As our beloved Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker from Sex & the City) once said, “I like my money right where I can see it, hanging in my closet.”
Many of us may live by that excuse to spend heaps of money on hording brands or ‘adding onto our collection’, but for Chandigarh, the trend of going for a stroll to the mall and returning with bags full is fairly recent. The shopping craze in the city remained limited to driving up to Sector 17 till a few years ago. And then came the mighty multiplexes — first, Fun Republic, Manimajra, then Centra Mall, Cety Centre (IT Park), Paras Downtown Square and finally, our latest obsession, Elante.
Opening up to a roaring response, the recent malls has brought in hi-end international brands like Zara, Marks & Spencer besides multi-brand shopping stores like Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle. While we may be exhilarated to finally have those brands in Chandigarh, is the growing mall trend urging us to indulge in impulsive shopping? Do we often walk into the mall, return with bags full of exorbitantly priced merchandise that we seldom need and face the deep stabs of regret as we get home?
Alka Sharma, lecturer, Government Polytechnic for Women, Sector 10, says, “Present day marketability, presentability and the super market setting persuades a customer to buy things for the simple reason that they look tempting. Once you set your mind to it, you have to buy it; even if the monthly budget goes for a toss. As time passes, these impulsive shoppers are then hit by the Buyers Remorse syndrome — a sense of regret after
having made a purchase.”
Telling her own tale, Kanchan Chugh, homemaker and mother of two from Sector 28, avers, “It’s probably the peer pressure that leads to the urge of buying all things grand. My recent indulgence has been at Zara at Elante mall. The store left me dumbfound with its collection for women and kids. The price tags, however, left me dumbstruck, thereby, burning a hole in my pocket. The excitement of buying something ‘nice’ passes away soon, leaving you with fat bills to pay.”
On the growing popularity of mall culture, Shrikant Joshi, chief executive, Larsen & Turbo Realty, says, “We designed Elante keeping in mind the lifestyle and taste of tricity residents. We deliberately included an eclectic mix of international brands, some options in food and entertainment, and best-in-class multiplexes, to give the city what it was lacking. Now, consumers don’t need to travel to Delhi to shop for their favourite brands. So far, it’s just been two weeks since the official opening of the mall, and we are witnessing a very encouraging response.”
Besides exorbitantly priced brands, multi-brand stores such as Lifestyle and Shoppers Stop have also been introduced to the city lately. Govind Shrikhande, customer care associate and managing director, Shoppers Stop (which now has an outlet in Elante) says, “The mall culture is built on the premise of impulsive discretionary spending. With shopping, food, and entertainment available under one roof, customers can easily spend the entire day at the mall. Consequently, with a mall that pulls in steady traffic, brands immediately get a pool of customers who have the time to spare, a hefty wallet and aspirations to fulfill. ”