So, shopping night is over, I got home about five hours ago. It was cool for the experience, and reminded me of what I imagine Black Friday to be like, from watching too much Bloomberg TV: companies trying to get in the black before the year ends, and thus employing techniques that encourage spending.
Watching too much Bloomberg can make you into a local Scrooge but that’s not what the holidays are about, so I headed into the unknown (for the night at least): Passeig de Gracia. First thing I noticed was that we (finally!) had our city holiday lights lit:
It was nice to see how some stores pulled all the stops, like Custo Barcelona with their pop-up store, Mango with the live classical band, and Stradivarius with all that awesomeness that I didn’t quite stop to experience, but that was nonetheless going on in front of their store.
Aww men, I spent the better part of an hour queuing up in front of Hotel Mandarin Oriental, to taste renowned chef Carme Ruscalleda’s brou (a type of soup). Alas when we finally got in, the guide merely took us on a marketing spree, here’s our awesome spa, there’s the bar, here’s our huge lobby. But what about my… soup? :-) I think it would have been nice if they told the people queuing that the 120 litres of soup they were hoping to get a bowl of were gone. At least we would have been able to decide whether to continue queuing there or to go and see if the Swarovski store still had Harper’s Bazaar Espana magazines left. Which was what I did after. But by this time even the once-generous cotton-candy servings in Oysho were beginning to wear thin. Argh you Hotel Mandarin peeps.
I went into the Tiffany & Co. store for the first time and they gave me some thick marketing materials in the pretty Tiffany blue. I felt sad to let go of them after, but despite my good intentions, I seem to not be into their jewelry.
I think the night’s winners were 1. The stores that even participated in the Shopping Night at all. 2. The stores that had more to offer than point-blank marketing. 3. The stores that, regardless of their price range, went all-out, like Stradivarius. They are very high-street, but if you had seen the red-carpet showcase in front of their store, you would have thought it was a Zegna store opening. Zegna, alas, was closed for the night. 4. The fancier stores that participated, like Hoss Intropia. 5. The stores that offered deals. Like Custo with that genius pop-up outlet store. The place was packed.
There were peaceful protesters in (scary) all-white outfits and masks. They were protesting consumerism. I was happy we got to see both sides of the coin. But I sincerely think darn, it’s the middle of a (post)-recession-austerity-measures-haircut-no-more-funding-for-this-and-that period for Spain (and many other countries) and I would personally not like it if everyone stayed indoors in protest, during such a colourful event. Tonight was a testimony to people’s resilience, which I hope would not be tested much more than it has been. Besides 4 above, I didn’t see buying as much as I saw queuing up for freebies. Even then, many of us have family members and friends whose bread-and-butter comes from commerce. It’s how currency circulates, from rich to poor, from middle class to other middle class, etc. Use your purchasing power to determine how you want the currency you are responsible for to be redistributed. But don’t hoard it, and don’t push your choices on others, some of whom are just ready for that new winter coat (finally), that new laptop bag, that new shirt. Or who just want to go out on a night when shops are open till midnight, and have a good time with friends.
Here are some more pictures. If you went, let me know your experience, and which activities you enjoyed. Please also check out our full web site, where it’s all about fashion and bags! :-)