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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Sold out to the sale

Pallavi Singh   January 11, 2013
First Published: 10:31 IST(11/1/2013) | Last Updated: 10:33 IST(11/1/2013)

The other day, my husband went to one of the big departmental stores in town, looking for a particular white shirt. Before he could buy one, the shop assistant sidled up to him and helpfully whispered in his ear, "Sir, Don't buy it now. Wait for the sale, when the price will be half." The only explanation for this treacherous behaviour was that probably the salesman had handed in his notice and nursed a grudge against the management!


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But on a serious note, a sale is defined as an act of completion of a commercial activity, or selling a product or service in return for money or some compensation. But a discount sale is, on no account, such a mundane and dreary activity. The word SALE has a distinctive ring to it. It is a four-letter word which does not cause revulsion or disgust. Written in dark, bold letters on billboards and hoardings, it stirs up wild desires in our breasts and with accelerated heartbeats, we walk into the malls, much like credulous children after the mystical Pied Piper.

It conjures up exhilarating images of beautifully decorated shops stocked up with glamorous clothes, exotic perfumes, tempting food and a host of attractively packed goodies luring us to lighten our wallets and beckoning us in to get the bargain of a lifetime. The flurry of activity, loud music, bright lights, slashed price tags bring in their wake a heady intoxication and we are magnetically drawn to dragging our spouses to 'shop till we drop' and upsetting carefully calculated budgets.

There is usually a rush of activity outside shops selling female apparel, handbags and shoes. Large placards announcing unimaginable discounts scream from store fronts and the fairer sex can be seen making a beeline for them. Women have no qualms snatching objects from one another and show wanton disregard for propriety when a bargain is to be made. In the process, many of us buy things we never needed in the first place! Three similar pairs of trousers in different colours, two dozen white socks, purple shoes just because they were going dirt cheap and multiple boxes of face packs which started drying up after a week, are a few of the useless items I came back with once.

Retailers resort to various gimmicks to entice customers. The tangy, fresh fragrance of oranges let loose through air filters, the aroma of freshly baked cookies and blaring music creates an exciting environment, giving us a rush of endorphins which makes us feel fuzzy-happy and we tend to throw caution to the winds.

Shopkeepers take advantage of the fact that even a humdrum activity like shopping has the potential to become competitive. So they create scarcity of discounted products and impose a time limit on the sales, which obviously engage our hoarding and hunting instincts. And we swallow their ploy hook line and sinker!

Armed with bulging wallets and a keen sense of kill, we storm the sales in droves, imagining foolishly that we are saving money, whereas in reality we are like cattle who with rings through their noses are led meekly to the sacrificial altar!

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