Trilokjit Sengupta’s Blog: From the diary of a complying consumer

In this month’s blog, Metal Communications’ Trilokjit Sengupta takes on a trip to the supermarket

May 23, 2011 12:55:00 PM | Article | Trilokjit Sengupta

It’s 7.30 in the evening and I am standing here at an overcrowded aisle of a well-lit supermarket. In my hands, I have two bottles of shampoo. Both well-known brands. I can’t make up my mind. All I can remember is that Aishwarya and Shilpa come on television to endorse these. I think both are hot. And the prospect of buying them together excites me deeply. Do they really use these shampoos? I doubt it. Any idiot knows that.

I think hard. My thinning hair doesn’t really warrant a shampoo. But we need it all the same. In my bathroom there are at least ten different bottles in various stages of use. But there is space for more. Besides, these are new variants. We need this. I have seen how people are more confident when their hair and teeth are shiny. I have a need to be liked.

I am not gullible though. You can’t fool me. I might not know what ‘dirt busters’ mean, but I always buy detergent with ‘dirt busters’. I bought a front loading washing machine last month. And the front-loading detergent, with the above mentioned ‘dirt busters’ are four times the price of my last detergent. But I buy it all the same. Why should I buy the pigeon droppings that I used to buy earlier? Am I mad? My clothes come out cleaner. They really do. Much, much cleaner than my neighbours when I last compared them in the lift.

I move to the next aisle. I see my wife peering and reading the labels on breakfast cereal boxes. She picks up the one that Lara Dutta likes. I break in to a smile. I love the ad where she has breakfast in an awesome red sari. Yes, I like Lara Dutta. It’s a solid, smart decision. I ask her for her opinion on the shampoo. She sides with Aishwarya almost instantly.

My phone rings. I take the call. The call drops after five seconds. It is a mystery. I have a smart phone.  It can make video calls, play television, surf the internet and also make calls. So it must be good. My 3G network provider too is something of a champion. It is characterized by a strange but cuddly creature who is a superhero.  I love those ads.  But I do wish I could make calls more often. I call their customer service everyday. They have become my friends. Though they don’t know why this is happening as well. They are kids, you can’t really blame them. Maybe the superhero gentleman is a little busy. I am sure they will fix these problems. Before people get upset, I mean.

My wife in the meanwhile has loaded up the cart with essentials that are so very important for our daily existence. Yoghurt, barbeque sauces, expensive cheese and imported coffee for our imported coffee machine. I shrug. These days like most Indians, my disposable income is very high. And I spend all my free time in malls and supermarkets like these. Buying stuff.

My son walks up to me with a bag of munchies. He wants to buy it because it has got a cartoon animal on it. It is a very cute packet. I buy him two. It gets rid of hunger pangs very efficiently. While I am at it I also buy some biscuits. Do you know that the same company who manufacture my cigarettes also makes my biscuits? They also make shirts, soap, shampoos and snacks! Unbelievable, isn’t it? What people I tell you! They must be super clever to do so many things at once. Really there is so much to learn.

My wife is done. She hands me a men’s fairness cream that Shahrukh uses. I want the one that John uses. She points out that he really has never had a hit film and its incomprehensible why
people still use him in ads. She is smart, my wife! I comply.

We go and stand at the checkout counter. In a matter of seconds the delightful stuff we purchased is billed for and loaded in the boot of our car by a helpful store employee.

I just bought my car. It’s an international brand. I was told that the engineers cry when they sell it and have to see it go. It must be too good. I am very happy. It doesn’t feel too different from my last car though. But I must be mistaken. What do I know?

Like any normal person, I took a loan to buy my car. The bank that gave me the loan is very nice. They took great care of me when I was taking the loan. They apparently remember people’s birthdays and give them laddoos. I love laddoos. Now they have become busy. They don’t take my calls that often. They must be really stressed because sometimes they talk a little rudely as well. But I understand. What do I know of how banks work?

We sit in the car. We have just bought a lot of things that we will now go and stock up the fridge with. My fridge is the same one that Katrina Kaif uses. Katrina must be eating well na? She says this one keeps food fresh for longer. But by next weekend we will throw out most of what we bought and come back to the supermarket again for another great time.

I would have lost more hair.

But if my wife starts looking like Aishwarya or Lara, it will be so worth it.

Trilokjit Sengupta is the CD and one of the founder members of METAL Communications. He has spent almost ten years in advertising and thinks it is enough.