Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lohbado Suitcase, or Bargain Hunting Hysteria

I went to a discount store at a local shopping plaza, about a ten minute walk from here and bought a suitcase for 70 % off the regular price of $ 200. It came to $ 60. I checked out other econo brands and after unzipping a few, checking interiors, handles and wheels, settled on a Lohbado-style suitcase. 

To perfect the experience, a Lohbado-style discussion occurred with the cashier. When the woman scanned in the price, the register showed $ 70. She called for help. After a few minutes, when nobody showed up to help, she suggested I go to the luggage section and look for a clerk. I found a clerk, pointed out the problem. He agreed. The suitcase was priced at $ 60., Saturday and Sunday only. He followed me back to the cash. The cashier hummed and hawed and then entered the digits of the bar code and sure enough, it came up as $ 60. She explained that maybe in the rush, somebody had forgotten to scan in the time-limited special.

Wednesday morning, Malina and I are going to Oakville to set up a Lohbado booth at an art fair on Lake Ontario. I'll provide more about that in future posts. After calculating the cost of taxi fair, to and from the train station, it became clear that it would be cheaper to purchase a medium sized suitcase and commute via public transit. I did the calculations over a one dollar cup of medium black coffee down at the corner. I got to the plaza, just in time to beat the Saturday rush.

Here's a special Club Morono Meditation: enter a discount store on a Saturday afternoon as shoppers stampede to take advantage of time limited specials. The objective is to observe your state of mind as bargain-hunting hysteria sweeps through the crowd. View each shopper as an individual. 

Each shopper is somebody like you, wanting happiness, but not sure how to stop perpetuating misery and confusion. The challenge is to wander through the crowd, as you too attempt to take advantage of a good deal, while not succumbing to panic and aggression. Do your best to not push and shove, to not step on toes. Don't claw at fellow shoppers. Don't pull hair, bite or scream. Go in there, cool as a cucumber, survey the mountain of merchandise under the reaching, grabbing, poking and pulling hands, chose an item, detach it from the grasp of a hungry ghost, line up for ten minutes at the cash and then leave. 

If you could do this without becoming irritated, jaded, cynical or aggressive, if you could maintain equanimity and even have sympathy with humanity, that's great. If not, keep trying. It takes practice. Repeat the meditative exercise each weekend, noticing your state of mind. The idea is not to achieve any kind of bliss or peace. It's merely to notice how the mind reacts as one enters extremely materialistic environments.

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