I do not really like to shop. I make a list, go to the shop and realize that I have left my list at home. Then I fix the grocer with a glittering eye and will him to remember everything I wrote on that list.Another thing is calculating change. Sometimes the numbers just don’t seem to add up but one has to pretend to look mathematical and walk out with the change in one’s hand. Then I calculate and re-calculate all the way home or to the next shop. For instance I have trouble with numbers like 38. If I proffer a hundred-rupee note, at the immediate point of transaction I know I should receive Rs. 62 as change but somehow my brain tells me, you havta get 72, 72, 72…
Now there’s a new complication. Sweets. Sweets have become the new legal tender in the larger stores and in certain pharmacies. In the past they would round off a .50 paise piece of change they owed you and offered you a sweet instead, generally a mint or a cough lozenge. Later they went into Eclairs and toffees in lieu of Re 1 change. Now they hand over five cough lozenges if they have to give you Rs 5 change. This is annoying, not just to me, but to my friend Omlet. He sat himself down, looked earnest and said, “Tell me, since when have sweets become legal tender?”
I understand his pain, because frankly this sweet business distresses me in no small measure. Now I have to calculate the cost of the sweets, then I have to find out the wholesale rate of the sweet, then I have to calculate how much extra the shop cashier is bilking me of in terms of change. Five sweets at wholesale rate are a mere fraction of the change actually due to me, this I discover as I am digging out bits of sweets that have lodged in my teeth, spawning brand new cavities and blood-sugar levels, while my mind and other nine fingers are calculating cost of sweets and amount of change due to me.
In the past they made it very easy, they gave you your change in the form of a token, which was a pretty neat thing, because it guaranteed that you would return to the shop to get back your Re 1 or Rs 2 or Rs 5. It made for more footfalls as I think they say in business and the shortchanged person did not feel shortchanged since he could come back and use that change towards buying more stuff.
Some shop owners had the wonderful idea of keeping postage stamps of many denominations, but with the advent of email, stamps were stamped out. With the amount of diabetics in
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Sometimes self-righteousness works.