You know the scene.
You’ve done it before, many times.
You step off the train and head straight towards the group of people who look far too cheery for a Monday morning.
They’re handing out free samples.
It doesn’t matter if it’s free shaving cream (and you’re a woman).
It doesn’t matter if it’s free tampons (and you’re a man).
It doesn’t even matter if it’s free crotch-less undies (and you’re a hermaphrodite with the piles).
All that matters is that it’s freakin’ free!
You pretend that you’re not paying attention to these corporate Santas.
You feign genuine surprise when they thrust a bottle of free deodorant your way:
“Wow! Is this for me? And it’s free? Thanks!”.
You feign the same surprise when you’ve walked around the station several times to increase your free booty:
“No, I don’t look familiar. We’ve never met. Yes, I’m sure I’m not the only blonde, midget emo in the city this morning with a lazy eye and a T-shirt that says “Good things come in small packages. But talk about my height and I’ll cut you right after I cut myself”.
You’re genuinely surprised when you boss asks you why you have 17 bottles of deodorant on your desk.
He’s just as surprised when you tell him that your co-workers stink (and for the first time that morning, you didn’t lie).
WHY DO BARGAINS DRIVE US BONKERS?
There’s something about getting something for free or at a bargain price that makes us act like idiots.
The normal rules of social decorum don’t apply when bargains are on. Let us demonstrate.
Big screen TVs – the social symbol that you’ve made it.
Like men’s fixation with size, the bigger the better. However, in this game, girth doesn’t count. You want it big and you want it thin. Most of all, you want it cheap.
We wanted it cheap too. So we couldn’t believe our eyes when our local electronics speciality store that also dabbles in groceries (known as “Aldi”), was selling a huge, full high definition, flat screen LCD TV for about half the price of that poor, balding bloke who was losing millions to online e-tailers (known as Gerry Harvey).
We arrived at our local Aldi well before opening time.
The signs weren’t good. Already, a line had formed at the entrance.
The pimply, work experience check out boy looked at us nervously, in the same way a thin, androgenous guy with long hair cowers in the corner of the prison shower as several large and well endowed men throw a bar of soap at his feet.
Maybe we were pre-judging humanity. Although a crowd had built up, there was jovial banter amongst strangers. People laughed at how Aldi could make money on these TVs. Men joked at how it was silly how many people had turned up just to enable some Chinese slave labourers to make 20 cents an hour.
But then the doors opened, and it was on for young and old …
THE SPANISH BULL RUN
The famed Spanish bull run has nothing on the infamous Blacktown bargain bash.
When the doors opened, it was if the starter’s pistol had fired at the 100 metre Olympic dash finals.
Men behaved like boys and shoved people out of the way.
Women behaved like men and shoulder barged their way through.
Even old people found a new lease on life as they used their shopping trolleys as makeshift battering rams – funny how you can drop your walking stick if the motivation is right.