I’ve Got a Golden Ticket

The local upscale Wholefoods-like grocery store, Rustens, was running a promotional. It was straight out of the ’70’s, but I like shopping games, so I got hooked. The offer was simple: every time you spent 500 pesos ($10 bucks) you got a sticker. Accumulate enough stickers, and get a serving dish of your choice.

Every time I’d go to Rustens I’d see all of the fancy bowls and platters arrayed on their display stand, and I’d drool a little. But I set my goals practically. My bowl required the least number of stickers: 55.

(For those doing the math, it required us to spend 27,500 pesos, or $550 USD to acquire this bowl “for free” ha ha ha.)

I quickly became a sticker addict. Week after week I needed my fix, and if I didn’t get it, I’d get itchy. Soon, I started hitting up my friend Carlos. “Hey man, are you going to Rustens to buy that Greek yogurt you like? It’s worth 2 stickers…can I have them?” Or to my other friend Suresh, who doesn’t always shop in Rustens, I’d slyly say, “Well, if you happen to buy something in Rustens, I’m collecting stickers for that bowl.”

Hey man, can you give me some stickers...?

Hey man, can you give me some stickers…?

But Rustens is clever. The promotional period ends July 5th. So if we were going to win the bowl, I needed to make sure we were pumping our grocery money into Rustens.

Towards the end I became desperate. “Carlos,” I’d plead, my eyes a little glassy, “I only need 10 more. We’re so close!” (I said “we” because I wanted the guys to think of the bowl as theirs too, but they saw right through my tactics!)

In the end, though, it was the guys who provided the last 10 stickers so I could reach the promised land.

Just ... one ... more ... !!!

Just … one … more … !!!

Tonight I went to the Customer Service desk and said to the clerk, with more than a little pride in my voice, “Today is a great day!” I was beaming from ear to ear like a maniac.

She smiled at me, in the way that knowing clerks, the world over, deal with crazy customers. She simply said, “Yes ma’am.”

I said, “I have something for you!” getting giddier by the moment. As I opened my purse and pulled out my sheet, the clerk couldn’t help herself, she giggled. Yes, I knew I had lost my mind, but I didn’t care. I was getting my beautiful, my precious……..

She went to the display and picked up a 1.7 liter gourmet mixing bowl and presented it to me. “Does this one look alright?” she asked.

“Oh yes,” I said, “it looks perfect!”

The golden bowl

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