ALICE IN DISCOUNTLAND

Now, I’m neither very good at maths nor browsing on the laptop while using a touchpad. Give me a mouse any day, and I’ll wield it like a baton in a concert – a click here, a pause there, a hover here, a scroll there – but the touchpad, and using both hands? Truly a nightmare.

Anyway, having performed the miracle of finally buying something online, I feel vindicated. I mean it’s not easy! You wake up in the morning, sit with your chai to read the paper and find yourself besieged by pages and pages of ads screaming at you about ‘Unbelievable Offers!’ that are even more exciting than the news. Your curiosity is piqued. When you go to the site it says ‘Download the App! And It’ll Get Even Better!’. With an old Blackberry, that’s impossible. So you renounce the ‘Additional 15%’, discontentedly grunt and move on. All across the screen are restless tickers stridently pointing out  various deals, and you have to be really good – and I mean really good, in my opinion – at maths to figure out how to get the best one.

Case in point, I had two coupons in my mailbox. The first one said ‘Rs 300 Off On 999/- And Above’, the second said ‘Rs 500 Off On Rs 1699/ And Above’. One would think, Wow! Great savings, but there are so many catches. After reading the fine print I found that these coupons could only be redeemed against ‘Non-Discounted Items”. O-kay. Going back to the site meant you had to apply a filter to select the same; then you just kept thinking – Shit! because there were lots of items worth Rs 995/, just Rs 4/  less than what you needed for the coupon to kick in. Imagine being unhappy about a lower price?

Then there’s this entire website doling out coupons that can apparently be used over and above the discounted prices . But lo and behold! The caveat is that, they can be used only on certain items, which again have to be accessed by ‘Clicking Here!’ (an excited, blinking link on the coupon-giving website).

When another site declared that from noon there’d be a ‘Flat 81% Off’, I enthusiastically logged on and found that it applied to only twelve items for women. And eight watches for men. Even among the pitifully small selection, I found that the only sizes available were XS, XXS and even a Size Zero. Wow, so that’s real? I’d only heard of it like the Abominable Yeti (and from Kareena Kapoor), but here it was in front of my eyes – a size zero dress  at an 81% discount.  Somewhere out there was one lucky stick thin woman getting a hell of a deal.

Then  comes the checking out. Go to cart, proceed to pay, give address and discover that because of the goonda- gardi in Noida,  delivery to my home is below the site’s standards. The only solution- is make my poor unsuspecting hubby the carrier mule and so, valiantly, I type in his office address.

Over the next week I keep on getting umpteen messages that so and so item is being ‘processed’ , ‘has been dispatched’, ‘has been delivered’, ‘track your order’ and ultimately, demanding ‘Give Us Feedback!’ I’m almost tempted to rate them 1/10 in vengeance for all the hoops they made me jump through. Hubby darling comes home every evening bearing either packets or cardboard boxes, all the while grumbling to high heaven  All in all, I’ve ended up spending a whole lot of money on chasing the promised land of incredible discounts, buying cheese spread and bags, lip-balm and cat food, shirts that don’t quite fit right and Pearl Pet bottles.

The only thing festive about it is unwrapping the packages, accompanied by a faint sense of disappointment. For, inside each mysterious brown box or cheerfully labelled packet is the ordinariness of everyday things. I shake my head, vowing never to chase the thrill of the discount again.

Tomorrow morning, the paper promises even better deals.

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14 thoughts on “ALICE IN DISCOUNTLAND

  1. When I was very young, my aunt who llived abroad sometimes sent us parcels. Shopping online and receiving the goods remind me of those times. That’s small solace, because I know I will never get a parcel any more that I haven’t paid for myself.

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  2. Thoroughly enjoyed reading…so well written!!! Keep going…u have made a BIG BANG start! waiting with bated breadth for the next one

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  3. So beautifully written Sumita. love the punch in ur writing. while reading this I had before my eyes ur mischievous and attractive smile. do keep writing. wud love to read more from u my friend.

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  4. Love your style of writing-so honest and straight from your heart. I can totally visualise the narrative that you have so candidly written! Witty, funny and an unputdownable read. Happy writing my dear friend

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