From Madras to Manila

Monday, November 07, 2005

Shop @ Work

The post on megamall should have made it all pretty clear - the national pastime of all Filipinos is shopping. Ask them their weekend plans, and they will nonchalantly tell you that they have exciting plans. They are going 'malling'.

This is paradise. Gigantic malls everywhere. Shops hawking everything from terrific clothes to shoes to gorgeous pearls...I couldn't have asked for more.

Or Could I?

It gets a bit much, shops, shops and more shops. Unending variety that confuses you, actually leaving you with no choice. Unending masses of people. All looking suspiciously like you do. Which happens, coz no matter what the variety, the human race, especially the female kind, tends to gravitate towards exactly the same kinda clothes and accessories.

After a few initial weekends spent 'malling' and in turn getting mauled, I decided to take it easy. I decided to stop shopping. Amit was ofcourse, disbelieving. But after a few weeks of me not shopping, he was ecstatic.

At least he was happy for a while. Because I soon discovered a really convenient shopping option. Lots of variety, easy payment plans, no crowds at all - a shopping paradise! My office.

Shop @ Work

It all started one day when I noticed my colleagues (mostly women, but is that topic of another blog) crowding into a cabin and there was excited babble that made one naturally gravitate to the place. I found the women swooning over some very nice lingerie...really nice stuff. I found out that the head of unit, a really senior person (the occupant of the cabin) was the one selling. Her family runs this as a business.

Next I noticed all women wearing the same shoes to work - you guessed right, again courtesy an office mate. Then I managed to find someone who made out of the world pasta and sold it at work. I also found the worlds best butter cake & brownies, right at my office.

I was zapped! In India, one is wary of anything even close to furthering the cause of a friend/relative, much less actually selling their stuff in office! But here it is all kosher, happening under the benign eye of senior managers. I spoke to my colleagues - everyone has a 'side' business. The salary they earn - mind you, my company is supposed to pay decent amounts - is simply not enough to keep with expenses of this country. Veggies, utilities, now fuel, everything here is expensive. In fact, the cost of living here seems to be at least 2-3 times that of India with white-collar incomes averaging 20-30% less than what one would earn back home. So most people are forced to add to their income by selling stuff@ work!!!

Maybe its time I started selling Indian accessories & clothes so I can afford the out-of-this-world brownies at work. Partnerships solicited!

6 Comments:

  • OK, now I know it's not just my office. At my office people sell jewelry, shoes, bags, pillow cases, and there's a guy that takes orders for pirated DVDs, which he picks up and drops off for you.

    By Blogger Christina, at 10:44 AM  

  • Wow, even pirated DVDs? That's a new one.

    By Blogger Amit, at 11:26 AM  

  • I am sure the idea of selling Indian stuff@work is great.

    I would love to buy Indian food @work so that way I dont have to take a detour on my way home from work or cook after getting home :-)

    BTW, Its nice to know what you guys are upto in Manila :-). I enjoyed reading your blogs!! Keep them coming.

    By Anonymous Madhavi Chikka, at 4:59 AM  

  • The phenomenon of shopping at work is prevalent in India too.

    My wife, who works for a public sector company, has purchased (mostly)dresses through a guy who comes to the office and displays saris and churidhars. Apparently, he has quite a good thing going. I can easily imagine some "maamis" selling pickles, appalams, vadams etc.

    A few months back, we had a stall setup at my company where some guys were selling shirts, shoes etc.

    Of course, we havent had our colleagues doubling up as salesmen..at least, not so far !

    By Blogger Vibhu, at 3:04 PM  

  • but wont your collegues get fired for moonlighting now?

    By Blogger Sumit, at 9:24 PM  

  • Manila - expensive? Oh I don't know. Depends where you're looking and the big malls aren't the places to look. Malls, like any other around the world I think, bleed your pocket dry! Except when they're on sale.

    By Anonymous esd2005, at 12:06 PM  

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