held many, many shirts from Bershka), the two girls were in Victoria’s Secret. Rachael’s nose hurt from the extremely strong scents in the shop and found all the pink and lace too much for her to handle and take seriously; she always thought Victoria’s Secret was all about underwear, but it baffled her to find that the shop had more bags and perfume in stock than lingerie.

Amanda, on the other hand, had zeroed in on the lacy panties on sale, completely in her element. Rachael felt like a fish out of water and decided to stand where she wouldn’t be in the way of people shopping, positioning the shopping bags they arrived with at her feet, while launching a game app on her phone. Her only wish throughout the 30 minutes stuck there was that the shop’s management might consider adding some sort of seating (there was definitely enough room for a small little bench in one corner) in the future for people like her.

Also, she doesn’t get what the point of lace is on underwear. Is it really just for aesthetic appeal alone? How could any of those things be comfortable to wear?!

Once that was done, she was finally relieved that the shopping was done, but was feeling completely awful since she felt like an accomplice in the loss of money towards things not needed. Amanda decided to take a taxi home and Rachael walks her to the taxi stand. They bid each other goodbye and promise to meet up again soon.

Rachael is now brainstorming ways to pass the time sans money in Macau, which is an impossible task in itself. There’s just no free amusement that would be compatible with Amanda, but she won’t give up. Rachael, after all, is always hopeful, even in the face of the impossibly difficult.

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