NYC City Shopping Says
"How U Doin'?"
(Old School Nu Yawk Accent Optional)

NYC Shopping is Recreation, Relaxation, and Religion. It is Art, Science, and Competitive Sport.

Shopping New York is the Major Leagues. NYC is the Home Town of Conspicuous Consumption and Irrational Exuberance. Where you will spend large sums of money with a minimum of effort.

The best New York City shopping investments can pay off in Pleasure, Pain, Both or Neither. It will Stimulate, Excite, Bore, Energize, Interest and Challenge you.

Let me explain something to you in less than a New York minute:

The flow of the river of discounts and bargains in shops and stores is unending but the water of NYC Shopping is never the same. Your shopping NYC can be characterized as any or all of the following: unpredictable, unique, unexpected, or remarkable.

Never underestimate the significance of something intangible: 

  • Time...
  • Money...
  • Energy

You need one of these, at least, to get any kind of shopping done at all. You may have two of these to spend on New York City shopping, but the chances of you having all three – well, you're breaking my heart, but no. This ain't gonna happen.

The good news: you don't need all three. New York City is its own world, and there's a place in it for any kind of shopping you want to do. If you have energy, walking the Canal Street circuit can bag you a lot of bargains. If you have time, hunting through the different shops throughout Manhattan and the Five Boroughs can net you some steals. And if you have money, well, the Apple is your oyster.

This, Grasshopper, was your first lesson: you must learn to focus on the resources you have, make the most of them, and forget the rest.

Moving on to your next lesson: who can you trust?

Who To Trust When Shopping In New York City:

No one! You are the only one you can truly trust.

Fact is, truth is always available on the installment plan – that is, you'll get to it sooner or later, but you may not know exactly when you've paid your bill.

(What, you don't trust me? Learning already! So, not to quote anyone wise and green or anything, but – trust your feelings. You know it is true.)

Here's the deal: you get your test first, and then after you've passed or failed it you learn your lesson – that is, if you've paid attention.

So your second rule: If you don't know whether or not someone's on your side – they aren't. (Props to Warren Buffet, by the way – smart guy.)

Not knowing what you're doing is your primary risk. So, know what you're doing, know what's important, and understand that there are certain things you can't know. This is called a Circle of Competence.

In your circle of competence, you have to understand and be able to tell the difference between:

What is both IMPORTANT and KNOWABLE;
What is IMPORTANT, but UNKNOWABLE;
What is UNIMPORTANT, but KNOWABLE; and
What is both UNIMPORTANT and UNKNOWABLE.

The first category is the one to focus on. The second – well, you need to know what fits in there, like the lowest price a vendor will come down to, but you must also recognize that trying to know it is a waste of time. The third one is stuff that wastes your time, and the last category – fortunately, the largest category – is just so much white noise.

So how the heck do you distinguish between these things when the place is big and alien and, frankly, overwhelming?

That's your third lesson, Grasshopper.

Bonner's Law, Or How To Stand Back And See The Whole Thing

Bonner's Law simply states: “The quality of information declines by the square of the distance from the source.”

In other words: the farther away you get the clearer the picture becomes. If you don't believe me, sit up as close to your television as you possibly can. I don't care what kind of screen you have, from here you have a great view of a whole bunch of little pixels. Get back away from it, and you'll find there is an optimal distance from which you can see the whole picture clearly and without straining.

Now here's what happens. Merchants, just like politicians, spend a lot of cash on perception management – trying to sell you the pixels before you can see the whole picture. There is no propaganda machine out there better than a New York City ad agency trying to run a big marketing campaign.

If you buy it, you are getting sold fiction and air as if it were truth. They will tell you that up is down, truth is lies, and especially that dumb is smart.

Don't fall for all that crap. Remember, no matter how much money you have or don't have, it's not about the size of your wallet, it's all about how you use what's in it. And also remember, you're not just spending cash, you're also spending time and energy. Conserve all of these and wait for the bargains to come to you.

Your personal Edumacation in Street Smart New York City Shopping is just beginning.

Ready . . . Set . . . Point . . . Click.
"Smithers, Release the Hounds."