Monthly Archives: September 2006

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Her Ramblings… Just for fun, and for extra credit.

 

This essay is part of a series I wrote for an English composition class during my freshman year at Purdue University (whole series listed below). While the first big assignment was a short autobiography, we had the freedom to choose our topic for the next four set of sequenced writing assignments. I chose to cover women’s shopping … for obvious reasons. Hope you find them well.

1. A Box of Chocolates: A writer’s biography
2.Women’s Shopping: A personal experience
3. Compulsive Shopping: A literature review
4. Mother’s Words of Wisdom on Shopping: An interview report
5. Organize Yourselves, Shopaholics!
*   Her Ramblings… just for fun, and for extra credit.

 
 

During my first semester attending Purdue University, I took a preliminary English composition writing class. We have five big assignments to account for this class, and the first assignment was a brief biography of ourselves. The next four assignments are one set of sequenced writing on a specific topic. Mine was on shopping as an activity, and the financial aspects of it as well as the joy of it. Just for the fun of writing, I wrote another piece for extra credit. I hope I can share with you the joy of reading and writing English literature.

Behold the radiance from the mighty sun! Feel the zephyr brushing against your body, and then listen carefully for the message it brings in its whispers. Ho! The waves of Ibiza are approaching your way from a distance, and it sings a song so mellifluous and so lyrical at the same time that you can’t help but heed the words uttered by each splash and thump your feet to follow its rhythm. And it sings: Liiistennn tooo whaaat I haaave tooo saaa– kringgggg, kringggggggggg, KRINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

Good grief! Now you are telling me that it was all a dream? Reality is such a nightmare, I thought. So I went back to sleep again for some time when I realized that it’s a Monday! Then I quickly got off from my messy bed and brushed my teeth so hastily that I still had a lump of white foam sticking onto my peppermint-scented lips when I jumped into the shower. After grooming myself for what seemed like forever, I munched the last two pieces of bagels on the kitchen shelf and gulped my now half-empty chocolate-flavored soymilk, then hie me to the front door before I miss the 9:00 AM bus.

What a luck, I gasped. My speed proved to be worthless. The moment I caught my last breath was the moment the bus rode off from the bus stop. Sigh, how could I forget that it’s a Monday? Now I have to sacrifice some my points for the next assignment, just for being late!So then I tapped my feet impatiently while thinking I had to waste half an hour of my day just to wait for the next bus. Hold on. On second thought, no, I decided to make effective use of the time to continue reading Totto-chan: the Little Girl at the Window, the best-selling novel by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. That way, I would feel like time was flying.

Soon I was so immersed in Totto-chan’s tale that I didn’t realize the bus was waiting for me to hop in. I closed the book and got into the bus, feeling a little relaxed then after the rush earlier that morning.

“Next stop, Purdue Memorial Union.” I quickly got off the bus and ran towards Hovde Hall, the building where I have my College English Composition class for that semester (Spring 2007). That was my earliest morning class, and also the class that I was late for.

Nevertheless, it’s always better late than never. On that day, my generous instructor, Tom Glass, informed us about the extra credits he was willing to give for the class. Although I realized that I had been doing well so far throughout the semester, I still had the urge to write in every opportunity I could have. And so here I am, sitting in front of my Sony VAIO laptop, typing out my reflections of how I’ve done so far for this class while sipping a cup of hot latte. As I am pondering about the five assignments I had done, I come up with the decision to emphasize on the different and similar attitudes that I had to face these assignments.

The first assignment, Writer’s Autobiography, was basically a review of my life as a writer. I was to narrate the story of my development in writing ever since I got to know the alphabets. At the beginning, I briefly described my pre-teenage years when I used to write my personal problems and contemplations into my first journals. This was actually the underlying significance of my life as a writer. It not only cultivated my interest in writing today, but as I grow older, it also triggered me to stop myself from being narrow-minded and expand my thoughts to those topics that have a larger sphere, such as science and politics. Consequently in the field of art, the more an artist receives critiques and suggestions for their artworks, the more he or she will learn from their mistakes and improve in the future. However, to me, becoming a true artist takes more than manifesting your ideas successfully through visual means. I challenged myself to express my ideas verbally as effectively as I draw. Over the years I write more and more, and my sore hands were soon replaced by my energetic fingers that type like a robot on computers. Since then, I have always taken the advantage of my freedom of speech on the Internet, specifically to blog, up till today.

Just as how the first assignment has given me the opportunity to express a huge part of myself, the following assignments, too, has enabled me to write in my very own unique style, except that this time I had a lot more freedom. The assignments that were given since then until the end of the semester were part of a sequenced writing project, of which I would write about one topic that I’m interested in and would like to find out more about it. Since I was given that much freedom, I, without any hesitation, took the chance to write about what every woman loves: Women’s shopping.

The first part of this project was about my personal experience with shopping, when I spent a total of US$600.00 during the first three months I came to America for college. Then I had to interview my mother to ask for information about organizing a proper financial life, which was relevant, especially after the bad experience I described in the preceding assignment. Although the interview have helped me more than enough in changing my shopaholic habits in the future, I still had to do a literature review, where I did my research about how shopping addiction works and ways to control them. In the process, I think that it was fun to know the differences between shopping habits of men and women, especially when I found out that men buy what they are looking for, and women buy what they are looking at, and then ending up buying too many unnecessary items that they later regret. These three leading assignments turned out to be very helpful later on when I was working with my argumentative essay, of which I stood for the opinion: Shopaholics should record monthly transactions of their expenses in shopping for clothes and accessories. This time, I had to add a paragraph of audience analysis that turned out to help a lot in guiding the tone of my essay.

