The most surprising thing about Dubai Summer Surprises this year could just be that more people than usual are looking forward to it, thinks Sam Potter.
June 16, 2010 5:14 by Sam Potter
I have to admit, when it comes to Dubai Shopping Festival, or the imminent Dubai Summer Surprises (starting on Thursday), I am generally a bit of a cynic.
In a town where retail indulgence has become the be-all and end-all (since the collapse of the property industry, anyhow) these two events dominate the calendar, like some sort of religious holiday for consumerism. This year’s DSS is set to kick off tomorrow, and to that end press releases have been arriving on Kipp’s desk thick and fast. And most of them manage to cram in something about shopping in the first line. “Treat yourself,” “Indulge,” “Celebrate DSS with this new TV” – that kind of thing.
And that’s where my dislike and mistrust of these events generally rests. It is bad enough that these companies are constantly telling us what we need, what we don’t have, how much better we’d feel if we bought this, without them being organized and encouraged by the Dubai government to do so.
I’m not alone in this feeling of uneasiness with unrestrained consumerism, especially following the downturn. It’s a notion that is finding itself on shaky ground in many countries, where people are now realizing the futility of and short term happiness that comes from chasing things they don’t need.
But this year, I must confess to feeling a little differently. Not because I suddenly feel the need to rush out and buy a new pair of jeans, or a new item of furniture, just because the DSS will bring price reductions. Not because I think I have chance of winning a brand new BMW. But simply because we all need to start putting the miserable last year or two behind us.
If you don’t want to shop then don’t. DSS and the 21 malls in Dubai are laying on plenty of other events, particularly for families and kids. They’ll include a kid’s fashion week, the ‘International Cartoon Show,’ ‘Middle East junior Chef of the Year’ and more.
You can visit a collector’s exhibition – everything from cars to coins – or let your kids take part in the Kids Olympic Games, and there will be a number of concerts and musicals.
For those of us in the UAE facing the long, harsh summer, it’ll do us good to make use of all those giant malls and air conditioned shops, even if it’s just to take a walk and breathe some cool air.
Yes it’s all about shopping. Yes it’s designed to make you spend. Yes it will further encourage consumerism. But you know what? I don’t care. We’ve been too miserable too long. If DSS can add any hint of cheer, then so much the better.