marketing. malls

Bag-in-Bag !

Malls, these days reflect life in its entirety ! There are many aspects of life that come alive here. Perhaps representative of ‘progress’ !

This is one.

A bag to house your hand bag. As you enter the mall, this big see-through bag is given, if you are carrying a handbag ! This bag, to house that bag. The handbag !

Assuming ofcourse, that you don’t want to hand over your handbag at the security counter. Perhaps because it contains some secret potion or diamonds. Or perhaps you have invested all the money to be seen carrying this handbag around !

Ofcourse, mall security has had enough of fancy people walk in with fancier bags and respectfully walk out with the reams of toilet roll and tissue paper. Perhaps with the odd bits of titanium or Gold or Platinum or whatever…tucked in somewhere !

They aren’t going to be enthused with the prospect of one more handbag undoing their annual bonus !!

Enter this bag.

It is transparent. It a lock, the keys of which are with the cashier ! It holds your handbag , for the world to see! Although, you cant ‘access’ contents of the handbag, but you can take comfort in the fact that you still are carrying it with you !

When through with all the shopping, the cashiers ‘unlock’ the transparent bag and delivers your handbag back to you !

Of course, that’s how you have access to your credit cards and wads of cash !! We are progressing, as mankind. Aren’t we ?

We first walked about with just leaves on us. Considering how much clothes are on in some of the Fashion shows, we are not too far from where we started. In some cases we have bettered that too.

Some years ago, the plain and transparent polythene bag was just about OK. I guess we are getting back there ! Step by step !

Perhaps bag by bag !

Malware !

“I want this job”. How many times has that feeling visited your gut ? In recent times.

Ok. Lets keep out Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan emerging out of water with…. hmm hmm… guns. No, thats not part of this brief.

That feeling hit me. Recently.

In the middle of a swank mall, a group moves about. Carrying advertisements on their back. For a brand of chewing gum. The product is inconsequential, for they could have been promoting toilet cleaners or dry cleaners. The important element was a certain rhythm in their motion !

When i saw them move, i thought I would like that job. You may wonder why.

It was simple ! I would get to see SOME sights. Mall sights !

Of uninterested husbands digging into their blackberry as though it were a device that was stopping planet Earth from imploding. The eager boyfriend variety who buy ( & carry ) the basket to the bread.

The wailing kid who rolls on the ground for everything from the sun to the shoe rack, and test the sound proofing of the Bose showroom.

Sights of eager diners. Chomping on a mix of Mexican curry and malai kofta with etiquette sounding like a bad word in a foreign language. The girls with looks that would kill and the boys with hairstyles that tantamount to murder.

How wonderful will it be. To walk around the mall and NOT BUY !!! No guilt at all. A clear bonus with some exercise for the legs ! That would be a clear bonus. Hmm. I want that job. Really !

Perhaps i will befriend a nice store sales girl who could let me in on intricacies of managing a large store and attendant problems. Of discounts and devious customers. Serious fraud committed with a straight face. Am talking of the discounts here ! The schemes and the scheming !

Wouldn’t it be plain wonderful. To just walk around a mall. Floor by floor. In a formation, that’s befits a fighter pilot squadron. A squadron with no intention of bombing territory or even planning very valorous actions, like piloting the President.

Wouldn’t it be fun to gloriously walk around. Aimlessly soaking up the sights. Following the chap ahead. With whole world as the audience ! The world inside the mall that is ! .

Perhaps in a corner, i might even spot a wistful nitwit. Clicking snaps of cauliflowers and the corner store on a mobile phone.

Bemused look, balding head and bulging middle not withstanding, pontificating on garbage and trophies with an air of a Somali pirate, holding a Saudi oil tanker hostage !!

One look at us walking the floor with the ads on our back would perhaps cause him to wonder about state of the human kind. Able men doing an aimless job. A job that was relegated to the realms of steel, vinyl and lighting of the advertising billboard !

Such types cant get a clue of the fun. Or the pocket money that it gets us. Walking the mall. Selling some ware. The sights, sounds and smells of mall-ware !

A humvee ride !

Here i am. At what they call a ‘hyper market’. I like this place. * And no, this post is not sponsored. I like this place because it is here they give me this big, sturdy shopping cart. A cart that i can push around.

Now, pushing around isn’t something that comes naturally to me. But, it is some fantasy that i have, that i will be able to push people around at home, as well. And this shopping cart is as close i have get to. So, you see, i look forward to the trip to this place.

This cart is ‘beefy’. That’s an adjective, i am told of recent origin, to describe a muscular object. So, John Abraham in Dostana is said to appear ‘beefy’. Coming back to this cart, there are other things that i like.

The combination and mix is neat. There is just about enough steel, and there is a muscular plastic. With some real sturdy wheels. Wheels that carry consumerist India’s weight for the well heeled. Or perhaps, the well wheeled !

And then there is this smooth flow of the cart on the tiled floor. Just as you push your choices around ! The noise, the smooth screech when you deftly navigate the stacks of brands is so invigorating !