Just by seeing how distinct each assignment from one to another, there is no doubt that I definitely had more or less different attitudes when facing these assignments. One thing that I have practiced throughout the semester was to insert my personality into each of the assignments. Personally, I enjoyed working on the interview report most, as I was allowed to not only exhibit my own shopping habits, and therefore, my personality in the paper, I could also include a brief story of my family, especially my mother. I feel very excited when I can tell stories about the things I love, which includes shopping. But I became more enthusiastic when I can talk about shopping and also about the people I love together. I figured that when we write about what we love the most, it would give extra meaning (…and extra points too! For your information, I’ve got the highest point for this paper) to the essay, just like a love letter.

However, whenever there’s love there’s always hatred. I didn’t hate doing the literature review assignment, but I dislike the idea of summarizing. Although the assignment was pretty straightforward to me, I think that the result was boring. When summarizing, we were supposed to make a paragraph of the important points from an article, so we had to omit the details. To me, the details given in an essay give the most significance to the writing. Without giving specific examples for the reader, he or she would not fully understand our ideas. This is actually why I have always written papers which are longer than the length assigned, just like the one I am writing now. On the contrary, not many people would like to read a long paper just to get an idea, unless they are willing to find out more about what they are looking for and therefore, are willing to read the details of the essay. From my experience in writing a literature review in this class, I now notice the importance of writing a summary.

Now that I’ve talked about my reflections for this class, the attitudes I had when facing the assignments, and also brief opinions about them, I would probably go wash my tea cup and hope to get an A, and then get ready to sleep. Who knows I can go back to Ibiza island to listen to the whispers of the wind and to hear the songs of the waves, tuning up the hymns from Café Del Mar. Ahhh… paraíso! (and let’s hope I will never be late for class again!)

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

 

Organize yourselves, shopaholics!

 
Edited by Tom Glass
 
 

This essay is part of a series I wrote for an English composition class during my freshman year at Purdue University (whole series listed below). While the first big assignment was a short autobiography, we had the freedom to choose our topic for the next four set of sequenced writing assignments. I chose to cover women’s shopping … for obvious reasons. Hope you find them well.

1. A Box of Chocolates: A writer’s biography
2.Women’s Shopping: A personal experience
3. Compulsive Shopping: A literature review
4. Mother’s Words of Wisdom on Shopping: An interview report
5. Organize Yourselves, Shopaholics!
*   Her Ramblings… just for fun, and for extra credit.

 
 

How do shopaholics define adrenaline rush? The answer is very simple. Picture yourself inside a fitting room at a boutique store, squeezing in the drop-dead gorgeous dress you picked out right after the moment you spot it. Then you close your eyes and say: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Slowly, you open your eyes, and you are astonished. The mirror tells you that you will be the center of attention at the party tonight – the party that will be jam-packed with the hottest designers in town and the most coveted models around the world; how perfect can it be? While you are getting all agitated with your own imagination, you don’t take much notice of the price tag that was printed USD 999.99 on it. You swap your credit card without much hesitation, since you’re going to pay the amount back by the end of the year anyway. Now I would like to ask one simple question: What if this happens once in every month for a year?

The sum of the expenses per month will be equal to 12 times USD 999.99, and I dare not say the total number of digits the result has. If you think again, the large amount of money could have been used for buying necessary groceries, for paying electricity bills, and also for providing your children, if any. This is why it’s so important to keep track of your expenses on a regular basis. This is also why, in my opinion, shopaholics like you and me should record the monthly transactions of our expenses in shopping for clothes and accessories so that we can practice a better financial management and set aside that money for better use, and also more importantly, to gain control of our temptations to avoid wasting money on the things we end up not liking that much.

As I have mentioned earlier, you could have spent the amount of 12 times USD 999.99 for the things you need more than dresses that you are only going to use for one night. Keeping records of your personal expenditures per month will help you reveal your spending “weak spots”, as recognizing patterns of impulsive purchases can help you avoid the reoccurrence (CIGNA Behavioral Health, 2003). For those of you who already have a family, I thought that giving a little information about my mother’s method of financial management from our interview early this month (Ng, personal communication, April 2007) can be very useful.

As a parent of three children, of whom I am the only daughter by the way, and also as a loyal shopper, mother has an efficient way to draw out the plans for the family’s needs and her own very clearly. She keeps three individual journals for us children respectively, recording every Chinese herb and other essential food supplements that she has bought for us on the journals. She has also set a specific amount of budget for each of our three housemaid monthly wages, and also for the amount she allows herself to spend within two months. For her personal spending, she keeps those transactions she made within the two months in another separate journal of her own. This way, she’s able to reflect her own spending with her own budget, and if she thinks she has spent enough for her own needs, she would use the rest of the budget to buy groceries to provide the family.

From the example I have given, keeping an organized plan for your financial life and also a budget for ourselves and for others has proven to be a benefit. Following a budget is not a matter of pinching pennies. It’s just deciding exactly where those pennies should go and following your plan (“Shopaholic?”, 2007). Also, if you reduce your clutter, organize your stuff, and create routines, your stress levels will go down immensely (DePaz, 2006).

