US Trip ’07: Consumer in America

Atlanta, Georgia

May 25, 2007. After visiting World of Coca-Cola, we walked all the way back to where we parked the car, across Pemberton Place and the Centennial Olympic Park.

Since my body clock hasn’t adjusted fully, I slept immediately after taking my seat in the car. By the time I woke up, we were in the middle of a large parking lot. We were at a Tanger outlet store in Locust Grove, Georgia. Outlet stores are well, where manufacturers, mostly of clothing apparels, sell their merchandise at lower costs than in malls, or in other countries, apparently for the reason that they sell it themselves, in their own turfs. And indeed, though clothes can still be quite pricey, designer labels can be bought cheaper in outlet stores than in malls, say, in the Philippines (though some of the clothes did have a “made in the Philippines” tag). This turned out to be just the first outlet store visit we made. By the end of our almost-three-week US trip, we would’ve gone through a handful of other outlet stores for the “bargain”. Shopping in outlet stores can be quite tiring, and initially fulfilling, until you realize how you have just been a victim of rampant advertising and consumerism.

After the outlet store visit, we drove off a few miles from Locust Grove to a Golden Corral restaurant in McDonough, Georgia. I wasn’t prepared for how big servings are in America. It was an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant with all sorts of typical American fare, from burgers to pizzas to juicy steaks. As early as our second dinner in the US, I knew I was going to make myself, helplessly, as fat as the average American. I know I should stop when I’m full but there’s always this guilt in not finishing your food too. Food in America is not inexpensive, so there’s always this thought in me that I have to eat as much as I can to make most of what we pay. Wow. I’ve always imagined Americans to be so wasteful of food, an effect of watching so many game shows on kid networks such as Nickelodeon where they throw and swim around in food all the time. They do that in movies too. And from how I saw it, or from how little I saw of America, it rings true. The illusion of prosperity is so strong.

Dinner at Golden Corral

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