Saturday, January 14, 2012

Shopping, Swiping, Spending in Europe

Traveling in Europe is expensive; the basic necessities alone can take you months or years to save. Don’t forget to budget some for shopping. What is Europe without shopping?

I did not have the budget to shop for the high-end brands because I still can’t grasp the full concept of having designer bags anyway. I’m more in shopping in stores which are not yet in the Philippines concept. If you are a fan of Louis Vuitton and the like, then shopping will be a serious part of your agenda. 

The long line in an LV store in Paris.

What you need:

Make sure you have sufficient credit limit in your credit card. Build up your credit history. Call your bank to request for an increase. Before you leave your homecountry, make sure to call your bank and inform them that you will be using the card outside the country.  

You credit card should have a chip. Some restaurants and supermarkets used the magnetic strip. But most of the big stores and ticket counters only accepts the credit card with a chip.

If you are worried about letting your credit card out of sight, they have the credit card terminal visibly located in the counter. These are not the standard credit card terminals we see in our malls. You will insert the credit card yourself vertically, in the terminals. The cashier person will punch in things. Sorry, can’t really elaborate on the process and I wasn’t able to take a picture of the terminal. 

The usual brands with a description in different languages

The shopping experience

I noticed that when I shopped, the salesladies/salesgentlemen/sales people leave me alone. I don’t get stalked around the shop. There's no blabbering salestalk. I’ve walked out a countless times in PH shops because the sales people are just plain irritating. I know I know, it is their job to be attentive to the customers. But please, not to the brink of stalking. Please? I am one of those people who would like to look around first and ask for help if needed. If I really like the item, I will find and hound someone to help me with it.

I got to grab and fit 8 clothes in one go in H&M in Paris. I didn’t have to fit just 3 and leave the others behind. I ended up buying just 2 dresses. Peacefully. Without the irritating scripted sales talk or with the salespeople mindlessly fussing unnecessarily. In peace, I tried on the 8 outfits and chose my purchase.

A lot of items are made in Asia...
Dresses were made in Indonesia and Cambodia.
Accessories were made in China and India.
Socks and stockings were made in Turkey and Italy. I grabbed both types. I ended up liking the pair which were made in Turkey.

I got three Longchamps Le Pliage in Galleries Lafayette for a whopping € 195. I couldn’t help myself and bought another LC in Schiphol Airport and shelled out another € 70. After all, it would be my last purchase. And anyway, my actual food expenses were significantly less than my planned budget. I plunged on buying.

Aside from the relatively cheaper prices and the non-nosy salespeople, I LOVE EUROPEAN SIZES. They offer this psychological confidence and boost to purchase the dress. Hahahaha! For local brands, I’d fit a size medium or large. But I can fit in the extra small sizes! I know, it is psychological, but it makes you want to spend more. 

I particularly loved the fit of one H&M Basic dress that I bought. I was itching to buy the dress in other colors. I learned that there was H&M in Seoul and I was planning on conquering the racks there. But I saw the SAME dress in a different color in Forever 21! The size is still “Small”. Teeeheeeheee.

I am not encouraging you to spend and break the bank. Don’t max out that card if you don’t have anything to pay for it when the bill comes. I am encouraging you to budget some for shopping.  

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