Friday, February 24, 2006

Shopping Therapy a Milano? I Don't Think So!

My cousin and her fashion design school classmate interrupted their study-abroad in London this past week and came to Milan for women's fashion week. I think they liked it, although Milan itself is nowhere near as beautiful or interesting as the clothes that came off the runway these past few days. Milan may not look as pretty as many other Italian cities, but there is a particularly ugly quality here that they unfortunately discovered. The girls' fashion design scene experiences were good but their shopping experiences were terrible!

The story begins when they were treated coldly as they shelled out upwards of 100 and 200 euros for boots and shoes at the snooty, Frenchified (NEVER SHOP THERE!) Les Amis and Le Solferino (NEVER SHOP THERE!). When they later realized what said purchases would do to their student budgets, they tried to return the totally unworn, undamaged footwear to the stores that had failed to inform them of their return policies. First they met with emphatic and unapologetic "no"s and then yelling (no kidding, they were actually yelled at!) when they asked for the phone number of the store owner (which they never got).

I realize that the kind treatment one gets in stores in the States is based on commission and is probably not genuine, but I guess I prefer that to the outright hostility that I have experienced in stores here. The concept of "shopping therapy", going shopping to make yourself feel better, implies a rather vacuous approach to life, but here I have found the reverse phenomenon: I have developed "shopping aversion" in this so-called shopping Mecca.


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