Becoming a foreign student has given me the opportunity of living in two cities at the same time. Living in each city regularly has let me see many similarities and differences between both. In this essay, I will mainly compare and contrast shopping as a leisure activity between United Kingdom and Hong Kong. I will look at the kinds of activities, attitudes towards spending, the view of shops and the opening hours of shops. First of all, both United Kingdom and Hong Kong are consumer societies. People can find all sorts of things to do like shopping in malls or streets.
The appearance of the malls in United Kingdom primarily comes from the fact that they feature more than hundreds of stand-alone shops, cafes, restaurants and a huge number of department stores, in which there are wide varieties of types of shops. Moreover, most shops are chain stores, but among those that are not, there is much individuality. (O’ Driscoll, J. 1995 P. 148) The situation of shopping malls is as common in Hong Kong. Both societies, moreover, like buying and selling products through online.
Nowadays, the rapid development of the Internet advances the online trading. The customers do not need to walk on the streets, they just have to browse the website of that company and the shop will provide the pictures of the products for you to purchase. For example, the Amazon. com is popular in both United Kingdom and Hong Kong. (Hong Kong Tourism Board, 2012) Despite some important similarities in shopping between United Kingdom and Hong Kong, there are significant differences as well. One obvious difference is the attitude towards spending.
The British are not very adventurous shoppers. They like reliability and buy goods that are preferably with the price clearly marked. Of course, they are not very keen on haggling over prices. (O’ Driscoll, J. 1995 P. 148) In contrast, Hong Kong People spend lots of money on buying things they like. Also, people in Hong Kong like to bargain with the sales owner in order to obtain a cheaper price, especially in some market streets and small shops. (Hong Kong Tourism Board, 2012) Other areas of difference are the opening hours of shops.
Most shops close early in United Kingdom such as half-past five and shops close a bit later in large cities. In some towns there are even shops shut at midday and do not open again. (O’ Driscoll, J. 1995 P. 149) This is probably because owner needs to take rest after a full day’s work. However, since Hong Kong is a reputed shopping ‘paradise’, it is easy for you to find a shopping mall nearby anytime. (Hong Kong Tourism Board, 2012) Shops open till late at night in Hong Kong because workers tend to earn more money to earn a living and in order to match with those people who need to work late.
Unexpectedly, some market streets even open at 2 am. Therefore, people can go shopping whenever they want to. To Hong Kong eyes, the shopping malls seem just like convenience stores. A final difference between United Kingdom and Hong Kong is the view of the shops. Many people are surprised by the shabbiness of shop-window displays, even in prosperous areas in United Kingdom. It is just that the British do not demand art in their shop windows (O’ Driscoll, J. 1995 P.
148), whereas shops in Hong Kong are definitely decorated nicely and drab hoardings and shop signs erupt in numerous shades of neon color. Peering over the balcony was like looking down on a fairground and even the lights of the shops could not compare with the overall view. People say shopping gives a lot of pleasure to citizens. This must be true. Indeed people in both United Kingdom and Hong Kong like to spend their leisure time on doing shopping. Yet there are still many differences based on the topics such as the spending attitudes, shops opening hours and the view of shops.