If you woke up this morning to the sound of a dull thud against your apartment’s front door, it can only mean one thing, January 5 fever. That’s right bargain-hunters, we’re all being summoned to partake in the one of the greatest testaments to consumerism — The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF).
And what was that thud against the door, I hear you ask? Well, it was more than likely a fat & glossy catalogue brimming with gold-encrusted festival specials from outlet stores that won’t discriminate against your credit plastic of choice or country of issue; this is after all, the Arab version of the American Dream — and probably the only time you’re going to go broke saving money.
The men with prior festival experience jumped out of bed the moment that catalogue ricocheted off the door. Hell, who are we kidding? I’ve yet to meet a man who can remember, with any decent precision, something as fascinating as the start date of the shopping festival. They’ve been jumping out of bed for months leading up to this day, in the hope of intercepting the scoundrel.
Those who were quick off the mark, either hid or ate the catalogue. The only evidence of this treacherous act against the Malls of Dubai: a sour gold ink aftertaste which was used to pen the price tags. But of course, devouring the pages will only buy you a few days of sanity. It’s next to impossible to compete with the festival-drenched street flags, radio ads, text messages, junk mail, Facebook or spam flowing freely to an account you have no jurisdiction over.
Those who were dragged from sleep in the early morning hours to frantic page flicking and devilishly excited eyes scanning the pages top to bottom and back to front — only to pause briefly at a particularly good “bargain” — have already been pre-booked to aimlessly wonder the malls in tow for the next few months.
You can spot them, the unprepared victims, miserably standing outside shop entrances chewing their cud while watching other — similarly condemned — men chewing their cud. The more adventurous of the creatures may venture inside pretending to be interested in the latest A-line with pink flower highlights — all the while rolling their eyes and dreaming of a restful night on the sofa.
Don’t know about you, but in my book, ploughing a path through hordes of bargain-crazed fashionistas who go gaga over minor tone variations, sits somewhere between having my balls stapled to the back of my neck and the chapter devoted to anal irrigation.
And if you’re a patsy standing in the mall, one of these poor bastards in for the long-haul, for goodness sake, at least this year, grow a backbone, learn how to say no and avoid writing cheques you can’t cover. Otherwise, Dubai will be more than happy to welcome your well-padded virgin ass into one of their purpose-built debtors’ prisons.
In prison at least, you’ll get a bit of rest from all that wild shopping, compose your thoughts and figure out how you’re going to scrape together all your pennies to repay those ridiculously large debts. But this isn’t the Ritz, and you may need to share your cell with a guy named Gupta who’s been here since the Festival of 2009 — the poor bastard bounced a cheque buying a flat screen TV for his grandparents. Imagine their shock when a few weeks later, on that very same television, they watched their pride and joy being carted off to prison.
A new roommate is nothing to get apprehensive about, Gupta is a perfectly well-rounded individual. In fact, after an intimate conversation, Gupta put your mind at ease by promising that you’ll never again have to spend hard-earned money on anal irrigation.
But don’t despair, there is help available. If you do find yourself in some tiny spot of bother, and you happen to be a HSBC Premier customer, I’m sure they’ll transfer you that emergency $2,000 you’re going to need to pay for a lawyer and feed your Prada-donning brood back home. But do it quick, before they also realise your bank accounts should have been frozen and an additional two years added to the punishment.
And if you’re not a resident but simply one of the millions who were bussed in by Emirates Airlines, rest assured that you’ll be placed on the next available plane back home at the first sign of a credit limit. Ain’t consumerism grand?
How does that MasterCard ad go again? Porsche Boxster: $61,300, Prada jacket: $1090, Louis Vuitton wallet: $442, your first kiss with Gupta: priceless.
Let the Shopping Games begin :)