The Tam-Brahm wedding will have to wait- partly because it's a formidable package to fit into a single blog post. And partly because I have just attended another wedding this weekend. And too many weddings are a fast-track for your funeral. So as a short breather let us look into another frame.
The 'Offer' phenomenon is a product of of modern retail which has successfully harnessed the inherent human something-for-nothing instinct, better known as 'greed'. The words 'Sale', 'Discount' and most importantly 'Free' are sparkling lures to bait willing wallets.We would probably even accept steaming barrels of toxic waste if it came free. "It might come in handy at some point of time..." we reason, as reason flies out the window.
The Freebie Fetish was drilled into me during a shopping expedition into the savage territories of Big Bazaar. One of the hazards of getting a single room is that there is a lot of expenditure on infrastructure and no one to delegate work to. And thus I found myself marooned in a vast retail jungle hunting for curtains, dustbins, wash-cloths, bottles, cups and the like. And needless to say I amassed a bill that could support the primary education of three children in the LFC convent. While I struggled under the weight of the receipt, valiantly holding back my tears at the looming financial crisis, the billing attendant magnanimously declared "You get 1kg sugar free!" Please consider that at that point of time I had had enough of Big Bazaar and all it entailed. All I wanted was to nurse my sorrows in a comfortable horizontal position. Mumbling an incoherent mutter I headed towards the exit. "Madam! 1kg sugar, Madam!FREE!" he yelled, seeing that I wasn't heading towards the freebie center. "FREE!" he repeated rolling his eyes in consternation that I was actually saying no to a free item.
Let me make my case. What was I going to do with 1kg sugar, free or otherwise. I didn't have any cooking facilities and lived in a hostel. What was I supposed to do with 1kg sugar?? But in the face of the billing-guy's desperate exhortations I wavered. "Hmm.. it's free.. and I just might need it.. and it's FREE... it's FREE...FREE" Logic blurred. I heard myself say, "Where can I pick it up." The guy gave a relieved smile, the world was right again. "The Customer Service Centre."
Finding the Customer Service is a task in itself. And it becomes herculean when you are lugging three shopping bags at least 2kgs each. I went all the way to the third floor only to be told it's in the first floor. And since the escalators were too full, the ramps were the only way down. A trundling descent later the customer service center was located- at the end of a queue as long as the Nile. Reason reasserted itself.'Go back home you twat! It's not as if you have nothing better to do! You don't even need the sugar!'The mental-slap revived my flagging intellect and turned my feet purposefully toward the nearest exit. Self-flagellating under my breath I handed the billet to the security and prepared to stomp my way back to hostel when a voice stopped me. " Amma, 1kg free sugar." The guard had taken it upon himself to actually do his job and check my bill and could not believe that I would let a free deal pass by un-reaped. Once again I tried to explain that I really didn't want the sugar. And yet again my protestations fell on deaf ears. In fact the guard was so astonished at my disinterest that he called another of his bretheren to augment his case. "It's free Amma. It's Free. Free...free...FREE... FREE..."
I believe I suffered a black out because the next minute I found myself at the end of the never-ending line of freebie-grabbers. An hour later with aching feet and screaming shoulders I shuffled up to the front of the counter to get the godforsaken sugar. But the universe conspired to make me pay for my greed. The only packet they had at the counter had a hole in it. Another half an hour wait ensued in which I endured the glowers and glares of other customers and learnt several varieties of swear words. Finally sugar-laden I escaped to freedom only to realise that the sun had set and consequently the autos were refusing to stop. The end of the day saw me paying double to get back and encumbered by an extra packet of sugar with no place to keep it. Ah the humanity! But such is life- even the free must be earned. Even if it leaves you feeling dumb. And in all fairness the sugar isn't a waste! I bought coffee and milk to go with it and a nice dabba to keep it in and...
I bow my head in utmost defeat.
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