The Journey The Journey 2017 - 18 - Page 26

R Julie A Joseph Teacher GPS That one advertisement in the local daily was enough to pique my interest and I grabbed the phone. “Hey guess what?” I literally screamed into the phone to my bestie Gina. “Bada Market is offering to take in any garbage or rubbish and give us coupons with which we can shop with!! “Ehm, garbage? Garbage as in…..?”, Gina curiously asked. “Hey GARBAGE!! Anything useless like old newspapers, clothes, pots, pans…. anything. Each item has a value though. Rs. 300 for old toys, Rs. 5000 for old electronics. Rs 50 for old newspapers!...”, I ranted. “Oh dear! I just sold off my old papers last week to that stingy scrap guy.”, lamented Gina. “But I have so many other useless things to be disposed off. Ooooohhh…. Imagine the number of coupons we will get in this wonderful exchange!! Ok, let me start hunting for things and we will go to Bada Market tomorrow morning.” My husband wasn’t impressed. Nevertheless the next day, Gina and I packed the car with all the garbage we could find in our houses, bundled our children into the backseat already brimming with rubbish which wouldn’t fit into the trunk, and drove away in glee to the promised land- Bada Market! On a mission to exchange our waste for wealth! The customer service personnel of BM (Bada Market) courteously told us to unload the junk we had amassed, into the basement of their store so that it could be weighed and sorted. As we were unloading the mountain of garbage, the children (impatient to get into the mall to play arcade games) started bickering (as usual). I gave them a look wondering if BM would accept any junk including the brats. “My little brat could fetch me a year’s supply of dal and the elder one would get me a global public school year’s ration of rice”, I mused. However when the “South Indian” in me chided me reminding me that I would get bored of a daily dose of ‘dal-chawwal’, I decided not to ask BM if I could exchange all my “junk”. Finally done with the task of weighing our humongous collection of junk, BM gave us our “vouchers”. WE WERE RICH!! Well, until we read the fine print…. It said “Exchange NOT valid on the following items on the list (the list had all the items a person generally needed). Other terms and conditions made it impossible to use a voucher worth Rs. 100 unless we shopped for Rs.10000/-. So inadvertently, the coupons themselves were totally useless and a waste! The ride back was silent. Even the children were surprisingly quiet, probably because of the palpable gloom. Just as we got out of the car carrying our meagre shopping, I met my husband on his way out. “Oh, finished your shopping already? How was it?” he asked. Disappointedly, I shook my head and declared “All are cheats. Marketing strategies! False claims and nothing else. And to think I actually fell for it. I, of all people. Can you imagine?” I was indignant. Hubby dearest didn’t seem surprised. He said, “Gina, once your sensible friend went and bought 10 to 15 bottles of sunflower oil because she saw the word “FREE” on it? Then when she asked for the freebie, the cashier pointed out that it was “Cholesterol Free?!” With a smirk, he drove away as Gina chuckled. Sheepishly I stepped into my house, definitely NOT richer by a penny. But as I looked around, I noticed that my house was rid of all junk. I smiled. Thank God for the small mercies! 26