Sunday, January 22, 2012

Don Quixote: Madness or Magical Shopping Experience?

I'm a shopper, plain and simple.  And not just for clothes, purses or shoes either.  I mean, I'll shop for almost anything - office supplies, books, kitchen gadgets, bedding, you name it and I'll buy it.  I'm not sure how long into our relationship Rich learned this about me, but I first realized that he
had discovered my penchant for shopping when one day, as a result of me being in a funk and in an effort to cheer me up, he said to me, "Honey, why don't we go to Ala Moana?  You know shopping always cheers you up!"  I'll admit, I was a bit shocked and mildly embarassed by his statement, but also quite impressed with how perceptive he was.  The offer was so endearing that it alone was enough to get me out of my funk (note that I did not say I didn't take him up on his offer).  If you've ever shopped with me, you know that I'm a no nonsense shopper.  I will generally take a quick stroll through the shop and if I don't see anything I want or need, then I'm out. I don't like waiting in lines, I'm not a fan of having to go through piles of stuff to find that one shirt, and stores that have too much stuff or too many people in it give me anxiety.  In sum, I don't do well in places like Ross' or Nordstrom Rack or Costco on the weekends for that matter.

On one of my recent Tokyo trips, we stopped at the Don Quixote store in Akihabara.  Coming from Hawaii, I was familiar with Don Quixote ("DQ"), which has always intrigued me.  Seriously, what do Don Quixote and a blue penguin have to do with each other and more importantly, what do they have to do with Japanese/Asian goods?  According to the DQ Hawaii Website, the answer is: nothing.  The website does, however, state that DQ's three pillars are: convenience, discount and amusement. Let's analyze this:
  • Discount:  I am not yet familiar enough with Japanese prices of specific items, so I can't comment on whether DQ's prices are low enough such that it lives up to this pillar.
  • Convenience:  There are DQs everywhere in Japan, including one about 5 minutes away from my house, which I suppose could support the convenience pillar.  DQ puts themselves out there as a retailer of everything, which would support this pillar if it weren't for the fact that, as discussed below, it could very well take you between an hour to....oh, um, possibly NEVER to find what you are looking for.  Plus, some people don't do well with too many choices - I'm not naming names, but you know who you are. 
  • Amusement:  This particular DQ was 8 floors and as soon as we got off the escalator, I started to feel claustrophobic.  As you can see from the pictures, there's stuff literally piled from the floor to the ceiling and little (to no) rhyme or reason as to where things are located.  In fact, I didn't want to stray too far from my friends for fear of getting lost in an aisle filled with fake eyelashes and never seeing them again.  On balance, I think the hoarder-ish quality about the store combined with its anxiety inducing (mine) environment = not amusing.

Notwithstanding that analysis, I will continue to patronize DQ as they are the only locale that I know of for purchasing certain items, namely this cheese that my friend recently introduced me to and Pareso (lychee liqueur).  Alcohol and know, the important things in life. :)

1 comment:

Marissa said...

i shop the same way! i'm a mannequin shopper. if i don't immediately see it (like on a mannequin) then i won't bother rummaging through anything. haha. judging from those photos, i probably would have walked in, then walked right back out.