More Meaningful Consumption

As the weeks wind away, it’s become imperative to start shopping for others beside myself.  A whole semester gone and what can I show for it? Over twenty large H&M bags; five yellow Forever 21 Bags; countless black baggies from the Han City market; and about 15 new pairs of shoes… purchased all for little ole modest me. Needless to say, I’ve put in some work on my behalf.

Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve reciprocated this effort for anyone else.  An entire gift list of twenty-five people and not even half has been accomplished.  So this week I set off to undertake the challenge of more meaningful consumption. While I have excessively enjoyed the captivating global capitalist markets in Shanghai, it was time I explored a more intimate, traditional market…so Nicky, Chai Lu, Dan Van Note, and I made it a group excursion and made our way to the fabric market.

Unlike the fake market vendors who aggressively pursue a sell, the atmosphere of fabric market was less chaotic and overall more pleasant. While you can still experience a rush from your exclusive purchases (I did), the contrasts between the two market environments are stark. Unlike the markets catered to the vast global consumerism, the fabric market maintains a certain genuine, hard-working feel. Probably attributed to the fact that you are granted the ability to make personal exchanges with the producers of your future items, the intimate setting of the individual fabric market vendors has definitely been an enjoyable experience.

And of course, since mommy deserves the best, I made it my mission to bring her back a little bit of “traditional” Chinese culture.  So a qipao made by a lovely elder couple from the fabric market was the obvious perfect choice. What these vendors offer in their quality of work and amiable exchanges are priceless.  No international market can compare to this.

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