Now that you know how record keeping can help in managing your life financially, I shall explain how it can also help in developing abstinence from spending money quickly and freely. Although I am a little young, I know for sure that all female shoppers have the same attitude towards shopping as opposed to male shoppers. Men usually would stick to their mission, and women would expand their mission, but not abandoning them (Maguire, 2006). Men generally do a lot of research first before buying an item, whereas women would not be as interested in the details at first and explore what other items are there in the store (Maguire, par. 16). Based on my own experience, I will have to agree with Maguire’s beliefs of women’s attitudes towards shopping.

During the first three months when I first stepped intoAmerica for further education, I indulged myself into spending a total amount of US$600.00 recklessly on clothes and accessories alone. I picked out the apparel that immediately caught my attention and grabbed the skirts, dresses, bangels, necklaces, and shoes altogether without reconsidering buying them in the first place. Whether it was because I often see them on the runway on Fashion TV or because they look good on the mannequin displayed, which doesn’t necessarily look good on me, I handed them all to the cashier and swiped my mother’s credit card thoughtlessly. Because of this, I was scolded by mother for hours on the phone, which were hours spent on a long-distance phone call and also a huge amount of phone bill I had to pay for. Since then, I have kept records of all of my transactions so that I could keep track of how much I’ve spent.

Besides that, I have also done a lot more online shopping than before. Online shopping is beneficial in such a way that I can compare prices of the same item from different stores so that I can get the best deal (Germain, p. 3). Also, usually online stores require a shopper to create an account for setting up something called an “order history” that records all of your past transactions. Since online stores have provided me this record-keeping service, I won’t have to keep another journal for that use like what my mother does.

Nevertheless, mother also has her own way to control ourselves when shopping. Until she married father, she had this principle that I can briefly describe as “don’t need, don’t buy”. As a teenager, she was forced to buy only the things she needed as opposed to the things she wanted. However, getting married to a wealthy man didn’t make her spend all the money within a flash of light. Instead, she incorporated the principle of “don’t need, don’t buy” that has already been rooted on the ground of her beliefs, along with her desire as a child back then to spend some of her money on the pretty clothes and shoes she longed for, and made a whole new idea of buying both what she needs and also what she wants.

Take the example of her thoughts when deciding whether or not I should buy my colored toric lenses. Toric lenses are specially made according to the degrees of our eyes, but are available in both transparent lenses and also in colored ones. Back then, if it was my mother who had to enhance her vision, grandmother could have bought her a pair of spectacles, considering that she must only buy what was needed. However, colored toric lenses are worth the amount so that we can see more clearly. Moreover, they are made in color so that our eyes can look more dramatic. Since it was both needed and wanted, mother almost immediately agree with me on purchasing the lenses.

Based on the examples I have mentioned, being aware of how much we have spent can improve our abstinence from shopping compulsively. It means going cold turkey on the credit card purchases, which is the most difficult step for many people to take (“Shopaholic?”, 2007). However, this difficulty is made simpler by keeping records of transactions, most preferably collecting them at the end of each month as a routine. This way, you won’t be constantly thinking that you thought you had something you had to do – you willknow what you have to do (DePaz, 2006).

However, what use is a transaction record anyway if I’m already able to control my money, you may ask. I understand that some of you shoppers who have lived for more than 20 years from nowhave found other ways to shop sensibly. You may have practiced safekeeping your credit cards once in a while, handed themtemporarily to a trusted friend, or limited yourself to only one or two all-purpose cards (CIGNA Behavioral Health, 2003). Nevertheless, keeping each and every record gives you a written document that you can review whenever you go for a shopping spree. It not only constantly reminds you how much you have spent for the month; it also exercises our mind to differentiate between our needs and our wants. For example, those of you who have never practiced record-keeping before, you would probably swap your credit card carelessly right after you saw that gorgeous dress you’re going to wear to the A-list party. When you said you need that dress, did you mean you went to the mall to look for a piece of clothing to wear for the event, or did you see the dress first, and then decide to go to the party after that? If your answer is the second option and at that time you don’t have your transaction record with you (which reminds you how much you have spent), you might actually think that you want it so much that you will be wearing it often, since you “need” it and want it so badly. After a few months of the moment you swap your card for that dress, you realized that you need to find a supportive reason to give that dress away to your sister. How ironic is that?

Given the examples I acknowledged above, I would like to stress my opinion once more on the huge advantage of record keeping your monthly expenditures in your life financially. As loyal shopaholics, we should not only have the skills in predicting fashion trends and good sense of style, but also understand how we can manage our money wisely so as to avoid wasting our money on the things we won’t like for long and also to spend that money for better use instead. Who knows when you will spot the latest lovely model of Gucci’s handbag, but end up realizing that you don’t have enough money to purchase it!

 

References:

CIGNA Behavioral Health (2003). “Overcoming Shopaholism“. Retrieved March 2007.

DePaz, L. (2006). “Clutter = Stress“. Common Connections: The Health Connection. Retrieved 19 April 2007.

Germain, J. (2005, November 1). “Attention Internet Shoppers: The Web’s Best Product-Comparison Sites“. NewsFactor.com: E-commerce. Retrieved March 2007.

Maguire, J. (2006, January 25). “Men, Women, and Shopping Online“. SmallBusinessComputing.com: Online Marketing. Retrieved March 2007.

