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Musings of an Aunty Who’s Discovered Anger is Costly

by Aiden

Dolly Koghar analyses the concept of retail therapy.

Maelly Kitthmaas…ho ho ho! This year, the season of cheer in our hot, hotter, and hottest Bangkok was fast-forwarded to as early as October with the malls and department stores on our hep-and-happening Sukhumvit already putting-up Xmas trees, one more hideous than the next, to lure unwary shoppers towards the tried-and-tested ‘retail therapy.’ At least it’s a faster and less guilt-ridden ‘high’ than the wares of the burgeoning cannabis joints!

I’d dismissed the phrase ‘retail therapy’ as just a fancy tag coined by shopping addicts till that fateful morning when me and hubby dear, who at that moment was not even remotely dear, walked into Siam Paragon, after yet another one-way fight we’d just had. A quarrel is supposed to be a two-way street of screaming/discussion/retorts, but hubby (not dear) always stays cucumber-cool, which isn’t funny; it’s infuriating. But then again, it’s for the best, ‘cause there’s nothing he’ll say that’ll make sense (to me)!

So, in this stormy mood, I marched on ahead of him and straight into a trap that would teach me a true-blue lesson on retail therapy. So here, I’d like to add important advice on to the maxim, “never go to the supermarket when hungry.” I’d add, “never go to beauty product aisles when you are in a pissy mood,” – exactly what I did, unwittingly, blinded by fury. The staff manning those counters are vultures, with instinct to ‘kill’ motta murga, literally, a fat chicken, but the same as the phrase “sitting duck” in English. Two saleswomen from a brand I won’t mention, swooped in on me and grabbed me by the arm and made me sit on a fancy, cushy, highchair, and started overloading me firstly with how nice I still looked (they know flattery works amazingly well to open your ears and wallet); and secondly, by testing their wares first on my hands and then, very subtly, my face. I succumbed to the niceties and thought a little pampering would make me feel less guilty for always being on the screaming end. It also felt nice being mean and selfish for once to that someone I didn’t want to talk to, since something called communication didn’t exist in his, or perhaps, all men’s vocabulary. So, I was pretty happy getting pretty, and that too for free, or so I thought!

I’ve mentioned often enough that I don’t get many invites (hint, hint), so I’ve mostly sufficed with my cheap and tested retinue of almond oil and coconut oil, and magical drops from the Ayurvedic centre in Mysore, where we’d love to visit more often than we already do to fine-tune and reboot our systems. Then, of course, there’s my indispensable Vicco turmeric cream whose antiseptic properties didn’t stall wrinkles; and neither did Fair & Lovely make me a dot fairer, or lovelier!

Anyway, back to the velvet chair where the whole staff was creeping up to me and bombarding me with both products and flattery. Nevertheless, to succeed, they needed to hold back hubby (getting dearer) from getting bored. So, two younger saleswomen expertly enticed him on to another cushy chair with, “Mitter, mai pen raai, come sit down, while you are waiting for your beautiful madame,” and, “you are so rich and so kind!” Ignoring his adamant refusal, they grasped both of his hands and started manicuring and buffing his nails, something he’s “too manly” for. By now, the marketing strategy was slowly but surely starting to work, with so many mouths saying so very many things and in rapid-fire succession, and when they caught the whiff of my weakening resolve, they quickly plied on to me freebies, which rendered me even more susceptible, after which they tempted me into yet another pricey product with a jingle that never fails: “it’s specially discounted for you!” All with the added allure of yet more freebies, and so on and so forth!

I succumbed to the ‘therapy’, though, as always, I’d lay the blame fully on hubby dear for my shot mood but I guess I did look better, since my granddaughter visiting from London did notice an improvement. So, the verdict on retail therapy is, it does work, although I landed up spending what I would on the doctor if I was on my last breath!

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