It was a time of life when shopping amused me. Yes, because I was free to spend all that I earned the way I wanted to! A wonderful statement of a beautiful feeling, isn’t?
We eagerly anticipated Saturday mornings. That was the day of the week my mom and I would toil over the streets of Shivaji Nagar and Commercial. I really did mean toil. We w(or)alked hard to make sure none could have bet us to buy it more cheaper than we did – be it anything! We knew perfectly which turn to take to find the best kundan shops. We knew where exactly to find inexpensive gifts. We knew which shop gave us good collection of kurtas and where to get them stitched in one hour. We even knew which juice shop was good for a hygienic drink!
The best bargain I’ve ever made is a R.5 off for something silly for which I actually felt quite elated. I confess I am not just bad but too poor at this art My self-esteem has always kicked off the few pennies I could have saved several times. I also confess that many a times I’ve regretted later for not having demanded for at least a little discount.
However, my mom is a queen at this art. I’ve still not figured out why I haven’t learned anything at all from her even if genes did not bring it to me Once I choose what I want at a shop, I leave the after-part to her. It’s sometimes embarrassing to be with her at those moments having said how important my self-respect is; but at the end of it, the cheap satisfaction of having saved a few rupees would prove it worthy.
“Well, we think of buying these 4 dress materials. Tell us how much all this comes to, let’s see if we can select a few more.” That’s how she begins when actually we only plan to buy one or at the most two.
“All are of the same price Rs.800. This would come to Rs.3200.”
“Oh my God! This sounds too much.”
“No madam, this is normal rate. You go to any shop in this lane. If you can get the same material for lesser price, come back to me. I bet you cannot.”
“No thamma (brother), we are regular customers to your shop. You cannot give to us at the same price as others. Tell me, how much more can you reduce?”
“What is this, what difference between 770 and 800?”
“Acha quality madam. Touch and see for yourself.”
“Ok, I thought of getting two more. Now I cannot.”
“Chalo, last price madam, 750”
“No, no. Not within our budget.” She rudely drops all that there and signals me to walk out but she stays there. Like a fool I always turn to walk back not understanding it’s a part of her trick. I sometimes even wonder why she has not moved at all
“You tell me madam, how much you want to give”, he comes down now.
He gets a little irritated now “What madam? How can we sell for so much loss? Well, I will reduce 100 per piece. Give me 2800.”
Now, her demeanor changes for some reason. She becomes friendly “Every week, we come here to your shop only. We have never even stepped into any other shop. We recommended to our neighbor. They too bought 5 pieces from here last week. See how much sale I’ve brought for you…………”
And she goes on ……..for a while with all her imagination because I know such a neighbor doesn’t exist at all. I am afraid this boy is going to get more irritated now with my mom’s non-stop blabbering. It’s already embarrassing to be there. I pray this crazy thing gets over and I can get out of this place soon.
However, to my surprise, something makes him feel good. This is where my mom turns around the situation when she begins talking like a family member, as though so much concerned about his business. He then politely says, “But 350 is not possible madam.”
“It’s getting late for us. Neither for you, nor for me, let’s fix 450. I will take this red and that blue. 900 ok?” She puts it assertively such that the other party has no say. She reaches the bill counter as though it has been agreed.
Again to my surprise, it works. Though reluctantly, he still tries to negotiate for 500. But you know my mom now, she wouldn’t give in.
It’s all a memory now!
I don’t do such shopping anymore. As a matter of fact I don’t need such shopping anymore. A few years before, I wanted to own every bag, dress, shoe, hair clip, nail polish that crossed my eyes. Probably with age, contentment or wisdom, I don’t know because of what, my lust and love for such silly stuff has dropped down to zero now. And I feel good about it! Of course, I am not ruling out shopping for necessity. That’s different. I talk about other things – things without which I can very much survive in peace. These days I decide to buy something only after weighing it’s necessity. And I make sure I neither regret later for having bought it nor keep it useless for some reason.
I love this self-transformation from Shop-o-holic to Wise-o-shopper! Not just because it saves me some money but also it liberates me from the desire to possess. They joy of such feeling can only be experienced. Truly, less is more!