Ng, M. (mother). Personal Communication. Conducted on March 2007.

StanCorp Financial Group, Inc (2007). “Shopaholic?” TheStandard. Retrieved April 19, 2007.

 
 

Stacia,

I am glad you found a topic that you enjoyed writing about. In this paper, you used an effective mixture of published sources, interview material, and personal experience, and together those sources of information not only support your argument but make you seem credible as well.

I have enjoyed reading your papers this semester, including your extra-credit paper. As I have told you before, you have a lively writing style and a lively imagination, and that’s great. As you take other courses where writing is required, you may have some teachers who prefer a more controlled writing style with less personality injected, and in those cases you should definitely adapt your writing to suit those teachers’ requirements and preferences. (It’s always helpful to practice different types of writing, anyway.) However, I think most teachers appreciate some personality and uniqueness in papers that they read, so I hope you are able to adapt your style to different writing situations you may face in the future.

The other thing I hope is that you are able to follow your own advice and control your spending. Not only will your mother appreciate that, but if you get married someday, I’m sure your husband will appreciate it, too! For now, good luck with your blog, and have a nice summer.

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

 

Mom’s words of wisdom on shopping: An interview report

 
Edited by Tom Glass
 
 

This essay is part of a series I wrote for an English composition class during my freshman year at Purdue University (whole series listed below). While the first big assignment was a short autobiography, we had the freedom to choose our topic for the next four set of sequenced writing assignments. I chose to cover women’s shopping … for obvious reasons. Hope you find them well.

1. A Box of Chocolates: A writer’s biography
2.Women’s Shopping: A personal experience
3.Compulsive Shopping: A literature review
4. Mother’s Words of Wisdom on Shopping: An interview report
5. Organize Yourselves, Shopaholics!
*   Her Ramblings… just for fun, and for extra credit.

 
 

“Mom, I need your credit card information to pay for my new contact lenses. Please reply me ASAP.” A few seconds after I select the button “Send Message” on my mobile phone, my home telephone rang. My initial reaction was: Whoa, since she’s the one who made the call, then I won’t have to pay the phone bill for this session!Considering the “free” long-distance phone call, I decided to take advantage of her time and come up with some questions I have to askher for my interview report assignment in my writing class.

“Are you fine, darling? Have you eaten your dinner? Here’s the information you asked for. By the way, I just bought Louis Vuitton’s latest Damier Canvas handbag! What do you think?” It’s obvious why I chose her as my interviewee just by listening to her first sentences on the phone. Mariaty Ng is a parent whose job is to control all of the financial aspects in her children’s lives. She’s also a woman who has spent 23 years of her married life learning how to resist her shopaholistic temptations upon receiving a monthly paycheck from her husband. Most importantly, she’s also a shopaholic herself who adores fashion, but knows how to manage her financial plans as a shopper, as a parent, and as a housewife. But the question is, how did she learn to balance her expenditures and savings at the same time while upholding both her responsibilities and her personal desires? Since the greatest lessons we learn in life are mostly based on personal experiences that we encounter through time, I asked her to flash a little blast from the past in chronological order: Before marriage, before children, and after children.

Before marrying father, mother was a very timid teenager. She had a very restricted life back then because my grandmother was overprotective. Mom wasn’t very happy with her monochrome life as a teenager – colorless in such a way that she never got the chance to be given what she truly wants versus her needs. During those times, mother resisted her inner desires by confining herself to achieving good grades, eating proper meals, and getting enough rest – basically doing what was needed to be done, only to satisfy her mother. So whenever she went to shop for clothes, the reasons were simply because the old ones were torn or because she gained weight. She listened obediently to her mother when she said “If you don’t need it, don’t buy it”, but grandma never knew that she dreamed of marrying someone soon to escape from her “prison.”

It was after my parents got married that all mother could see was the real world outside of her tiny bubble. The marriage was her dream that came true, because father was the one who went to her rescue from prison, and also happened to be someone who came from a wealthy family. For the first time in her life, she was given the freedom to buy whatever she wants. Although she was finally given the privilege to spend her money in any way she wanted, she never left behind the “don’t need, don’t buy” idea from her mother whenever she went for a shopping spree. The idea left permanent footprints throughout the rest of my mother’s life, and it would largely affect how she manages her money from then on. Whenevershe’s shopping, this idea would cross her mind and make her either reconsider buying the item, or, if she liked the item, she would compare the same item with many different stores just to pay for the lowest price possible.

It didn’t take more than a year until my elder brother was born. The thought of my father providing full financial support for starting a family also came to mind, especially when father and mother decided to have only three children, of which, by the way, I was the youngest and also the only daughter. Ever since she became a mother, she has always held the responsibility to prevent herself from blundering parenting needs with her personal happiness. Children’s needs became the first priority ahead of everything else, so there was a decrease in the amount of expenditures on clothes, handbags and shoes as to her year of honeymoon.

As we can see from these experiences mother had been through in the separated timelines of her life, the foundation of her present shopping habit came from grandma’s idea of “don’t need, don’t buy.” The question now is, how does she actually apply all the things she has learned into her shopper’s life today?

