THE grumbling of my stomach and the ticking of my wristwatch vied for my attention, both conniving to stretch my patience to the limit. As usual, I had missed breakfast and lunch, munching only on a piece of chocolate bar.
I had looked forward to an equally-sumptuous but inexpensive meal tonight, having planned to avail of an anniversary promo of a fastfood outlet but co-reporter Aurea and I met the biggest disappointment of our lives when we saw the huge crowd (more like a stampede) of people gathered at the counter to order food, while more people were milling outside, waiting for their chance to be able to enter the fastfood restaurant.
Hungry but determined, Au and I joined the maddening throng of hungry people from all walks of life, endured being pushed in all directions by bodies and elbows and more bodies. In a short while, I started to feel feverishly hot despite the full blast of the airconditioner. The 'stampede' was just too much to endure but so was our hunger.
Oh wow, I expected lots of people but not this many! Everybody seemed to be united in ignoring the "Please fall in line" signboards. Practically all tables were occupied, so even if we were able to get food, we still would have to eat standing up and the idea is unappealing.
We seemed to grow farther and farther away from the cashier as more people squeezed in between acquaintances but we stuck to our positions. After what seemed like an eternity, a waiter finally approached to take our orders but the skies came crashing down when he told us that only french fries and spaghetti (yucks!) were available for the promo items.
I made a face and elbowed my way out of the crowd, with Aurea following close at my heels. So much for buy-one take-one promos, that's what we got!
We went straight to a rival fastfood outlet a few steps away where lonely tables stretched and our orders were delivered instantly. Before long, people started to stream into the fastfood
after us. Like us, they were unable to avail of the sale the fastfood announced, but they were lucky they didn't go through what we had.
We have to admit it, Filipos are really suckers for sale/slash prices. We are known to go to great lengths just to avail of sale prices. (Remember NCCC's midnight sale where the glass door was smashed to pieces by the stampede of people who rushed to enter the store?)
A signboard carrying the word 'SALE' always catches our full attention. Oftentimes, we end up buying things we really don't need when the word "SALE" starts waving in the air like irresistible hands.
When I see a "Sale" signboard, I know I have to stop by just for a look, and end up penniless because of a sale too irresistible to let pass.
Cutting the everyday price brings shoppers in and storeowners are aware of this. Malls and department stores create various gimmicks to make sure consumers have plenty of motivation to go shopping.
The malls seemed to hold infinite sales and bargains to boost their revenues. There's the 'Summer Sale', the 'Mid-year Sale', the 'Inventory Sale', Christmas Sale, Year-End Sale, Valentine Sale, School-Opening Sale, Mother's Day Sale, Father's Day Sale, Graduation Day Sale and all other 'sales' aimed to continue the flow of shoppers in the stores and malls.
In all these sales, you have to endure being tossed and pushed and jabbed and stepped-on and even mauled (yes, really) before you can go out of a mall with your precious package, only to find out later that you picked the wrong size, or you don't like the color or that you don't need the item after all.
You're thinking that I would avoid "SALE" signboards now, aren't you? Think again... I have to be off, the nightmarket is about to open and I'm sure there will be a lot of items on sale there!