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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sale! Sale! Sale! Sale na kayo!

Cebu City and its immediate environs (at least their political leaders) are all agog with the upcoming ASEAN Leaders’ Summit. Sparing no expense, the streets are festooned with welcome banners and all things Pinoy to showcase our (in)famous hospitality. December 2006 is coming down as one of Cebu’s craziest. (The truly unique Lhuillhier Christmas Tree, sitting on Fuente Osmena, is said to cost a million pesos, adding to the glitz of the season.)

Well, December always IS crazy. Unfortunately, something about the ‘Ber months convert people into a frenetic bunch of crazy consumers. Forget the US’s Black Friday: in the Philippines, it’s Black October, November, and December- despite the myriad convulsing colored lights (whose number is enough to create glitz that rival the sun’s).
With business establishments declaring price-offs almost too indecent to repeat here, the country’s practically sold out.

And even I, I am not exempted.

A glimpse into my retail therapy past, as I’ve articulated in my September 7th, 2003 entry in my old blog.

I am the power of advertising personified. In a span of less than two hours, I have succumbed to at least half a dozen promotional gimmicks that allegedly aim to make my life easier, if not happier or more delicious. Consider:

5:52 pm: I purchased original HP ink catridges because I read in an HP paid newspaper supplement that the “compatible” ink catridges, though a whole lot cheaper, cause damage to the printer whose repair will ultimately be costlier. And the red Benetton wallet which I got for free was quite cute. I paid for the ink catridges using a credit card with “really, really low interest rates”;

6:21 pm: At the supermarket, I picked out from amongst the vast array of shampoos the one with “new and improved ZPT formulation” for my stress dandruff. For all I know, that ZPT thingie is causing my scalp to slough off dead skin faster. Yeap, I put to good use my credit card to pay for the ZPT shampoo with other grocery items, including those I stowed into my shopping basket from the rack in front of the cashier as I waited in line;

6:41 pm: I bought a 3-for-fifteen-pesos set of pens. They are so crappy-looking I may need to buy one set a day, if they can last that long. I again used a credit card to pay for the darn pens along with my other bookstore purchases. After all, the credit card’s interest rates are “really, really low”;

7:27 pm: True to form, I bought dinner from Jollibee. But it wasn’t like any other dinner- it was a two-piece burgersteak meal with FREE dessert. The freebie I got from upgrading a previous purchase of value meal plus softdrink into value meal plus iced tea. So it was quite logical for me to upgrade my current two-piece burgersteak meal plus softdrink to a two-piece burgersteak meal plus iced tea so that I have a chance to win another freebie. And another free dessert I did earn! All these purchases, of course, are credited to my Silver Card, which earns for me a point for every peso I spend in Jollibee. These points I can redeem later to get more freebies.

I would like to think that I am somehow helping jumpstart the Philippine economy with these small trading activities. I would like to think that I am somehow appreciating the many a sleepless night spent brainstorming to come up with strategies to entice Filipinos to part from their hard-earned pesos. I would like to think that I am somehow recognizing the efforts of the artists and graphics persons and marketing personnel without whom knowledge of the promos and special offers will not be made known to me. These purchases are really for them.

With love, from gullible me.

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