A sucker for promos | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

I’m a sucker for promos, whether for dining out or traveling. I try to grab them at first chance, before they expire quickly, as apparently they are precisely intended, the better to manage a free-for-all. It’s like a carrot dangled momentarily, leaving one the feeling of being stick-whipped once left out.

I am myself left out of promos more often than not, and not seldom by default. When I learn of a 50-percent discount at restaurants, say, I often fail to read the small print that specifies the type of credit card honored, which reflects the credit limit—plain, gold or platinum—or I’m there on the wrong day for the promo that is good only for weekdays.

The other day, I asked my husband to look into one of those generous promos at a favorite Chinese restaurant. I wanted to host a nephew visiting from Spain. I reminded Vergel to make sure we had the right card, and we did. The food was excellent, not despite but especially because it was on discount. If Vergel had any concerns, it was whether we had reached the discountable amount, especially since the restaurant somehow forgot to serve us our steamed fish.

Added pressure

After a rather long wait, the cashier came, apologetic: Vergel’s card wouldn’t go through—he couldn’t remember when he last used it, being not his favorite card to use. Anyway, did I have its twin? Alas, I don’t carry all my cards, and, as in Vergel’s case, particularly not that card. In the end we had to content ourselves with senior discounts, which came close to the amount we’d have paid with the proper card—of us six, four were seniors.

When I got home I looked for my card right away, and found two of the same one, both unactivated!

For travel, there’s the added pressure of a deadline for paying, and other conditions to be met. Backing out of a promo is never a happy option. A promo, I tend to imagine, happens when the seller cuts losses or invests in future customers. In any case, blinded by the drastically cut price of a plane ticket or a tour, the buyer tends to bite without thinking things through.

Dream itinerary

At this age, if we think too hard, we may not be able to go anywhere anymore. Taking risks becomes part of the adventure; many things can happen between now and then and between then and further into our increasingly shortened future. Because we can’t plan too far forward, we are happy suckers for bargains. We’ve been wanting to travel to northern Japan and thinking of booking a cruise for September; in fact, several friends have signed up. While we’re trying to decide, a discount for the same itinerary comes on offer for only a third of the cost. The only difference is that the cruise is skipping Hokkaido, which happens to be destination of our hearts’ desire, and it will be in October. We sign up, anyway.

Meanwhile, our favorite liner comes up with a ridiculous price for a dream European itinerary. Without thinking, I put down a deposit for it, too, to secure a booking. Day by day, the decision begins to look rash. November is when Vergel’s brother comes home for a rare visit. Also, the cruise is setting out too close after the Japanese one, nine days from our arrival. Not to mention, November is cold. We cancel; our deposit is applied to a future cruise, in order to make us feel we’re not taking any losses.I just can’t seem to learn my lesson. I don’t remember being this way—ever. I’m becoming like Mom. Mom couldn’t resist bargains, especially in her later years. She just loved to shop.

In the States, she could spend whole days in malls. She was unbeatable in those “all-you-can-put-in-your-cart-in-30-minutes” races for bargains the public address system announced suddenly. Sorting through piles and piles of bargained items did not seem to deenergize her at all. In her old age, she bought things on sale whether she needed them or not, for mere bragging rights, I guess—she got them cheaper than anyone else did.

Me—I wait for sales to get what I need cheap, and not feel like a fool getting them at regular prices. I’m still kept sane by my limited resources. INQ

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