“Get one free.” Sale fever in Bangkok | Bangkok Post: learning

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“Get one free.” Sale fever in Bangkok

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Venessa Meng, a student at International School Beijing and a Bangkok Post intern, finds out she has a lot to learn about shopping here in Bangkok. 

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Venessa Meng is a student at International School Beijing. She is currently working as an intern at the Life section of the Bangkok Post. She’s been here less than two weeks, but she already has had a column published – the one you are about to read. You can also hear her read her story and I strongly suggest you do, especially if you plan to spend any time in the United States. She sounds exactly the teenagers you will meet there. She reads quite quickly so you will probably want to read the story once before listening to it.


Click button to listen to Thinkbox and rightclick to download

'Tis the season to waste money

Vanessa Meng

Cruising down almost any street with any department store, one can notice the many bold signs announcing the annual Christmas sale. Everywhere red and green plaster buildings decorating their exterior, making the whole structure itself looking like a present. Special promotions are everywhere, it is the season of giving and the store gives its gifts to you.

For any shopper the huge sale taunting you to go in that sparkling shop becomes an excuse to shop even more. Whether it is 5% off or 80% off, as long as it's a sale right? Buying more and more, adding to the pile of unnecessary items the shopper feels good about their purchase, they are after all "saving lots of money". Except, the most lethal parts of the big sale, I think, are free things. The word free has become something that makes me happier than it should. I'm not sure whether it's because free things have become rare, or the fact that it makes me feel like I'm receiving a present from the store itself. This isn't just for department stores either, supermarkets are included in this sale bombardment and are all promoting everything from ice cream to shaving cream.

It so happened that last night, I went to the supermarket just five minutes away from my house with the sole intention of buying just one bottle of eye drops for my dried out eyes. As I walked into the air-conditioned floor, the first thing that caught my attention was a big red sign announcing a promotion. I wasn't even sure what the product was, except the "Buy 3 get 1 free!" sign was too attractive. I decided it wouldn't hurt to check out whatever it was promoting, I would only buy the things I need, I told myself, nothing more.

Now I'm not a very extreme shopper, I'm actually leaning towards the more conservative shoppers usually only buying the things I really needed, except the word free just sucked me right in. Walking over to the loud sign, I realised the promotion was for Hagen Daaz ice cream. None for me I thought, it was too late to haul four tubs of ice cream back home. I cruised around the supermarket some more, and to my excitement found a few more promotions, special creams, lotions and even muffins are all being sold at a cheaper price! Some even given out free, after you buy 2 of the same thing of course. But I trusted myself not to give in to these items. I went around the store one more time, just to waste some time I told myself.

In the end, I went to the check-out counter with four tubs of ice cream, two bottles of lotion, a tooth brush, three cartons of milk and no eye drops. I was happy for a moment with my purchases when I walked out of the store, one tub of ice cream was free, the lotion was only half the price, and one of the milk was free too, I'm still not sure how the tooth brush came about though. Then after a while swinging the too heavy plastic bags I realised what I have done. I was horrified.

What is it about free things? Maybe just the idea of saving a little bit of money makes me think it's worth it. In any case, they make me too much happier than they should and I hope it doesn't happen to all of you as well because I had to walk all the way back to get my eye drops.

Tis – it is
cruise – to move/drive along slowly, especially when you are looking at or for something แล่นไปเรื่อยๆ
bold – that can be easily seen; having a strong clear appearance ชัดเจน, เห็นชัด
annual – happening once a year ประจำปี
plaster – to completely cover a surface with pictures or posters
exterior – the outside part of something, especially a building ภายนอก
promotion – activities done in order to increase the sales of a product or service; a set of advertisements for a particular product or service
taunt – normally to shout unkind things at someone to make them upset, but in this case to cause them to do something they wouldn't normally do
sparkling – very lively and interesting
pile – objects positioned one on top of another กอง
lethal – very dangerous and able to kill you (here the writer is obviously overdoing it a bit) เป็นอันตรายถึงชีวิต
rare – not often seen or found หาได้ยาก
bombardment – attacking a place by firing large guns at it or dropping bombs on it continuously การโจมตีโดยการใช้ระเบิดหรือปืนที่มีอานุภาพร้ายแรง
shave – to make a part of your body smooth by cutting off the hair using a razor or shaver โกน
sole – only เดี่ยวๆ
intention – a plan in your mind to do something ความตั้งใจ เจตนา แผนการ
attention – the interest or thought that you give to something you are doing, listening to or watching ความสนใจ, ความตั้งใจ
attractive – having features or qualities that make something seem interesting and worth having น่าดึงดูด
extreme – considered unreasonable by many people ที่สุดโต่ง
leaning – tending to prefer, support, or be interested in a particular idea or activity เอนเอียง
conservative – showing that you prefer traditional styles and values ที่เป็นอนุรักษ์นิยม
suck – to pull somebody/something with great force in a particular direction ดูด
haul – to pull something heavy slowly and with difficulty ลาก
muffin – a type of round flat bread roll, usually toasted and eaten hot with butter; a small cake in the shape of a cup, often containing small pieces of fruit, etc มัฟฟิน, ขนมอบชนิดหนึ่ง
trust – to believe someone is honest, fair, and reliable  เชื่อใจ, ไว้วางใจ
give in – to agree to do something that you do not want to do ยอม
swing – to move or make something move with a wide curved movement  แขวน
realise – to know about ตระหนัก  รู้
horrified – very shocked or frightened หวาดกลัว,  ตกใจ
worth it – useful, important or good enough to be a suitable reward for the time or money spent คุ้มค่า

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