What I’ve noticed over the years is that she keeps each of us children a journal containing records about the expensive Chinese herbs and other essential food supplements we’ve consumed each month, since her children’s health is on top of her priority list in parenting. As for our allowance, father is the one responsible for handing 25 USD to each of us every week. Mother also fixed a specific amount of wages for each of our housemaids per week and also a number of 1,000,000,000 Rupiah (approximately 10,990 USD) as the maximum amount of money she can spend for her personal shopping activities within two months. Since that maximum number was pretty huge, she kept another notebook for herself to record every major expense she made, such as Louis Vuitton’s Damier Canvas handbag, which costs up to 1,030 USD. This was done to keep track of her own transactions so that she won’t faint at the end of the year when she reads her annual credit card billing information from the bank. Thankfully, she only buys expensive goods once in every two months, because the larger sum of money was meant to be spent on weekly grocery shopping. Now the question is, what are the things she considers before buying an item?

Let me give you an example of how shopping works for her when deciding whether or not I should buy my contact lenses. Colored toric lenses are specially made according to your doctor’s prescription if you have done an eye checkup recently, which is why they are very expensive. You can no longer find colored toric lenses in Indonesia, as the optical services have stopped ordering for imports of this product. For this reason, my mom suggested me to buy this type of lenses while I am in America, no matter how much it costs. She wouldn’t mind if it was so expensive that she had to sacrifice her personal shopping days.Like I said, her children’s needs are above everything else.

Although to some people toric lenses don’t have to be colored, having the color itself is just for the sake of fashion. However, toric lenses that are tailored to the degrees of your eyes are a must to enhance your vision. Besides needing the item, fashion is also in the wish-list. So in this case, mother has no problems at all in handing over a huge sum of money in return for the many advantages. That was how she had suggested colored toric lenses over normal toric lenses for me.

“…So the important thing is for you to think carefully whether something is worth buying or not; are you going to use it often? Is it durable enough for you to use it longer? More importantly: DO YOU LIKE IT?” Of course she doesn’t want to be like grandma who wanted her daughter to find only what she needs, without listening to the deepest desires within her daughter’s heart. She understood how I want to make shopping an activity that I can enjoy as much as possible, and also came up with a system of managing her finance to provide basic family and housing maintenance. Even though she is not responsible for her children’s weekly allowance, as a mother she has to teach us how to shop sensibly and why should we do so. Otherwise, she might really faint at the end of the year and we would have to ask dad for help. Nevertheless, mother’s belief in buying only what I need, but also what I like, is what truly makes shopping not only useful, but also enjoyable.

 
 

Stacia,

Your paper is not only entertaining and informative, but it also reveals quite a bit about your mother’s life and her values. Great paper! My only question when I finished reading it was this: Do your brothers have the same kind of shopaholic tendencies as you?

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

 

Compulsive shopping: A literature review

 
Edited by Tom Glass
 
 

This essay is part of a series I wrote for an English composition class during my freshman year at Purdue University (whole series listed below). While the first big assignment was a short autobiography, we had the freedom to choose our topic for the next four set of sequenced writing assignments. I chose to cover women’s shopping … for obvious reasons. Hope you find them well.

1. A Box of Chocolates: A writer’s biography
2.Women’s Shopping: A personal experience
3.Compulsive Shopping: A literature review
4. Mother’s Words of Wisdom on Shopping: An interview report
5. Organize Yourselves, Shopaholics!
*   Her Ramblings… just for fun, and for extra credit.

 
 

Imagine a scene in a department store where there are many different varieties of apparel, shoes, handbags, and jewelry and other accessories on sale, waiting for the crowd of women to grab them all frantically to the cashier and recklessly sliding their credit cards. In contrast, the section for men’s clothing sales are completely untouched – folded shirts are neatly arranged on top of the other, uncluttered belts are hung tidily on the other corner, and dirtlessshoes are arrayed on the front display.

From the example, we can see that in general, women have a lot more to shop than men when it comes to shopping for clothing and accessories. This is why women usually spend a huge sum of money,most of the times impulsively. In order to avoid this problem, I am going to introduce the various ways we can control ourselves when shopping. Having done my research, I learned some effective ways that include involving selection in our shopping sprees and using the benefit of modern technology in providing the Internet to browse various merchants’ web sites for bargains. We should also try to write down the items we need before we go on our shopping sprees to make ourselves focus on finding the things we listed instead of putting the items we want hastily into the cart and end up regretting it.

In “Attention Internet Shoppers: The Web’s Best Product-Comparison Sites”, Jack M. Germain lists websites that offer shoppers the tools to find items with the best prices. These websites are separated in different categories. The first one is called the “Best of the Breed”, which includes comparison-shopping websites that provide consumers with numerous products, with some of them serving easy navigation, and updates about certain products for the consumers. The second is the “General-Purpose Comparisons”. These websites highlight the products people usually find during their mainstream shopping sprees. Germain also said that these websites, like the ones categorized under the “Best of the Breed”, also allow shoppers to compare the prices of particular products and also customer feedback. The last one is the “Industry-Specific Sites”, which consists of “specialty products” that requires the consumers to collect different information for the best deals. Germain also mentions that Delly Tamer, the CEO and founder of LetsTalk.com, said that “the vast majority of visitors use this site for research.” With online shopping available, consumers now can save a huge sum of money, not only because it largely involves selection, but also because they don’t have to consider the travel expenses to reach the stores.

