Saturday, 28 April 2018

Where have all the promotions gone ?

Many men of this blogger's vintage are seriously challenged when it comes to matters of fashion. This blogger is a card carrying member of the tribe who behaves like this when it comes to clothes

 - A few shirts and a few trousers, all looking very similar, hang in the closet
 - A shirt is plucked from the leftmost corner,  the trouser is picked from the rightmost corner and worn
 - As they are laundered , they join the back of the queue in the hanging sequence; thereby ensuring an automatic first in first out principle !
 - When a hole appears in any of the garments, it is thrown away
 - When there comes a day when not enough shirts or trousers are hanging in the closet, a shopping expedition ensues and half a dozen items are bought and the cycle repeats all over again !!

The last of the above happened recently to yours truly and off I trooped off to the mall to replenish supplies.

By way of background, you must know that this is the way men's clothes are sold in India

 - An anemic looking shirt or trouser is priced at a king's ransom. Let us say that in India it is something like Rs 3000 (circa $50 ; a ridiculous price to pay for a shirt)
 -  Random words such as 'Uncrushables", "Perfect Fit",  "Wrinkle Free", "Soft", "Smooth" , all of which are nonsense, are displayed prominently to justify the price tag. Of course they all mean absolutely nothing.
 - Then a promotion scheme is run wherein you get 2 items free, if you buy 3, or even Buy One and Get One Free (BOGOF is an accepted word in Indian English)
 - Everybody is happy

Men at the level of fashion consciousness as this blogger , shop for clothes as follows

 - Enter the store. Go to the section where their size is stocked
 - Pick the first three shirts on display
 - Pick the first three trousers on display
 - Go to the cash counter and pay
 - Snigger at the lady draping and preening in front of the mirror and  and suggest rudely that no amount of this or that garment can hide the fact that she needs to go to the gym !
 - Exit store, preferably within 5 minutes

Accordingly, I entered a store and performed all of the above maneuvers. And then when I went to the cash counter to pay, the guy said I had to pay for all of them. I told him that I would of course pay for all as per whatever promotion scheme was running. He said there was no promotion scheme and I had to pay full price for all. WHAT ? I have never heard anything more ridiculous. He repeated that I had to pay full price. I said, I don't understand. He patiently said - No promotion. The he spelt it out letter by letter - N O ; P R O M O T I O N.

I stalked out of the store yelling that he must be joking and if he expected me to pay $50 for a shirt, he must be a member of the Monster Raving Loony Party (such a political party actually exists in Her Majesty's land). I stormed  into the next shop and went through the same sequence.

No promotion. Stormed out and went to the next shop. No promotion. Next shop. No promotion. There wasn't anymore shops to enter into. And I had no shirt to wear tomorrow. So I went back to the first shop, tail between my legs, paid $ 50 and bought just one shirt and slunk back home. There is still a  huge hole in  my closet, but I am damned if I am going to pay the ridiculous full price tag to fill it up. I shall launder and iron my clothes twice a day and live with just a pair or two !!!

This facetious post underscores a serious issue. The explosion of promotions and consumer behaviour which has now been tailored to buy only promoted items. All promotions are a distortion on a fair price-value equation. The true price of a product can never be determined when crazy promotions are running all the time.  The seller tries to hoodwink the consumer, the consumer shops around for what he believes is the best promotion and this has become a complicated dance.

And so, apparel manufacturers stopping all promotions is a good thing. But then  they have cheekily not cut the price tag at all. It remains the ridiculous $50.  That's absurd. I live in India and not in the US of A. I am not shopping on Bond Street or the Champs-Élysées. A shirt should cost $10. OK $20. Not $50.

Every manufacturer has withdrawn promotions at the same time. This smacks of collusion. Is the Competition Commission looking ? Or have the stocks of shirts and trousers of the worthies not diminished enough to warrant a visit to the shop ?

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Blogger drafts a new law to be passed

There are various ways to vent out road rage.  I am trying a novel experiment here to douse the fire that is consuming me. By attempting to write a law !! Read on and see if you agree.

Office of the Frustrated Motorists of Bangalore
Middle of Nagwara Junction
Bangalore - 560045
25th April 2018

Do No 435/16/346A/FMB/2018-16

Dear Sirs

The Motorists Community of Bangalore is considering an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act to provide guidance for vehicles driving on the wrong side of the road. It is recognised that in Bangalore the number of vehicles driving on the wrong side of the road have exceeded the number of vehicles driving on the right side of the road. It is therefore in the public interest that clear rules are formulated in this regard.

The draft rules titled "The Bangalore Motor Vehicles (Wrong Side ) Rules 2018 " are hereby being released for public comment & consultation. We are seeking your opinion on these draft rules so that they may be considered before the final Rules are framed and enacted.

Please submit your final comments to this office on or before 13th May, 2018.

-sd-

Assistant Deputy Chief Officer (Acting)
Office of the Frustrated Motorists of Bangalore

The Bangalore Motor Vehicles (Wrong Side) Rules 2018
DRAFT

CHAPTER 1


1. Short title, extent and commencement
(1) These rules may be called the Bangalore Motor Vehicles (Wrong Side) Rules, 2018.
(2) They shall extend only to the city of Bangalore, Karnataka.
(3) They shall come into force on the First day of May, 2018.
2. Need for these Rules
(1) It is recognised that in the city of Bangalore more people drive on the wrong side of the road than on the right side of the road.

(2) The current Motor Vehicles Act is silent on the rules governing driving on the wrong side of the road.

(3) It is therefore considered expedient in the public interest to frame clear rules to guide motorists to drive correctly on the wrong side of the road.

