Surrender to Hong Kong "Shoeflation"

Ah...yea...being busy...
Well well well! It's been a while since I last updated this blog. know...I've been busy. But I guarantee that I wasn't busy with shoe shopping - on the contrary, I'm giving up shoe shopping here in Hong Kong. 

I'm no expert in finances. But as a semi-shopaholic who supports Hong Kong's economy through shopping, my wallet is deeply hurt by the power and intensity of "shoeflation" - the extraordinary inflation of the prices of shoes. And now I have no choice but to wave my white flag to surrender my option to shop in Hong Kong. I simply can't afford it any more.

As a matter of fact, I'm not that much of a shopaholic like the one described in Sophie Kinsella's best-selling Shopaholic series. I only buy...well, bought, designer shoes at sales - not the general end of season sale but the warehouse sale, which offered a 70 per cent discount or sometimes more. 

But during a recent stocktaking of my shoe closet, it suddenly dawned on me that the Kate Spade patent leather ballerina flats I acquired during Christmas sale were the first designer shoes I purchased in over two years. I was in search of a pair of presentable flats that I can wear to work, primarily for interviews and meet contact purposes - I can't possibly walk around town on the MTR all day and I can't always take taxis, as wearing high heels has yet to be acknowledged as a reason for taking cabs in the expenses claim form. So I only bought them because they were reasonably priced, highly presentable, and practical.

I have long ago given up shopping for designer shoes, not even at warehouse sales. Prices of shoes have gone up SO MUCH in the past few years. If any media has been bothered to plot a graph tracking the prices of the Hong Kong's luxury goods, they would've easily discover that the intensity of shoeflation might have exceeded the inflation in the prices of food, rent, transport, etc. But then it's hard to back track the old prices - retailers have all the excuses not to provide you with any information. And sales are no longer sales - they are merely a slight discount of the greedily marked-up prices. What's the point going to a "sale" when you already knew that there was nothing you can afford? 

Louboutin circa 2000s HK$3,000 down to HK$1,500
Just since when prices of shoes have inflated so much? Probably eight or 10 years ago, I bought my first (and only) pair of Christian Louboutin at some warehouse sale at an Island Shangri-la event room for HK$1,500, 50 per cent off from the original price. There was also a pair of Marc Jacobs (NOT Marc by Marc Jacobs) black satin slingbacks for which I paid less than HK$1,000 at the Marc Jacobs store at Pacific Place years ago. Many of other designer shoes sitting in my shoe closet like Georgina Goodman, Miu Miu or even Valentino cost me no more than HK$1,800 after discount. That was the maximum amount I was (am) willing to pay for a pair of shoes. 

But apparently these prices have become history. No decent designer shoes are sold for less than HK$2,000 at a sale. You can never find a pair of Louboutin at anything below HK$3,000, unless when they are on an impossibly huge discount. Same for other brands. If you see a pair of high heels that cost more HK$5,000, don't be surprised. Wait till you see a pair of boots asking for more than HK$10,000 at Lane Crawford. But what are the justifications behind such a horrid increase in prices? Rent? Exchange rate? Or just greedily mark-up the prices to a historical high since these luxury goodies target at an affluent class of mainland shoppers instead of local Hongkongers? And just who are stupid enough to waste HK$10,000 on a pair of ordinarily looking leather boots? Luxury goods =/= they can put up the prices at any rate any time. If you keep buying without questioning, it doesn't mean that you are rich. It just shows that you are stupid. 

Staccato...not so bad I guess...
Most of our salaries, of course, are no match with the soaring prices for shoes. With the very same budget, now I can only afford shoes at Staccato, Joy & Peace, Millie's, Zara, etc. In fact many of them are overpriced for what they are, but at least they meet my budget. And I would only go to them in case of emergency. Otherwise I would just keep wearing my old shoes. 

If pieces of papers can be traded in the stock market and their prices can be plotted as some economic index, prices of shoes should also developed into some sort of tradable economic index. And I will buy lots and lots of it, for such an index will never fluctuate like the Hang Seng Index. It will only go up, up, up...



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