However, making comparison-shopping online does not guarantee a woman’s addiction to shopping. According to James Maguire in his article on “Men, Women, and shopping online”, women tend to extend their shopping sprees from focusing on buying one item to ending up purchasing more products, without abandoning their goal of buying the first item they thought of. In contrast, men have an opposite behavior when it comes to shopping. Men only focus on their goal and they do intense research in comparing prices for the best deals. Knowing that men and women have distinct behaviors in shopping online, stores online have to design their pages that represent a mix of lifestyle and product focus. Maguire also said,”What we found is that women are enticed by lifestyle, then product; men are enticed by product, then lifestyle.”

A “litmus test” was taken to examine whether some web sites were able to attract both men and women or not. This test tells us that in order to appeal to all consumers, these web sites have to focus on their level of friendliness and have a story that combines all individual products into one. For the convenience of shoppers from both genders with distinct shopping behaviors, web sites have to provide shopping carts online that also serve as permanent storage for items they thought of buying. It helps them to compare prices and to reconsider buying the items when they come back later. Thus, this will lead consumers to think about other factors such as wants and needs.

In CIGNA Behavioral Health’s “Overcoming Shopaholism”, the author recommended shopaholics to write down a list of wanted and needed items to differentiate between them so that they can control themselves from shopping impulsively. While trying to control their temptations, especially after spending a huge sum of money, shoppers can also rely on a trusted person to hold his or her credit card temporarily until he or she is ready to use it again. In the future, the author suggests that these shoppers should develop a habit of keeping records of transactions made to keep track of expenditures. This is to prevent themselves from repeating the same mistake again, that is, to spend money carelessly. While some of us are able to use these methods by ourselves effectively, the writer also says that there are agencies that can help shopaholics to manage their expenditures.

There are many ways to practice shopping sensibly, especially after understanding the three types of online comparison-shopping sites and the differences of men and women in shopping. Germain’s and Maguire’s articles are very much similar in a way that both relates to online shopping, which, according to Maguire’s article, is a better way to shop using selection. Since the main problem in shopping for women is controlling expenditures, the articles by CIGNA Behavioral Health helps in giving a lot of information to tackle the problem. As mentioned in Maguire’s article, women tend to “expand their mission”, and therefore they often buy more things as opposed to men. A woman can learn to list down her wants and needs to guide her when she is shopping. This will help her in overcoming her temptations and developing a habit of spending money responsibly in the future. Just like what the writer says, “Writing down your own wants and needs before you go shopping can help you control your credit card purchases.”

 
 

Stacia,

One reason this paper is effective is that you’ve done an excellent job setting up the topic (in the introduction) and tying together the main points the authors made (in the conclusion). These are things you did based on information that other people (the authors) provided. It’s not always easy to bring things together as naturally as you did here, but if you have that ability, it is a great plus for your writing because it means you’ll be able to link different parts of research projects, studies, and so on, and that is a major part of academic writing. So congratulations!

I should repeat from my comment above that you should go back and look at my comments about singular-plural nouns/verbs/pronouns. You seem to have some confusion about this. Let’s check your next paper and see if you are still having trouble getting singular and plural items to agree. And if you have any questions about any of my other comments, let me know. By the way, you don’t necessarily lose points for everything I comment on, but you seem to enjoy writing, so I try to point out things that I think you might benefit from knowing. Anyway, keep up the good work, and please do your best to wake up earlier!

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

 

Women’s shopping: A personal experience

 
Edited by Tom Glass
 
 

This essay is part of a series I wrote for an English composition class during my freshman year at Purdue University (whole series listed below). While the first big assignment was a short autobiography, we had the freedom to choose our topic for the next four set of sequenced writing assignments. I chose to cover women’s shopping … for obvious reasons. Hope you find them well.

1. A Box of Chocolates: A writer’s biography
2.Women’s Shopping: A personal experience
3.Compulsive Shopping: A literature review
4. Mother’s Words of Wisdom on Shopping: An interview report
5. Organize Yourselves, Shopaholics!
*   Her Ramblings… just for fun, and for extra credit.

 
 

Imagine you are walking uphill on a pavement along a broad street among the fast-moving crowd, with countless fashion boutiques to your left and far right. As you move forward, you can’t help but glance at both directions, where you find displays of mannequins clothed under stylish apparel with matching leather handbags and pretty shoes. You then think of yourself in the outfit, one by one from each collection, thrilled to step into each shop to try on those pretty things, but don’t know where to start. Then you see a lovely white dress that stands before you, and your world suddenly becomes enchanted with fluttering butterflies and songs of nature. You then walk towards the shop without a second thought, as if lured by the dress and its charms. Then you feel the smooth silk on your bare palms, and decide to try it on in the changing room right away. Later on you walk out of the shop with that dress in your hands and a smile on your face. That’s when you taste the zest of shopping.

Shopping is literally the purchase of goods that largely involves selection. We visit different stores in search of merchandise, and we bargain for the item we are looking for to an agreeable price. However, the modern popular culture has a whole new definition of shopping, especially for women. There is more to buying the items we listed beforehand before we start our shopping spree – there’s also temptation, emotion, competition, and of course, diamonds. After all, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

Every piece of a diamond is as precious as a woman. It is bold, beautiful, and valuable indeed. Everyone loves the sight of it, especially as a piece of jewelry to adorn a beautiful woman. Other women passing by will turn green just by looking at each of her graceful gestures, and turn to their men for cash, or strictly speaking, diamonds. Diamonds, because of their characteristics, possess power. Therefore, any woman who puts on a piece of diamond indicates her decent social status and respected family background. That is when competition comes in among women, and the burning temptation at the sight of these precious gemstones. Diamonds, too, play with emotions. That is why we don’t find it unusual when we hear a woman asking questions like “Money, or love?” Indeed, even a piece of jewelry alone can cause such problems. Ironically, this is also the case in shopping for clothes and accessories.

