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Stores stay closed in Macau

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closed stores in MacauOne thing I still haven’t figured out about Macau is why you see so many closed shops downtown.

It seems that at all times of the day, at least half of the stores have their metal shutters down or iron grates drawn. Or both.

There’s no information about opening hours, no sign ‘Out to lunch’ or any indication whether these shops will ever open up again.

half the shops are closedIt seems that on any downtown shopping street, at least half of the stores will be permanently closed.

Is this due to the current financial crisis? Were all these shopkeepers forced out of business?

Or do they just open at such irregular hours that I never happen to chatch their stores open?

Things are different in Macau than in other Asian cities

The Macau shop-opening hours are definitely in stark contrast to practices on the Chinese mainland.

closed shop in MacauStores in Beijing or Shanghai, for instance, seem to be open for business almost around the clock.

The same applies to cities in other Asian countries like Vietnam or Cambodia.

I wonder why.

But whenever I’ll think of Macau in the future, I’ll remember it as the place with the drawn shutters.

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Written by Thorsten

May 15, 2009 at 7:21 am

Window shopping

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Many shops in Bhutan aren’t actually stores you can go into.

They are basically just store windows.

You do your shopping from the outside and tell the shopkeeper inside what you want.

And to make things easier for children or smaller Bhutanese, there is usually a little stepladder in front of the shop window

You’ll often also see people sitting on the top step of these ladders, chatting with the shopkeeper inside the store

Since you can’t go into the one-room shop to browse, the store windows also serve as showcases for what’s on sale.

That’s why they are usually totally overloaded with merchandise: strings of candy, bananas, shoelaces, mints, belts, pineapples, potato chips.

Sometimes these little shop windows display more stuff than the SEARS catalogue.

Written by Thorsten

October 14, 2008 at 5:07 am

Abercrombie & Fitch is Zeitgeist

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can I take him home? If you want to feel the pulse of NOW, go to the Abercrombie & Fitch store on New York’s 5th Avenue. I went there a couple of times last week and discovered that this place really embodies our Zeitgeist.

The first time I entered the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store, I was pretty irritated. It’s dark in there.

There are only a few spotlights on the clothes they sell – but these spots really aren’t sufficient to judge what color the t-shirts, sweatshirts and jeans are.

You basically have to guess the exact shade or color. Or you have to drag the piece you want to another corner of the store in the faint hope that the lights will be just a little stronger there… (they’re not)

Mom will never believe these clothes are new

Ah, but what great things Abercrombie & Fitch has: jeans that are destroy-washed, t-shirts with stitched-on lettering that is artfully torn to make them look like they’ve been through a thousand washes and sweatshirts that look like a family of moths had a feast in them, so full of holes are they.

But that’s the style! And everyone wants to have it! The store was always packed whenever I visited it. And almost everyone who went in came out with huge shopping bags.Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bag

Another thing that sets A&F stores apart from places like the GAP or Banana Republic is the music in the stores: it’s loud, it’s constantly upbeat, and it’s always the same!

On my frequent visits to A&F stores in New York last week, I kept hearing the same songs again and again. Which would really get on my nerves if I worked there…

All in all, the music and the scarce lighting make A&F stores feel more like a club than a clothing store.

And don’t forget the scent: that’s something else that is unique to A&F. Go near an A&F store and you’ll be able to smell the place before you see it. The whole shop smells of the A&F fragrance, which they spray liberally over the clothes. I guess they also use it as an air freshener and make the staff put it on.

Models pose as salespeople

And that brings me to the next point that’s so NOW about A&F: the personnel. I don’t want to call them salespeople, because that wouldn’t seem quite right. First and foremost, they are beautiful people.

smooth to the touch and nice to look at I guess their most important function in the A&F store concept is to model the clothes and to make the customers feel like they would look just as gorgeous if only they wore the same A&F outfits.

One day, for instance, all the store personnel were decked out in the same gray sweatshirt (needless to say that they all looked awesome in them). When I went back to the store the next day, I noticed that the place was completely sold out of those gray sweatshirts. I guess the modelling did the trick.

Watching how they do it

Out of curiosity, I then just sat in a chair in the store’s waiting area and watched the store personnel. (The waiting area consists of a couple of lounge chairs, where stressed-out husbands, wives, mothers or friends wait while their loved ones are still lost in the dark maze of the store trying to find just the right outfit).

I sat there for a while and observed what the store personnel were doing. Or not doing. Most of them just stood in pre-assigned places, smiled at the customers and said their hellos and good-byes. And, of course, they looked amazingly beautiful.

One of the salespeople was approached by a few customers and answered some questions, another one folded a couple of t-shirts. But apart from that, they were just a decorative element of the store. What a job…

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Smooth to the touch

But the most “zeitgeist” thing about A&F must be that they have a bare-chested guy wearing a pair of A&F jeans standing in the store’s entryway to welcome customers. Pure sex. A&F even supplies a photographer to take your picture with that half-naked hunk. And you get to keep the polaroid to take home.

The polaroid. Not the model.

get the picture

Abercrombie & Fitch Casting

Written by Thorsten

April 24, 2008 at 8:32 pm

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