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Change or Change not?

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

Dare we change? Concerns over some Malaysians’ lackadaisical attitude in strict adherence of safety precautions like staying at home and social distancing for example in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic bring this question to fore.

Doubts lead to distrust. Distrusts lead to fear. Fear leads to…

So, when it comes to things that literally get to the skin like getting into a Changing Room to try on new clothes before purchase, is it Change or Change Not? Would Malaysian consumers abandon the age-old practice of trying before buying or would they change as fast as changing clothes to other alternatives?

Interestingly, what is or will be the new norm of the purchasing habits of Malaysian consumers? Quattro Communications polled for opinions and here’s a sample of what some Malaysians of both gender and different age groups have to say:

“A definite no! Not until a vaccine for Covid-19 is found!” said 35-year old Rowena Khoo, a mother of two boys.

The pre-occupation with discipline in the absence of a vaccine came out strongly from 28-year-old Daniel T who said: “Malaysians must really apply and show self-discipline on basic hygiene for me to be comfortable (to step into changing rooms). But this is highly unlikely (sic)!”

For another 28-year-old, this time from Isabella Jong, it’s “no way until the day Malaysia shows a single figure” in reported infected cases.

“It has to be zero infections for a few consecutive weeks or more,” rebutted 28-year-old Farrah Jasin before she would even consider shopping in a mall located in a declared-safe zone. “The shop has to limit the number of customers inside. On top of that, the staff have to be wearing masks and there are disinfectants for customers’ use. Only then… I don’t mind going in to shop and try on clothes.”

Ali M, 26, said he would, under the circumstances, trust his gut feel rather than expose himself to the undisciplined fellow Malaysian consumers and store employees. He detests going back to the stores to change if he didn’t get the right size. So if it means, a self-imposed ‘no-trying’, he would resort to his so far fail-safe way of getting it right with purchases. “If I instantly regret buying because it is expensive, then I know I have made the right choice in buying it!”

But leave it to the females who tend to be more rational. 29-year-old Shanti Y contended that people try on clothes for two reasons – to see it fits well and to see good one looks in it.

“Stores should have Size Charts with hip, waist and other measurements like those online stores. Maybe, have digital screens to show different views and sizes of models in the clothes. And good to have on top of it all is a disinfectant service before I take the new clothes home,” she added.

For the younger who have got used to making it right with purchases based on measurements, it will be online shopping. It is fine with ‘no-trying’ for them, as their mantra is ‘better be safe than sorry!’

But even with that, there are sceptics too with this looming fear of the unseen virus. This 40-year old mother, Eve Chung, said: “Even if we buy online, how would we know if these are not clothes that have been returned by others (and not infected?) Just saying lah...”

Serius ah? You can’t win them all. New norm. New challenges.

*All names have been changed to protect respondents’ identities

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