Mallin’ Rouge: Consumer Facets

By: Olivia Hunt

There are many facets to the consumer or mall goer: as shopper, as chooser, as communicator, as character explorer, as pleasure seeker, as rebel, as victim, as activist, and as citizen. As shoppers, mall goers’ time is characterized by window shopping and malling; exploring and shopping have become one. The consumer, in having a purchasing power, also has the power of choice.? He/she has the option which or what to buy, or whether or not to buy.? Bus riders are said to be “enemies" of the mall because their lack of car ownership could well reflect their little spending power, rendering them undesirable. Again, however, this may not be true for Filipino consumers. Commuters or those without their own vehicles seem to have as much spending power as car-owners.

As the act of consumption is seen by Postmodernism as a communicator of meanings, so is the consumer seen as an artist whose purchases are the brushstrokes of an ongoing cultural process.

Their act of buying and spending are the essence of consumption. As a character explorer, the choice of individuals—especially teenagers—is driven by image consciousness. As a pleasure seeker, the consumer and his act of consumption is argued to be largely driven by the search for pleasure as a total emotional experience. This may be why there are people who go to malls simply for rest, recreation, or relaxation. As rebel, a consumer embraces icons of rebellion and disaffection: symbols like body-piercing jewelry, cigarettes, lighters, hairstyles, alternative music, motor bikes, bleached and torn jeans.

Consumers are sometimes seen as victims who are blind to the fact that they are victimized. This is said to happen when they are unconsciously lured by marketing messages, gimmicks, or ploys. But when consumers complain about a purchase, they should get their way (“the customer is always right") with the shop or salesperson for them to be appeased and return.

The citizen as a political animal is the belief that the good life can be attained through political actions. The good life is also sought in markets. Someone willing to sacrifice personal pleasure for communal wellbeing is considered a good citizen. Citizen consumers are those who try to drive their own governments to act for the general welfare of the society. Perhaps those who champion and patronize Filipino products are examples of citizen consumers.

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