But the ‘icing on the cake’…or ‘cherry on the pie’ or ‘lubricant in the engine’, are these: There are no doors to open. No keys to insert. No belts to wear. And no permissions to seek. No lights to stop at. No honks to listen to. No ‘one ways’. No potholes. No police man. If this is not freedom, what is ?!

With this happiness coursing my veins, i look at my fresh set of wheels today. With a heady rush, i start off. I push around with gay abandon. Taking sharp turns and making screeching halts. Throwing in an odd packet or two into the cart. (Lewis Hamilton may like it, but i particularly don’t like undue attention you see).

The only squeal i hear occasionally, is of the missus. With a look of disdain and disapproving disappointment, she seems to have disowned me. And stands afar, like another shopper. And when nobody looks, makes these sweeping gestures imploring, requesting, ordering, threatening etc, asking me to stop right there. Today, a rare, new found courage keeps me going.

Suddenly, an empty stretch. There are stacks of cookies on either side. And a 20 meter freeway straight ahead. I mentally rev and go for it. At the end of the ‘freeway’ i take a blind turn. Suddenly, right before me, appears a beautiful lady. With her cart. We almost collide into each other. With instincts that would qualify me to compete with a Video game specialist, we stop. Our carts, separated by fifty percent of a quarter of an inch.

She smiles an impish smile. I smile too. There are a thousand butterflies that fly. In all these decades of driving on the road, no woman, has smiled at me when i was at the wheel. Not one. (From the outside that is. For purposes of calculation, a smile from the seat beside, is …well..disqualified).

My love for my cart and this hyper market shoots through the roof.

She is panting as well. I realise. Before your imagination goes haywire, i must hasten to add that the panting is because she has been wheeling around. Just like me. And then, with a smile, she says, ‘ I have to entertain my son you see. He likes these rides’.

Ah. Explanation..but where is the son ? She points to the cart. And in a jiffy i see him. Seated right inside that beefy cart. My smile has a greater impish quotient. She has a ‘son-in-the- trolley’ as a reason. And i have three packets of potato wafers. I rankle my brain for a smart one liner. Or two liner. Or whatever. And the boy starts crying. Off she goes.

Some time later, i am billing those small quantities. The cashier seems to give me an odd look. Perhaps he is thinking, ‘so much of wheeling for this scrap’ ! I couldn’t care. And then, i spot the lady. Billing in the next lane.

And right behind me, i hear a voice. A gruff beefy voice. “Why do people think of these shopping carts as military armoured cars ? Is this a Humvee, huh ?!” I don’t turn my head. With a innocence plastered arrogance, i assume that that comment was for that lovely lady. And anybody who heard. Not me.

I look at the lady from corner of my eye. And i see her looking ( glaring) in my direction. And then discover, that glare is not at me. I think that the glare was reserved for the gruff voice. That proved it. That comment was for the lady.

Coming home, i look up Humvee and discover that it stands for “High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle”.

Of course. Of course. Of course. It is high mobility. And serves many many purposes. I want to confront this dude with the gruff voice.

I sure will return to this store. And to my Humvee ! Only to give that gruff voice the right perspective. Nothing else.


( Disclaimer : I hold no shares, share no interest, and the only place that i visit every week is my in-laws and the local temple. Not this place. So.)

Horses For The Courses

They talk of studs. Stud farms. Jockeys. Race Courses. Fancy names. And so on. And yet, when i see a horse gallop, i always stop. Immaterial of whether it is pulling a gluttonous gent seated with imperial majesty on a ramshackle cart, or a ‘Polo” t-shirt wearing gent playing..polo !

Or for that matter, those boys who ply these majestic animals for prosaic tasks. Like a ride across a litter laden beach. Or a worse litter laden hill station. The setting hasn’t mattered. A horse always catches my attention.

I guess it started with an English lesson, i think it was in Class II, called ‘Black Beauty’. A tale of a black horse with a white patch on his forehead. I know i can never come to owning one. Nor would i want to.

But that doesn’t stop me from staring and looking at how majestic they are. This team intrigued me. They stood in all colour. Steady. And still. At a family deity’s temple close to Madurai. They stood in majestic style ooze. Even though one among them was headless. A hopeless vandal or a mischievous child would have done his or her bit to shape the landscape (sic) ! T

he steady white and the riot of colour on them, seem to give them a character. A character that,i thought gave these lifeless forms a strange double life ! After all, these were celestial horses. Meant for the Gods !

This was clicked outside a mall in Bangalore. The ‘false legged horse’ (Poi Kal Kudhirai) is a dance form that amazes me no end. An inanimate horse brought to life by a human being, who animatedly rides the inanimate horse, to synchronised music and a colour riot !

How better can it get ?

Well, for starters this can still continue to be a ‘performance’ and not compete with a marketing ‘offer’ or a sales promotion effort ! This demeans a dance form.

And oh, yes, demeans horses too !