Some people go shopping for the brands: Gucci, Pierre Cardin, Calvin Klein, Prada. Some others shop by necessity: sweaters in the summer, shades in the winter. And then you have the people whose shopping is driven solely by bargains: the larger the discount, the greater the chances of them buying the article in question. I say this with all the love in the world: my aunt belongs to the third category.
One rainy afternoon – the kind of afternoon that no one in their right minds would venture out in – my aunt, who had been scrutinizing certain sections of the paper, and had a proclivity to shop day or night, rain or shine, decided that she simply had to pay the festive discounts at a prominent store her personal compliments. After brazenly courting the support of my cousin (her son) and myself, she dragged us off to the mall.
Once inside, my aunt morphed from forty to four and we adapted to our role as babysitters as she whirled around from one shop to another. Now, to be fair to her, my aunt did not want to procure all that many items – she just wanted to get the best deal she could. There is, I can confidently say, no person in this Universe, or the next dozen, who likes discounts better than my aunt does.
At the far end of the first floor, my aunt had been magnetically drawn to the board proclaiming, in big attractive letters, “UPTO 80% OFF!”. A glance inside had told me that the store had nothing we’d need, and my cousin and I moved on, hands in our pockets, our heads in
a cloud. But as we began our ascent on the escalator, we realized our group was one member too short. With some difficulty and many apologies, we lunged off of the escalator and made the hasty journey to the shop we’d just left. Our efforts were rewarded, for my aunt was examining a shelf which contained an assort
ment of objects that ranged from hair clips to mugs to notebooks. We humored her, and waited, shifting our weight from one foot to the other only slightly uneasily. Even as I thought that there couldn’t possibly be anything that she wanted on the shelf, she reached our and snagged a clock. A small, plain, wooden clock with a white face. I stood corrected: she wanted the clock. Or rather, she wanted the discount on the clock. A small tag hung from it, brandishing the magical numbers “80%”. Admittedly, there was nothing on the clock that did not warrant the discount, apart from maybe the words “BIG BEN” on it; but then again, that might have been a contributing factor for the discount’s presence in the first place, this clock being far from exhibiting the grandeur and majesty of The Big Ben. Painstakingly, we persuaded my aunt to leave the clock behind – it was a normal clock; we have thousands of clocks; we don’t really need this – and resumed our journey through the mall.
The clock.In the face of other discount tags, my aunt soon seemingly forgot about the clock she had been forced to give up, and acquired many other items (a blanket, a sweater, a china set, a suitcase) on bargains, which we later realized, were slightly inferior to the deal she would’ve gotten on the clock, for as we hauled our tired feet onto the series of escalators back to the basement, we realized that we were yet again one member short. The second floor was void of anyone but a gaggle of old ladies and a posse of school girls. However, trusting some primal instinct we weren’t even aware of, we approached the first shop we had visited. And no sooner had we divested ourselves of our multitude of bags at the entrance, than we saw my aunt approaching in triumph, accompanied by a small paper package.
Babbling about the excellent deal she had made, she trotted ahead while we tottered behind, heaving all her bundles with us, even our ersatz smiles long gone. We’d failed trying to talk my aunt out of a discount; forces of nature must never be reckoned with, and must be let alone. It’s easier that way. After all, the only thing that will happen is that your house may get filled with wonderfully cheap, but potentially useless things by the dozen.
But dear me, let us be penny-wise or die!