Shopping in Korea:
“A waygookin trying to spend money.”
“Oh f*ck no, not again…”
I love retail. Shopping is a hobby of mine and it’s hard to beat in Korea. When shopping in Korea, prices are cheap and clothes are cute. With the 4 drastically different seasons (cue massive eye-roll from the expat community), there are plenty of opportunities to switch up your look. Shopping in Korea is a bitch. It doesn’t have to be, however. Korean retailers could opt to take advantage of the massive number of foreign workers (and their hard-earned won), but for some reason refuse to acknowledge this insane opportunity for profit. I love you, Korea…but I’ve got some questions for retailers in the land of morning calm.
What’s the deal with “One Size Fits All”?
I fit into your OS clothing most of the time (yes – even non-stretchy stuff), but frequently things are just too short (I’m 5’8″ tall). Skirt and pant length in Korea call for a whole new article (a belt is not a skirt, ladies). It’s ridiculous that given the changes in Korea over the past 50 years you still assume that everyone is the same height. Most of the Korea women in my workplace are actually quite tall. While many of them are slender, most of them are actually quite voluptuous. I don’t mean fat, I mean that several of them actually are taller and curvier than I! Aren’t you tired of operating at a loss having to discount all the clothing that really should be labeled “one size fits 20% of our population”?
Why do you insist on being c*nty to foreign shoppers?
“As of September 2015, according to the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, the foreign population in South Korea, including migrant workers, increased to 1.8 million, accounting for 3.4% of the total population.” – Chosun News. That’s a rise of nearly a quarter of a million people over a period of 4 years. I would estimate that we’re closer to 2 million migrant workers leading into 2017. It’s not like we’re new, and it’s clear that we’re not going away (at least not en masse) anytime soon. You’ve had a significant number of migrant workers in your country since before most of your retail associates were born. Why won’t you reprimand your employees who are little shits to your customers?
I don’t have a Korean body, but I fit into your clothes just fine. I’m tired of being told I’m not allowed to try on clothing because I’m wearing makeup. It’s especially offensive when I don’t have a lick of makeup on. I’m aware that you think I’ll stretch out your apparel, but newsflash for you Mr. Walter Cronkite – I won’t. When I’m treated differently because I’m a foreigner, I tell my other foreign friends. When I’m treated well, I tell my friends, followers, and people in line for coffee. You complain about how Native English Teachers make more money than Korean. Guess what? We spend more, too. There are plenty of ESL Teachers who don’t have bills to pay off and who enjoy shopping in Korea every…damn…weekend. Get with the program and train your staff to treat all clients with respect.
Why does your footwear detract from every outfit?
When I moved to Seoul from Busan I was so concerned about not having an adequate wardrobe. I live and work in an area adjacent to Gangnam. The first time I went to Apgujeong I actually dressed up. What a waste of time! Most people have masks covering their faces (whether it be pollution or surgery). What I’ve really noticed in both Busan and in Seoul is the footwear. It’s atrocious! You see these beautiful women in perfect outfits sullied by filthy, faded, knock off ASICS Sneakers. You’ve got 7 seconds to make a first impression. The first thing someone notices about you are your shoes, and you choose these? At least I have an excuse – I’m waiting for my eBay order to come in because you won’t supply shoes larger than a size 8!
Did you know that there are black people living in your country?
Holy shit! Korea is no longer a homogeneous society! Now, you not only have multicultural societies popping up all over Korea, you’ve got their kids, too! You lucky, lucky industry. You would think that you’d figure out you’re completely missing the K-Beauty market beyond Asians. The question I see come up the most in the expat forums is where to buy foundation for darker shades. We were actually just talking about it this weekend with Star – 87Pages (pictured above with Mika The SeoulChild) and Sam – Expat and the City. You don’t have to come up with something new altogether. Places like Olive Young, LoHB (a Lotte brand), and Watson’s would make a killing if they imported products designed for black women. Know the audience in your industry.
P.S. Big thanks to Olive Young and Son & Park for bringing in the Shading Presso. I needed bronzer and was about to spend my life’s savings over online at Sephora. This product was designed for contouring, but I pretty much just blend it all together and make my face look less pasty. Beauty blogger in the making right here, ladies and gents.
Korea, I love you but shopping in Korea is bringing me down. When I want a new pair of kick-ass sneaks I shouldn’t have to go on eBay. I shouldn’t have to be hustled out of a store, or directed to the men’s section. Last time I went shopping in Garusogil and had planned on buying outfits for a friend of mine and I. The dresses fit fine in each store and the prices were reasonable (expensive, in fact, by Korean standards). They just weren’t what I envisioned for a night out on the town. I didn’t need to hear “big size-y” while in the fitting room. Hell – I didn’t need the side-eye when I walked into your boutique. You need to give your head a big ol’ shake and realize that H&M, Zara, and Forever21 (pictured above) have cornered a market in which you should easily have jurisdiction…you’re just xenophobic.
That Girl Cartier