Auckland: City of Sales

Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

 Kia Ora, which is hello in the Maori language. How international is that? Welcome to post #34, coming to you from Auckland, the “city of sails”, or as I’m referring to it, the city of “sales”. Same thing, right?

Why I’m worried. I’m worried, people. And it’s because:

  • last year, most of my clothing (and accessory and shoe) shopping was done while we were travelling overseas. I estimate I spent at least $3500, maybe more, on clothes, shoes & accessories while travelling overseas. I love shopping in the USA – so much choice in styles and sizing (+ sizing options for people with short limbs like me), the quality is very good and the pricing is also good. I did most of my shopping in California (March and November – which is when the photo to the left was taken – the most amazing treasure trove of an accessories store in Oakland), Dallas (August – where the consignment stores live up to the name of the State – they are big). It was the last trip to San Francisco which I’ve now realised tipped me into pausing for reflection and wondering if it wasn’t time to take a breather on all this shopping.
  • this is the first trip we’ve had overseas since starting this challenge on December 15, 2009. I am committed to this challenge, for sure. And, I know how strong entrenched thought and behaviour patterns can be to break. Good for me (and my bank balance and my personal code of finishing what I start) that I know this — I know have this pattern of buying stuff when I’m travelling overseas. The internal dialogue goes something like: “hey I’m overseas — what a great opportunity to buy unique stuff I can’t find at home! It will be such a great reminder of my trip! Remember when I found these shoes in Shanghai? Remember how I happened upon that handbag in Hawaii? Oh, and what about nearly getting thrown out of Century 21 in New York City for trying on this shirt in the winter coat section because I wouldn’t stand “on line” for 25 minutes to go into the changing room?” You get the picture. And that internal dialogue lady – she’s real convincing.
  • New Zealand has great clothes, accessory and shoe shopping. Yeah, baby, this is some of the best shopping I’ve encountered. There seems to be a preponderance of wool available in this country which seems to have influenced the fabrics you find things in and has had a flow-on quality effect. There’s ticks in the innovative and quality boxes, although “dirt cheap” doesn’t score particularly well. Guess the answer there goes something like: you get what you pay for, right? The photograph to the left was taken just this afternoon at a gorgeous store on Auckland’s north shore. You’ll be pleased to know that I only paused briefly to take the photograph then I moved myself along quick smart. No lingering to look at the tantalising window display. Nosiree. Even with that bloody sandwich board out there telling all the world they had a sale on.
  • The Melbourne Storm were framed. Ok, I just made that up, but some people are worrying about that, if the humongous number of comments being made at the moment about this salary-cap-breaching, scandal-attracting, free-powerboat-accepting team are anything to go by.

See my problem?! I have succeeded (well, mostly) on the challenge so far by using avoidance as my primary strategy. Stay Away From The Shops! It’s a good strategy. It works. When you’re on holiday, particularly in a chic urban city like Auckland (more on that in a sec – is this city gorgeous or what?), avoiding the shops is kinda awkward. Today we went into a shopping centre (to buy riveting items like a camera battery and gel inner soles — I’ll stop there in case you fall asleep halfway through my next shopping item. It was nail clippers. Ha! Told ya anyway… Still awake?). I passed a number of alluring stores with clothes, accessories and shoes in them. Didn’t go in a single one. How’s that for resolve?

And the consolation prize is… what I have done instead of lurking in clothes, shoes and accessory stores is visit homewares, gift-y type and stationery stores. Today I visited Smiggle, Isabel Harris, Living & Giving and Red Current. All kinda funky in their own way and I wasn’t tempted by clothes or shoes in any of them. Mainly because those stores don’t sell clothing and shoes.

What’s in a name? Although the names are an intrigue, aren’t they? One presumes that Isabel Harris is a real living breathing person who inspired/created that enterprise, so that one is at least straightforward. Living & Giving could be a sub-branch of the Red Cross or an assisted living facility for active seniors with a community outreach program. Red Current could be the name of an action film starring JCVD or perhaps some kind of hybrid dried fruit. And Smiggle is just a made up name, surely? A cross between a smurf and a wiggle (or Wiggle), maybe? A more eclectic group of names, for a similar kind of shop you’d be hard pressed to find, I reckon.

What’s my plan? Good question. What is my plan? Since avoidance is working so well for me, I’m going to try to stick to that. Auckland has so many funky areas in it that are worth visiting, and not all of them have boutiques in them.

Apart from parlaying my shopping interest from clothes & shoe shops into gifts/homewares & stationery stores, I might also focus on the joy and experience of just being here. Soak in the atmosphere, appreciate my surroundings. Instead of downing my last drop of chai latte and heading into the stores, I’ll linger a while and people watch at leisure.  Like I’m doing a good impersonation of doing in this photo to the left. 

Sounds like a good plan. Right?

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