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The Woes of Shopping in Sri Lanka – A Male Perspective

2018 Dec 4

At the bottom of every Lankan man’s to-do list – shopping. Most men secretly groan at the thought of shopping, whether it’s their semi-annual shopping for new clothes, shopping with women, or even if it’s the weekly grocery run. It can become a woeful task for a number of reasons. Here’s a short list of things Lankan men woe about shopping.

1. Trying on trousers
Officially one of the worst things a Lankan man has to endure in his life. Upon entering a tiny room with a handful of trousers, you can almost touch the misery that’s about to fall upon you.

Take off your shoes, loosen your belt, remove your trouser, put on the new trouser and if it fits, 
you’re in luck, but if it doesn’t, it’s a miserable loop you’re stuck in until you find a fit. And it’s not easy finding a fit even if you know your size because apparently legs come in many shapes, who knew? So it’s no secret that when a man finally finds a fit, he buys more than a pair just to prolong his next visit to the hell that is the trouser section.

2. Stressful shopping
What happens on the off chance that your go-to apparel store doesn’t have what you need? The answer is simply damnation. Going to multiple stores and filing through hundreds of options while forced to listen to Nickelback is a woeful experience. And who enjoys undressing in a tiny cubicle while someone’s kid cries outside? When you do miraculously find a good shirt and try it on, it’s a snug fit for your arms and body while it cuts all circulation to your head. Sri Lankan men know how hard it is to find a shirt which fits all three criteria: arms, body and neck.

3. Misleading mannequins
People say never judge a book by the cover but I say never judge an apparel by its look on the mannequin. Too many times we’ve thought “Oh, maybe that pink sleeveless shirt will look good on me too” or “I could totally pull off those ripped green jeans” only to be disappointed by our unfit bodies in the changing room. Stores need to learn that not every man in Sri Lanka is a 6 foot Levi’s model with built arms and carved chests. They are an awful marketing tool which only help rekindle insecurity in the next man.

4. Laid back ladies
It’s no secret that ladies like to take their sweet time with what they do, especially when armed with a shopping list. For many (not all) women, shopping is an experience which extends far beyond the shopping list; it becomes a social event when they run into the friendly neighbourhood aunty or worse, aunties. It’s a similar story with shopping for clothes and that’s why apparel stores are equipped with sofas, ready to accommodate men for however long it may be while their wives and/or mothers shop. It’s a sad spectacle seeing another man seated helplessly outside a lingerie store or worse, inside the textile store.

5. Sticky shop assistants
Ever walked into a clothing store knowing exactly what you want and you accidentally make eye contact with a shop assistant? Blink and they’re right next to you. Brimming with anxiety, you pray for them to leave you alon-. “Can I help you with anything, sir? Are you from Colombo? Shall we try the new arrivals? ”

Being Lankan, you take a deep breath and say “I’m fine, thank you. I’m just browsing actually.” Five minutes later you’re in the changing room plotting your escape. In fairness, not all shop assistants are vexing but there’s a difference between trying to help decide whether a linen shirt would complement your style and stalking a customer trying to force a sale at every turn.

But after hours of woeful shopping, you’re finally done. With a smile you walk past the mannequins, the trousers and quickly past the shop assistants and through the door. Puzzled, you ask yourself “why didn’t I just shop online?”

What do you woe about shopping? Let us know in the comments.

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