Just as diamonds have their characteristics, each type of apparel, too, have their own. A particular apparel design may fit only a specific group of person, depending on the personalities of these shoppers. With every new design released each year, new trends also arise every couple of years. These trends generate the same problems diamonds do. They have their appeal to lure women fighting for social class and recognition of power. This is also why women often bring home things they later regret having purchased. Take the example of the financial problem I have experienced when I first settle down in the States to further my education.

The problem I had was pretty radical. I thoughtlessly spent a total of US$600.00 within the first 3 months since I stepped foot onthe United States without myself realizing, and that amount alone was devoted to shopping. Before the States, I have always been treated as a princess at home. My parents buy me gorgeous clothes without me asking for them. Therefore, I didn’t have to worry about financial matters at all. However, this simple life turned upside down when I entered college life abroad.

I understood that this is my chance to explore the world outside, and indeed, I was taken to huge cities such as Indianapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Thank goodness Lafayette is not an urban city where you can find lots of retail stores of famous clothing lines, because those cities were where I spent most of my money.When I visited those cities I mentioned before, I saw shops that I don’t see here in Lafayette and was so delighted that I frittered away US$200.00 within a flash of light. I browsed each dress, skirts, and shoes with brief glances, and picked out the ones that immediately caught my attention. These are the apparel that often appear on the runway from television shows and from fashion magazines. Although there are a few garments that later made me smile as wide as yours when you held your white silk dress, many of the others were not worth the purchase, because I don’t really like them all that much.

One example was the diamond pendant necklace I bought a few months ago. It looks a lot similar to the necklace worn by an actress who played the main role in a Korean drama I once watched. It’s because of a popular scene in that drama, where they showed how important Polaris is in giving directions that made the pendant design famous. The design has a series of stars in different sizes assembled into one vertical line, with one star that is embedded with diamond studs to resemble the brightness of Polaris. I decided to buy it the moment I recognized the pendant design from the drama, because, like I said before, the thought of wearing a diamond necklace would make me to be recognized as someone in a position of prestige. After a week or so, I realized how impulsive I was, but what’s worse is that I don’t think the design is unique at all.

This experience led me to feeling guilty and regretful. It urged me to think in such a way that that astronomical amount of money was given from my parents to support my costs of living. My parents worked hard to provide our family, and yet I spent the money carelessly on the things I don’t really need. Moreover, they aren’t the money single-handedly make. Soon I realized that the dainty skirts and linen jackets were unnecessary compared to the textbooks I needed. This difficulty mainly taught me the financial aspects of living independently, and thus I have learned how to spend my money wisely ever since.

Of course, there is nothing wrong in withdrawing a portion of your savings to purchase a lovely white dress from a shop you found in that crowded district. After all, you love the dress so much. However, I should warn you that there are still many women around that crowd who walk in and out of different stores with more and more shopping bags in their hands. As much as I’m curious to find out more about how to control ourselves during our shopping sprees, all I have to say for now is, waste not, and find a way to kill those burning temptations!

 
 

Stacia,

Again I can tell from your work on this assignment that you really enjoy writing. In each draft, you have made significant revisions. This time, I’m glad to see that you added the part about the diamond pendant necklace; you gave your reason for wanting it to buy it at that time as well as your description of why you felt dissatisfied later on.

I still think that you could insert yourself into the paper a little earlier; perhaps the second paragraph is a place where you could give a hint that you yourself will become the main focus later in the essay. And in the final paragraph, you could add a sentence or two to explain your “curiosity” about finding out more information related to this topic. Otherwise, your content is wonderful, and your writing style is full of life. Although I made a few comments about verb tenses and plural/singular nouns, I really like your writing style. I enjoyed reading this paper a lot!

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

 

A box of chocolates: A writer’s biography

 
Edited by Tom Glass
 
 

This essay is part of a series I wrote for an English composition class during my freshman year at Purdue University (whole series listed below). While the first big assignment was a short autobiography, we had the freedom to choose our topic for the next four set of sequenced writing assignments. I chose to cover women’s shopping … for obvious reasons. Hope you find them well.

1. A Box of Chocolates: A writer’s biography
2.Women’s Shopping: A personal experience
3. Compulsive Shopping: A literature review
4. Mother’s Words of Wisdom on Shopping: An interview report
5. Organize Yourselves, Shopaholics!
*   Her Ramblings… just for fun, and for extra credit.

 
 

“…and the one with the highest score for this term’s essay writing examination is… Stacia!” Mr. Jai Simman, the English teacher of class secondary 4 Faraday, hollered across the classroom. It had always been this rowdy in class, where everyone would be chattering away without a care in the world to the teacher’s lecture. The moment Mr. Jai finished his last sentence, everyone paused for a brief moment, and then burst into cheers. I sat there quietly in front of the teacher’s desk, wondering why my standard of writing was considered to be this great throughout these past few years. In the midst of the cheers, I stared at the white wall blindly, contemplating my recent teenage years while trying to figure out the answer I was looking for.

