My Personal Finance Story: When I Cashed My Gift Coupon

 My Personal Finance Story: When I Cashed my Gift Coupon

There was a brand promotion exercise in our apartment complex from a major automobile company. There were swanky cars on display and everybody including the kids was encouraged to touch and feel the cars. But this post is not about the cars, or even about the type of promotions they did. The gist of the matter is that there were some fun games and the emcee for the evening was distributing gifts and gift cards to the winners of some of the games and quizzes. Yours truly was smart enough to win a gift coupon worth Rs. 500 for a major departmental store. Notice the words smart in the previous sentence; I was soon to regret the joy of winning the gift coupon in the quiz contest.

Richer by Rs. 500 and trying to wipe off my super smart smile behind a veil of modesty, I invited the missus and kids to accompany me on the weekend to the departmental store. Now normally I am one of those boring guys who works with a list. I am also very clear about shopping rules. If it is on the list it goes in to the cart if it is not it is not important enough to be bought at this stage even if the thing is available at a hefty discount. 

So once I got accustomed to the bright lights of the store I decided to start exploring and realized that most of the items were priced just above the magical figure of Rs. 500. But my mental mathematics was telling me that since I will be paying only say Rs.100 extra from my pocket my cost of acquisition of the item in question was only Rs. 100 and not Rs. 600 as was mentioned on the price tag. So I was very happy to get a shirt for Rs. 100 because I was smart enough to win the gift coupon. Just when I was about to start my search for the cash counter in the maze of clothes and other items on display I suddenly got attracted to a shining tie; now ties are my weakness. Though I no longer wear ties to work my memories of my first job when only the boss types use to wear ties still linger fresh. So I decided to buy the tie as it was on sale and very conveniently priced at Rs. 750.

So I thought of keeping the shirt back and taking only the tie though this would have increased my bill to Rs. 250 which was still a good deal. While I was about to do that my elder offspring very cutely mentioned, “Papa you will look really nice in the shirt, why don’t you take both?” Now which father can say no to such persuasion? So my bill increased. Next thing I know the younger one wanted a battery operated toy; the missus had selected a dress for the elder one as she had to participate in a function in the building. Now since only the wife was without an item to buy which would hurt me dearly later, I decided to buy a dress for her. So the shopping expedition had now costed me Rs. 5000 not including the gift card; this when all I had wanted to do was cash my Rs. 500 gift coupon.

But the best was yet to come.

Once I reached the cash counter I gave the loot for the day to the cashier along with my credit card and the gift coupon. He gave me the bill and charged my credit card. When I was about to sign the charge slip I realized that he has not given me credit for the gift coupon. I pointed this out to him and he very innocently smiled and said, “Oh sorry, my mistake sir, but don’t worry your gift coupon has a validity for one year and you can use it next time.” I wanted to argue with him to make the changes in the bill but the queue behind me was trying to give competition to Hanuman’s tail and was increasing by the second. So we left the queue with the gift coupon still in my hand. But I was not aware that the manager of the store had been watching this.

Suddenly he appeared and apologized for the goof up and handed me a Rs. 250 gift coupon and said, “Sir you can use both of them the next time you are here.”

I wanted to hug him to show my appreciation, but decided instead to go to the junk food counter of the mall with the kids to spend some more money.

I still have the gift coupons worth Rs. 750 with me. You are welcome to join me the next time I go to cash my gift coupons.

Prasad NP is a corporate executive most of the week; he pretends to be a photographer and celebrates wanderlust on his travel blog desiTraveler