Such has been the bane of my professional life that my salary has always been more of a working capital for the month with savings reducing every passing year and expenses increasing every month – some for necessity whereas rest for luxury. And in the last couple of years or so, the luxurious expenses have been replaced with necessary expanses at an increasing pace. There was a time when I was found in a Provogue showroom almost twice a month but in last two year I never visited one. So when I got a chance to go shopping, I called up my friend X who always gives me stiff competition in the tussle between income and expenses.
Me: Hey, I am going shopping this weekend.
X: Oh great. Finally you are moving out of your house on a weekend, so what if it’s for window shopping.
Me: No, no. I am actually going shopping.
X: How come? Using credit card and converting it to EMIs formula?
Me: Nope. I hade some reward points outstanding on my ICICI credit card. So I redeemed it against Provogue vouchers and I got 8 vouchers worth INR 500/- each.
X: That’s great. But actually you made a wrong choice. You should have taken Lifestyle or Shopper’s stop vouchers. You could have got more options for brands there.
Me: Yeah, but it is my favourite brand so...
X: You are bad at planning. Anyhow, go ahead. There is a flat 50% sale this weekend on your favourite brand. They call it special valentine day’s offer and are targeting love birds. But it’s only valid between 8 in the morning to 12 noon. Wish they knew that its only beggars like you who would land up their in hope of some cheap cloths. Love birds don’t go garment shopping that too on a valentine’s day.
So I woke up early, landed at the showroom around 11:00 AM and witnessed a brutal proof of recession - with all the shops displaying sign boards declaring they were selling on heavy discounts, I accounted for approximately 10% of customer population on my floor.
Right from my childhood I have had a dream – going to some showroom and picking up cloths without even looking at the price tag. I used to think, I would be able to do so once I start earning. Well when I started earning, I always found price tags displaying numbers a bit too big to be ignored. Then I used to think, I would be able to fulfil my dream when I would start earning more. But the numbers on the price tag kept getting bigger and I could never ignore them. Dream always remained a dream.
But, this was my moment. With 50% discount on prices and vouchers of INR 4000/- in my pocket, I was feeling like a little kid who has been given a free hand in an ice cream parlour. I went on a rampage.
In an hour’s time I was talking to my friend X over the phone.
X: Hey you had plans of going to the showroom for shopping. Well 50% discount offer was valid till 12 o’clock. You missed it.
Me: No I went there around 11:00 AM.
X: Ah, so early. So how are you feeling? Wardrobe full yet pocket not empty must be sending you on cloud 9.
Me: No. It’s the other way round. My wardrobe is not so full and pocket is empty.
X: What, someone robbed you off your clothes?
Me: Nope. I went on picked 6-7 pieces of clothing. The bill came around INR 8,500/-.
X: So, making it half means bill was around INR 4,250/-. You had vouchers worth 4000. Now don’t tell me you couldn’t pay 250 also.
Me: No dude. Vouchers didn’t work for discount prices. They were only valid on original prices.
X: Who said so?
Me: It was written at the back of every voucher - If you use a voucher, you don’t get any discount.
X: Damn. Then?
Me: I felt like a kid who has been robbed off his ice cream.
X: So what did this kid do?
Me: I came down to 2 shirts and a pair of trousers. The original bill was INR 4,000/- odd.
X: So you got something in exchange for vouchers. May be you paid INR 100/- or so extra?
Me: No, one voucher could be used for purchasing one item.
X: Who said this?
Me: This was also written at the back of the voucher.
Me: So either you buy a shirt on original price, pay 500 in form of voucher and rest from you pocket or take benefit of 50% price discount and pay everything from your pocket.
X: So if shirt costs 1200 and you pay the original price, you pay 1200 minus 500 means 700 from your pocket. If you opt to take price discount, you pay 600 from you pocket plus the internal satisfaction of buying something on such a huge discount.
Me: Yeah. So I took the price discount option and paid from my pocket.
Me: If earlier I felt like a kid who had been robbed off his ice cream, now I felt like a daily wage worker who had been robbed off his salary.
X: Haha....Never mind, at least you saved all your vouchers. That is a saving of 4000. (Broke into laughter).
X: But did ICICI not tell you all this before you redeemed your coupons? They should have.
Me: No, I could not find it anywhere on their website.
X: Try calling at their call centres. May be they could be of some help.
Me: Dude, they themselves think that their call reps are of no use. What can I expect?
Me: Have you ever called them up? Before you manage to talk to a call rep on call, the ICICI makes you hear so many promotional messages as if they want to sell all their products then and there. May be they fear that once you talk to their call rep, you may turn completely away from the bank.
Me: So when are you getting you coupons.
X: Well after giving it a lot of thought, I ordered Lifestyle’s vouchers. At least I will have more choices there.
X called me up after couple of days.
X: Dude, I laughed a lot on you last time but now its time to return the favour.
X: My vouchers have similar conditions. If you use them, you don’t get any discount. And my vouchers also have one coupon for one purchase condition.
X: Don’t start laughing yet.
X: Because I opted for INR 100/- voucher.
PS: If you know any good items that could be priced below 100rs. (Original price), please let me know so that I can convey it to X.
Disclaimer: Above written piece is based on true events with a little bit or linguistic dramatization. There is no intention to use/misuse any brand name.
Image Courtesy: Provogue.