CHAPTER 2

3. Definition of Lanes
(1) The left most lane on any road is exclusively meant for 2 wheelers coming in the opposite direction.

(2) The second and third lanes are exclusively reserved for traffic going in the forward direction.

(3) The right extreme lane (often erroneously called as the fast lane) is meant for
a. Four wheelers coming on the wrong side of the road
b. Two wheelers who are preparing to dart into the opposing side of the road
c. Trucks and buses who have broken down and are denoted by some leaves placed on their rear
d. Yellow board taxis who have had a puncture and whose tires are being replaced
(4) It is expressly clarified that no matter how wide the road is , these four lane rules shall apply.

(5) When a vehicle is parked in the left most lane, right of way on the second lane is for the 2 wheeler coming in the wrong direction.

(6) These definition of lanes cater also to single carriageways where they will apply head on , on both sides.

CHAPTER 3

4. Rules regarding Lights
(1) Any vehicle coming on the wrong side of the road must have their headlamps in high beam. It is preferable that high powered lights are fitted so that oncoming drivers can be blinded as effectively as possible.
(2) It is optional for such vehicles to have their hazard warning lights on.
5. Rules regarding turn indicators
(1) Vehicles coming on the wrong side of the road should not use their turn indicators at all . (Note that Rule 4 (2) encourages them to be used as hazard warning lights).
(2) Any vehicle signalling with their turn indicator is liable to face a penalty of a maximum of Rs 1000 or simple imprisonment not exceeding six months , or both.

CHAPTER 4

6. Special Rules for Two Wheelers
(1) There must be at least 3 people riding on the two wheeler. If any of the riders are less than 12 years of age, the minimum number of riders shall be 4.
(2) The driver shall carry his helmet on the arm. Under no circumstances shall he wear it on his head. Only ISI mark helmets are allowed.
(3) The driver shall speak into the mobile phone for the entire duration of driving on the wrong side of the road. He shall not use the left hand to hold the phone and instead cradle the phone between his neck and the head with the head tilted at a minimum of 35 degrees from the vertical.

CHAPTER 5

7. Rules at Traffic Junctions
(1) Traffic lights shall have the following meaning for vehicles coming on the wrong direction of the road
a. Red means Go
b. Amber means Go
c. Green means Go
(2) At any traffic junction vehicles coming from the wrong side of the road may either continue on the wrong side of the road or change to the opposite side. Such change can be executed at any time while crossing the junction and shall have right of way.

CHAPTER 6

8. Service lanes
(1) For sake of abundant clarity it is hereby reiterated that these Rules are applicable to service lanes to National & State Highways as well. Motorists are encouraged to avail of this facility and drive on the wrong side of service lanes.

(2) It is recognised that all service lanes have either craters of a minimum dimension of 3ft by 2 ft by 4 ft or a lake of equal dimensions. Therefore the lane rules stated in 3 above do not apply to service lanes and any vehicle can occupy any lane.

Chapter 7

9. U Turns
(1) Vehicles coming on the wrong side of the road are permitted to do a U turn anywhere and at any point in time. This provision is to enable them to do an instant U turn at the sight of a Traffic Cop in the distance. Vehicles coming on the right side of the road must give way for those taking U turns.

(2) A minimum of 6 points must be executed while performing a U turn. 3 point U turns are not permitted.
(3) All vehicles coming on the wrong side may, at any time, cross the divider and move on to the right side . Both 2 wheelers and 4 wheelers are allowed to climb the divider and cross over for this purpose. Vehicles coming on the right side shall patiently wait while this maneuver is completed.
(4) Vehicles coming on the right side of the road shall not honk while maneuvers described in (1) , (2) and (3) above are being carried out. If they do provisions of Chapter 8 relating to Road Rage shall apply.

CHAPTER 8

10. Road Rage
(1) In recognition of the extreme stress faced by drivers coming on the wrong side of the road, it is allowed that they freely curse those coming on the right side of the road.
(2) In accordance with Karnataka Promotion of Local Language Act, such cursing is permitted only in Kannada.
(3) Drivers of vehicles coming on the right side of the road shall keep their mouths firmly shut and enjoy the colourful insults, especially on the questions of their parentage and the status of the female members of their family. If they open their mouth they shall be liable to face a penalty of a maximum of Rs 1000 or simple imprisonment not exceeding six months , or both.

CHAPTER 9

11. Pedestrians

(1) Pedestrians are expected to look both sides before crossing the road. If they only look right, and are run over by a two wheeler coming on the wrong side, then there is no liability on the two wheeler and it is entirely the fault of the pedestrian.

(2) Pedestrians are required to move only sideways while walking on a road. This is to enable them to look both right and left , to ensure that they sight vehicles coming on the wrong side of the road early.

(3) Pedestrians are required to do the 360 degree head rotate while they are shuffling sideways along the edge of the road. The sequence and purpose of the rotation is described below
- First right to check vehicles coming on the right side of the road.
- Then down to avoid the crater, lake, fallen board having 136 photographs of politicians looking like constipated owls, egestion output of various animals, etc.
- Then left to check vehicles coming on the wrong side of the road.
- Then up to avoid being entangled by electrical / cable TV wires.
CHAPTER 10

12. Monitoring and Penalties

(1) Traffic policemen shall be deployed at strategic locations to check on compliance with the said rules. They shall be deployed in teams of 2 - one facing the right side of the road and one facing the wrong side of the road to effectively catch offenders.

(2) The maximum fine for offences under these rules is Rs 1000. This can be compounded by a discrete folded note of Rs 100 slipped unobtrusively (amount increases to Rs 200 at monthends to ensure no loss of lifestyle to public servants in the difficult last week of the month) .

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