Sucked in: Airport Shopping

Sucked in shopping at the airport?

It’s a phenomenon I didn’t really understand until one day, on the way to India, I found myself clearing customs with not very long to board, desperate to spend some money before I got on the plane. There wasn’t really anything I particularly wanted some reason, I bought some macadamia’s.

Actually, I got to the counter and thought “Hang on, what am I doing…. I like macadamias but I don’t need to spend $15 on them.  “

“Put down the macadamia’s Mark…hands where we can see them…nice and slow…step away from the macadamia’s”

Having just done it again, here’s 5 considerations about airport shopping.

  1. “Daddy, I was so well behaved”

I have a game with my daughter.  If she asks me for a present when I travel, I say no.  More often than not, she gets nothing.  When it’s the third trip in 4 weeks its taking the mickey and she only needs so many barbies/soft toys/whatevers.

This time I was away 8 days over a weekend, a birthday (mine) and a few stops.  She missed me. I missed her. She did not ask for a pressie. I already got her some glow in the sun nail polish. Guilt purchase…but oh seriously the…

  1. Prices are excruciating

 Duty free or not, I just got reamed $13 for a crock of @#$% little furry creature that is an imitation of those big eyed things that are popular just now.  Its criminal.  It’s not even a real brand but an Aldi version. Made in china, at the airport cost them $2.83 to buy in bulk and before we know it, a 500% markup earnt. Wept.  It should keep her happy…but the

  1. Quality is often crap

The worst case example – those Jenny Kee Jumpers.  The ones that look a little like someone vomited on themselves then hopped on a scooter going fast, fell into a puddle, got back on and decided to call it “designer”.  It’s actually like going into a toy store in 1978 when mass produced crap starting hitting the markets, made in Taiwan.  Somehow at the airport, alluring.  For me the exception – Oxford clothing.  I like the brand, like the shirts, prices often very, very good.  I’m happy to spend.

I saw someone wearing one of those jumpers once. Walking by themselves. Crying.

  1. Airports know our habits

Somehow they know how to get us.  Whether it’s the “Daddy away a long time” treat, airports stockists run the numbers across hundreds of airports around the world.  Placement of shops and outlets are fine tuned to extract the maximum from us. Specials, deals, colours, signage, overhang…all in place to maximize the width of the wallet opening.

  1. But why?

 People shop online, blow time saving a few bucks, scrimp and save and beg to be dropped off at the airport, don’t tip the cabbie/Uber and sail on in.  They line up, get grumpy, get seats, hand over bags, undergo the non invasive explosives test and then….

…..then the holiday begins.

At this point, people relax.  Smiles appear back on faces. They chill out.  Three bags becomes 1 small bag.  Kids see mum and dad relax.

The holiday, and the spending, just began.




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