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Shopping in this age

Some time back, I was at a small street-side store that sold splendid arrays of fashion accessories. I happened to see a svelte girl in a dress and stilettos, screwing up her eyes and scrutinising a set of stone-studded bangles, while simultaneously sending the snapshots of the accessories to someone. Presuming her to be a potential customer, the proprietor was busy plying her with choices of pretty accessories.

Observing her, I had guessed within seconds that she was just a window-shopper as she waited for someone. Just as I had inferred, the moment she saw some guy signalling at her, she hopped out of the shop in long strides without spending a single penny, after squandering the time of the storekeeper.

Indeed, window-shopping is an art in itself. Perhaps all it needs is the knack of plunging into the mind’s imponderable depths for those specific things that are not in the shop, and persistently asking for it till the shopkeeper is full of remorse for not providing you with those items as you leave the shop displaying pseudo-displeasure, and importantly, without having pulled your purse-strings.

These techniques I had twigged by watching a friend, a terrific window-shopper. Recently, this friend was all set to stride into a shop selling full-length skirts. “You already have dozens of it. Can’t we skirt the idea of buying skirts?” I quipped. Her usual refrain was, Dekhne mein kya harz hain yaar? Then, rushing inside, she launched on her usual modus operandi of window-shopping, as the sales girl displayed several varieties.

“Well, this skirt is too garish, flamboyantly coloured… Graphic prints too bold in this… Geometric patterns, not impressive… Don’t you think this is over-neoteric and outlandish to look at? Floral designs, not really captivating… The pastel hues, a whit staid… Actually, I am looking for some raven-black and red combo. No, not that cherry-red or blood-red… It is tomato-red…” Needless to say, we walked out later without buying anything.

Yet another time, on a scalding noon, coercing me to come along she charged inside a cool jewellery showroom. Sipping into freebie cold beverages, she set off on her strategy. “This piece is a tad traditional, looks like we have just tumbled out of caves… This is too nouveau a pattern, spoiling that aesthetic look.… Now, don’t try diddling us with some inferior stuff. Do I look so credulous?” While the sales girl, sweat trickling down her temples, was tenaciously presenting tantalising designs, my friend was stubbornly shaking her head at every single piece that was offered.

Later outside, she said cheerily, “Imagine all these free mauj, masti, mazaa…!” Then, she revealed something that stumped me beyond words. “Know what I do these days? In snazzy showrooms, I pick up couple of sensuous looking dresses, which surely I wouldn’t be buying, then sport them in trial rooms, take selfies and send them across on Facebook and garner millions of likes!”

Indeed, an irredeemable window-shopper, I sighed.

kaur.navneet1001@gmail.com


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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 4:03:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/shopping-in-this-age/article26898795.ece

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