Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weighed down

While I was having my breakfast the other day and watching my local news channel, my sleepy state of watching daily news was suddenly interrupted by a truly breaking news. The local news channel broadcast live – President Obama giving his impassioned speech on immigration reforms. He is a mighty impressive orator. To be fair, I don’t understand anything about American politics. (Yeah I do see House of Cards once a while, but it gives me an impression that American politicians are sly, scheming and conniving bunch of high-profile scoundrels. And I can safely assume that they are not.)

Anyway, this blog post ain’t about America or Obama. It’s about my weighing scale. That little thing neatly sits besides my Television at home and dutifully tells me how heavy I am everyday (Yup, I make it a point to weigh myself every morning – a sad way to start your day actually!).

However from that morning, my scale has started showing my weight in Pounds. After all these years of showing Kilograms, I don’t know why it suddenly became imperial. The only association I can put together is – it heard the President speak, got inspired (and hoped to be an American someday) and started following the American way of counting. I have no clue why the Americans still use the imperial system (someone has to show them this comic by Oatmeal). Luckily, my scale doesn’t speak else I am sure it would have adopted an American accent as well.

Now everyday morning, after I weigh myself I have to go to Google and convert that weight into Kilograms to feel sad.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


It’s the 11th month of the year. And it’s the month to raise awareness about men’s health. Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you are aware of the “Movember” movement. Men grow moustaches in November to raise awareness about men’s health issues. Particularly – Testicular cancer, Prostrate Cancer, Mental Health and general Men’s health.

Though I have known, I stayed away from Movember for the last 2 years. This year however, I gave in and am on day 15 of my moustache growing spree. Why? Beyond the obvious reason of supporting a good cause, I also wanted to grow a moustache. I never dared to sport a moustache (other than the one that I had as an adolescent – the kinds that teenagers keep before they actually resort to shaving), and have pretty much stuck to the “clean-shaven” look for all formal occasions. However, as a kid, a silly Hindi movie imbibed in my impressionable mind  - “Moustache is the mirror of human mind and soul” and I always wanted to experience what that means. Now after 15 days, the only difference I feel now is that my moustache is itchy. Period.

Golmaal–Moustache scene


Ministry of Funny–7 Reasons to Grow a Moustache

So to sum it up, I am waiting for November to end so that I can be peaceful again. I haven’t officially signed up for Movember. Mainly for 2 reasons:

Anyway, now that you are aware, I would love you to contribute directly to any of the causes that you feel like. Even if you don’t, I hope I could do my bit about educating you about men’s health and of course my fascination for moustaches.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Product Pricing

I had the good fortunes of spending half a day with a savvy pricing guy from a local retailer. In the short time that I spent with him, he opened my eyes to how ignorant and gullible a consumer I am, and how retailers make use of that fact quite frequently to con me into parting with more of my money for their products. Enough ink has been spent about all these practices, so I am just gonna give you very short examples that have stuck in my head. Mind you, I am not even talking about the silly promotions that they run all the while. This is the hard-core regular bread and butter stuff:

  1. We don’t really know the exact prices of the consumables that we use everyday but don’t buy that frequently – e.g. – Shampoo, Soap, Toothpaste, Dishwasher etc. We are either brand loyal or we just go by the advertising on the shelf to do our purchases. The retailers use the knowledge of this fact to keep changing (mostly increasing) prices of all their consumables very frequently. The demand for these things is pretty inelastic and unless there is a crazy price increase we hardly bother or even realize.
  2. Besides prices, the other thing that they frequently play with is the packaging (net weight/ volume). This is because for items that are purchased frequently, we really know the prices quite well, and any movement in the price is easily noticed by the consumer (e.g Milk, Biscuits, Yogurt, Cereals etc.). But we are not that cognizant of the quantity of that item that we buy. So they trick us by changing (mostly decreasing) the volume while keeping the price of the product same, there by increasing the per unit cost.

After listening to his sermon, I was pretty sure that now I have “awakened” and have become a smart shopper till a few days ago I got conned again. A “health” drink that I frequently purchase (I know the price right down to the cents) just went through a huge rebranding and repacking exercise (yeah the “new and improved” trick). My local neighbourhood chemist was running a promotion on it and was selling the old product and new product side by side. Using my age old trick, I picked up the rebranded product (from the back) and went to the check-out counter. Luckily, that guy pointed out to me that to maximize my purchase I should buy the old packaging cause the new packaging actually offers 50gm less. Off 900 gm, it’s a decrease of 5.6% weight keeping the price same.

Newer on the left is 50 gm less

I don’t have an opinion about whether it is ethical or not. But I just feel as a consumer, we need to be more aware and not this gullible.