A few years ago, I finally turned into a young adult. During my four years of attending secondary school, I had my first encounters with the problems teenagers normally face during puberty. Just as the other perspectives of my life have changed, the writing aspect, too, has changed. I had my first period, first crush, first quarrels with my parents, and many other first experiences during this time. As a tool to express my emotions towards these problems, I started to write them all down inside my very first journal.

During those times when I had no one to talk to, I tend to write down how I feel about a certain difficulty that has been bothering me. It allows me to ponder on the problem again so as to draw the ways in which I can overcome the obstacle myself. The more I write, the more I feel better.

After a few months of writing mainly about my current concerns, I felt that there was something missing. I had an urge to write more, not only about myself, but also about the fields of study that I am interested in and the recent news and events occurring in the society. Apparently they all could not possibly emerge out of my head, so that was when I started to read magazines, fiction novels, non-fiction books, and the newspaper. Eventually I cultivated a lot of arguments and responses to every little fact I digested from these media, and then I wrote them all down in my journal in detail. From there I found another difficulty in writing. I wrote so extensively that I had to buy two or three diaries at once, so I moved on to writing online web blog instead.

Blogging is far more convenient than writing in journals. The entries you typed online will be saved on the web, not on a book that a careless person like me can lose easily. However, the huge difference is that it’s exposed to publicity. Anyone browsing the Internet can view the pages once they know the URL, so I take considerations on the issues I would like to talk about on my entries, such as my personal life and my opinions on a certain subject.

On my personal life issues, I tend to describe more about the personal problem I have instead of how I feel about it when writing in my journals. On the other hand, it is the other way round when it comes to blogging. I don’t reveal specific names of people due to the exposure to publicity. Therefore, it is common to find people asking about what exactly I was talking about in the commenting system. Fortunately, the most frequent viewers of my blog are those that have close relations to me, so most of the time I leave the question about my problems unanswered.

Nevertheless, I don’t leave all problems unsolved. The bombarding questions brought up by public matters must not be ignored. Take the example of one of my recent entries about President Bush and the annual State of the Union speech. The question is: Should we or should we not continue the Iraq war and help them to build a new form of government? I have pointed out that I agree with the Democrats and the Republicans to oppose President Bush who chose to proceed the war. I have my answer, but most of the readers of my blog don’t comment much about public issues like this. Probably because of the finite awareness of the community, or maybe it is an unfit topic for the majority of people in my age group. Most of the sixteen-year-olds nowadays are not really into politics, and I understand that. However, I continue writing about my responses to these issues not only because I am interested, but also mainly because a blog is accessible to anyone, so I have to retain the public element of the blogging system. In addition to that, every blogger has the right to write about anything they want to write about in their blogs.

To me, blogging is a form of freedom of speech. Whether your entries are mundane or philosophical, or broad or limited, it is all up to the blogger to decide. Therefore, I have unrestricted boundaries whenever I type a blog entry. However, this was probably how I developed my difficulty in making short sentences when writing an essay. To me, there has to be detailed information behind every topic I raised. I feel the need to describe every moment spent using all of the human’s five senses. This is why I have always chosen to write descriptive essays rather than narrative or argumentative ones.

One particular example of my descriptive essays is the one sitting right in front of me right now – the one that won the heart of my English teacher this term. There was no particular plot in the essay, just detailed descriptions of the lavish lifestyle of the rich and famous residing in Orange Country, California. You can tell that I took note of the five senses of human beings to describe the rich imagination in my head by reading the phrases such as the smell of cocktails and champagnes, magenta bedroom of pillows cloaked in periwinkle blue, and on each footstep you’ll hear someone yells. This is usually how I guide myself to writing descriptions, with the occasional relations to the pop culture such as the phrases “pink frills of Versace dresses and rich district, comparable to Bill Gates’ home. I find this approach to be effective in raising the reader’s interest into my writing. It enables them to be able to relate my story to themselves, thus enjoying reading the essay more.

“Hey! Stand up and celebrate! You have just got a box of chocolates from Mr. Stefen!” the class monitor suddenly tapped me on my back and yelled. All I wanted to do was daydream about residing in Orange County until my other subject grades were given out. I heaved a deep sigh and dragged my foot grudgingly towards the noisy crowd. Well, at least I get chocolates for writing well; you’ll never know what’s waiting for you if you take great effort to something. “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get,” as told by the popular movie Forrest Gump. I smiled to myself and started munching the lovely heart-shaped chocolate that first caught my eye. Yummy.

 
 

Stacia,

Very nice first paper! It is well written, and the thing I like best is that your personality comes through clearly in the way you write and in the examples you choose. Those specific examples, and the personal touches you added to make this paper unique, really made it enjoyable to read.

Let me explain your score for content. Actually, in many ways I appreciated what you wrote about—especially, as I said, when you were giving specific examples. The thing I want to caution you about is that you spent so much time describing your blogging habits that you didn’t have much chance to tell about any other kinds of writing you’ve done in your life. I understand that you want to focus on your journal and blogging—that’s fine, and you did that well—but I just want to remind you not to ignore other types of writing you have done, in order to completely fulfill the assignment of writing your “autobiography.”

In any case, I am very pleased with your writing here. Your personality and your interest in expressing yourself through writing really shine through. I hope you will be proud to make this paper part of your blog very soon!

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

 

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