Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Backward Economy

Today I when to Midvalley Megamall to pick up a video light I had ordered. Weekdays are the only time I go to this place, on other days, the place is virtually impossible to park.

Even today the parking was horrendous. All the parking bays were full, I suspect it was mostly taken up by those working in the area. I had to park under The Garden and walk all the way to North Court through the basement. Not a short walk I tell you.

When it comes to parking, my philosophy is pretty simple. I drive to the location where I think parking would be easily available and park there even if it involves walking further. Like today, instead of parking at level 1, I drove straight to level 2 and drove right to the end. I figure instead of circling around on level 1 and trying to find a parking... I would have made up the time by walking to where ever I wanted to go already.

It's the same for One Utama. I almost always park my car in the same spot, in the new wing on the 4 or 5 floor right above Parkson. That way, I always remember where my car is and those areas are never full on weekdays.

However, when I do go out with Chui Yan, she would always insist I park closest to the lift or the escalator. We'll spend a few more minutes circling around. Me, I just hate circling around for parking.

While I was walking around midvalley, a lady asked me where Boulevard Hotel was. I pointed her in the direction of the hotel. I looked around and there were a lot of foreigners, tourist I assume, walking around shopping.

That got me thinking about shopping holidays. Here, the in thing now is to build a hotel next to a shopping mall. Look at Jalan Bukit Bintang, One Utama, The Curve and Midvalley. They all have hotels in walking distance.

Me, I personally wouldn't choose a shopping hotel for a holiday. It's the type of hotel that would just bleed you dry of every cent you have. You stay there, walk out and it's all sorts of things you can buy.

I walked around for a bit thinking what can I do here that didn't involve me buying anything and I realized there wasn't much. Other than reading free books at MPH, window shopping gives me the urge to buy something.

Looking at all the shops and the displays, I realized that everyone in Midvalley wanted my money, the same goes for all the shopping centres I spend a lot of time in. Heck, even some of their toilets want my money.

At least in One Utama, when I walk over from my office I don't pay for parking as I've already parked at work.

You walk into a shop... let's say MPH and you pick up a book. You turn it over and you see a price tag for the book. My thought process usually goes something like this, "RM146.00 for this book on Photoshop. Hrmm, that's like half of my overtime pay. Was it worth the 2 days of sleepless nights I spend editing? Maybe not".

I relate everything I want to buy to the equivalent amount of time and effort I put in at work. I'm basically exchanging the effort and time I put in at work for the things I buy.

Most people find shopping enjoyable... you pick something of the shelf and pay for it and walk out. Pleasure.

You go to work, spend a few hours slogging over something you'll be doing for a large chunk of your life and get paid. Tedious, not pleasurable if job satisfaction is low.

I think my utopian economy would work like this, you walk into a shop and pick something of the shelf. Flip it over to check the price... RM10.50 for this box of cereal. Walk to the checkout counter, and instead of you handing money to the cashier, the cashier actually pays you RM10.50 to take the box of cereal. Yes, the shops actually pays you take their goods away. It's a backward economy.

So now that you have all these money from consuming goods and don't actually have to spend money to buy anything, what do you do with the money? Well... you can use the money to pay your employer for better job satisfaction.

"Boss, I don't think I like editing this video... here, I'll pay more overtime to the company so I don't have to do this."

Okay, there's obviously many flaws with this backward economy. It's an utopian economy that's worst than communism but wouldn't it be more fun that way? Imagine all the sales sign you see in the shops saying %50 discount. If the price tag is RM10, they actually pay you RM15 to take away their goods. You'll be grumbling to yourself how you spend 30 minutes to find parking just so you have to come to take over their goods. Shopping actually becomes a chore instead of something pleasurable.

One would actually find work pleasurable because you're spending money there to work. All the money you've collected from shopping goes to your company/employer/customer.

Now if I was only the ruler of some island nation I could try this backward economy on.


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