Everybody loves a good sale

Everybody loves a good  sale

It’s raining festive discounts and bonanza offers. Yes, shopping is euphoric, some claim, cathartic. But how does one handle the accompanying baggage of guilt, that’s almost inevitable, ponders Harshikaa Udasi.

It wasn’t really an occasion to shop. Her father had just been brought home after three weeks of hospitalisation. The man’s room was being spruced up to ensure extra comfort. He told her that he’d like to watch TV to catch up with the news. And that set Priti Gurbani off in the direction of the malls. The very next day a wall-mounted 40-inch LED was ‘entertaining’ her father, who had anticipated she’d just shift their television set from the living room to his room!

“I had just read about a fab discount on electronics at this mall because of Dussehra, Diwali and other festivals. It had been a while since I had stepped out for some shopping since dad was not well. We hadn’t even bought a TV in the last two years… So I thought it would be a good surprise, besides some retail therapy for me,” she explains.Guilt didn’t strike till the time Priti realised that not only had she blown away 60K, but also that had she done some research online she would’ve got a better deal. “I don’t know which guilt is eating me up now – that I spent so much when my finances are not really looking up or that I could’ve got a better bargain,” says Priti.

Ahem. Buyer’s remorse. How often have we sailed in this boat? There is no denying that shopping is euphoric, some even claim, cathartic. But how does one handle the accompanying baggage of guilt? Vidhi Jaisingh has an easy solution – and it goes under the garb of ‘ignore it’. “Work hard, party harder, right? So what’s the big deal if I shop and splurge? We aren’t exactly taking our money with us to the grave!” reasons the media consultant. “Actually, even talking about shoppers’ guilt is forbidden now because it’s festive time and it’s raining discounts. I don’t know of a single person, who isn’t shopping for something or the other. I mean big-ticket purchases,” she adds, defiantly.

It certainly is festive time. Fatter pay cheques with additional bonuses are supposed to be the norm this time of the year. Besides, tempting mall discounts are screaming to be availed of. Not to forget, the online retailers, who are peddling their cheapest best! If that’s not enticing enough for a buyer, then what could possibly be!

“I don’t know about others, but I can’t seem to break my habit,” says Dinesh Pritam. A total gizmo freak, the 42-year-old’s home-office has everything from TV tuner cards to spycams. Most of them –hold your breath – in doubles or triples. “I like to have back-ups. I shop throughout the year, but festive season is a great time for bargain hunting and that’s when I do my bulk shopping,” he says.

Dinesh has no qualms in admitting that he spends a whopping 10K every month on gadgets! That’s besides the big purchases he makes around seasonal discounts. And in case you are wondering about the heap of unused or discarded products lying around at his home-office, he is quick to assure you that it’s far from a bad investment. “If you think that’s wasteful, it isn’t. It is part of the risk involved. Which is why I intelligently create backups,” he explains.

But not everyone’s mood is upbeat. In the Khatri household, Diwali shopping is on in full swing, but the senior-most family member, Ajay Khatri, 75, is clearly not comfortable. The family business has not had a very upbeat quarter and he thinks that the festive shopping must be curbed. 

“You end up buying three when you need just one. You spend 50 when you ought to spend 10. All in the name of discounted shopping and the festive spirit…Why don’t we shop sensibly instead? The euphoria has only damaging effects,” he says.

For shoppers like Mirabelle D’Costa that euphoria is a must, so what if it can have some damaging effects! The fact that there is hardly any space for more shoes – at last count, she had 76 pairs - in her mid-sized Mumbai home doesn’t deter the lady from looking for sales and discounts on footwear. That’s her only real indulgence, she insists. “The sales are delicious…and the best and latest variety is out on display. I can deal with the guilt later,” she says.

The spouse, Mirabelle confesses, has often discussed divorce over her burgeoning shoe collection. “But I hope he only wants a good laugh,” she says, laughing heartily.

Obviously, not all of her collection is worth wearing, but discarding them doesn’t come easy. “They are bought at an average price of Rs 1000-1500 each. How can I waste all that money?” At least, in the homes of shoppers like these, there is no reflection whatsoever of any economic slowdown.

And just in case, you think all these people are self-obsessed and full of self-love, there’s a growing population that believes in charity shopping to balance out the shopping indulgence. You see, they shop that places where for every rupee spent, a certain percentage of the proceeds will be donated to a charitable cause. So, where’s the room for guilt, really!

Spreading a little bit of goodness and cheer (the real reason behind the festive season, in case we forgot) to absolve yourself of too much shopping is a good idea. There are others who resort to returns and cancellations. 

So, you made an impulse buy, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it! Online retailers talk of how upbeat festive buying is often offset by as many returns and cancellations. Have second thoughts, simply cancel, seems to be the mantra, especially during this time of the year. Brick and mortar stores, however, don’t make it an easy return trip for the guilt-ridden.

For all those, who want to avoid the guilt trip this year, here go a few, hopefully, helpful tips:

n Carry no credit/debit cards

n Carry limited cash. Nothing more than one-fifth of your normal wallet.

n Practise the dhanvriddhi asana. Simple. Turn your head right, then turn your head left.

 Practise without halt in response to sales and discounts. Helps if you close your eyes and block your ears.

n Think you are 85. No income. No savings. Alone. Now start worrying and forget about splurging.

Get creative and think of ways to not fall into the festive shopping trap. The best way, as one great Indian leader had said, is to abstain!

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