Blog: Dave LeggettSpecial offers

Dave Leggett | 5 December 2003

Sometimes special offers are not all they're cracked up to be. We've all learnt that hard rule of life. But sometimes they are and people still don't take them, for all sorts of reasons. I remember an unsavoury episode I experienced at a 'grog shop' (a quaint Aussie term for an off-licence if you're British or liquor store if you're a yank; an alcohol products retailer) in my younger days while visiting a small town on the Australian Queensland coast. It was a hot day and myself and my travelling companion wanted a few chilled tinnies to go with our piping hot lunchtime meat pies (true top drawer Aussie cuisine).

I followed a short middle-aged Vietnamese woman into a grog shop and she picked up her booze and got to the counter to pay before me. Total confusion followed. Victoria Bitter - 'VB'- was on special offer if you bought a four-pack. But the lady only wanted three cans, so that wasn't covered by the deal. The sales assistant helpfully tried to explain that if she picked up another can, it would actually be cheaper than buying the three. The thing was, she couldn't speak good English - or any at all really.

What followed was tortuous to listen to and went on for what seemed like ages. The sales assistant, a young girl, became increasingly impatient and then angry. The Vietnamese woman probably thought the sales assistant was trying to get her to buy an extra can and that it would cost her more. The extra can moved back and forth across the counter and the dialogue of the deaf got louder and louder. Soon, the spare can was being slammed down on the counter. Tempers were fraying.

Eventually the assistant charged her for the three and the frazzled customer left, hot and angry and more than a little bemused. When she was out of the door the assistant ripped into her and said some horribly racist things to me. I should have defended the Vietnamese woman in her absence but I, shamefully, kept my mouth shut. I just wanted to pay for my goods and get out of there as quickly as possible. I still feel guilty about not - at the very least - pointing out to the sales assistant that the Vietnamese lady may not speak good English, but she was a customer deserving a little more respect. The chilled beers quenched my thirst but left a bad taste that day.

Point of all that you may well ask? I've probably got a bit carried away but it is late on Friday and my mind is wandering. Here's the laboured link: if you renew your just-auto membership now, you'll beat the price increases planned for next year and, wait for it, get an extra month for free. Yes, just like the Vietnamese woman and the extra can.


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