So we live in quite a studenty area of Swansea, and at the end of September each year we get the stereotypical student junk mail through the door. So far we’ve got the flyers from PETA claiming that we’ll each eat three cows during our lifetime (what, only three?) We’ve got Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat proto-Assembly members trying to be legends in their own press releases, all with some justification. We’ve yet to get the Legalise Cannabis Alliance pushing any hemp-based paper through our door for us to throw straight in our recycling, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.
And on top of this, of course, we’ve got an approximate hundredweight of take-away and fast food vouchers and menus. So with my best economy hat on, I sat down and worked out the best combination of vouchers to use to save the maximum amount of money. There were times when Numberwang made more sense, but eventually I dragged our lodger along so we counted as two customers, and we invaded our local Subway.
After we explained what we wanted to do, and the heads of the sandwich artists (no, really, that’s what they’re called) stopped spinning in confusion, we were offered our free drinks. Now naïve money-savers might go for the fizzy stuff off the mixers, but no, not me. Because I’d read at least three pages of Eric Schlosser’s book, and so I knew the devious tricks that were being played on me. I wasn’t going to fall for a so-called free Coke that probably only cost the chain 3p. No, I went for the ‘gourmet’ coffee. Quite a sensible option for a take-away meal, I felt.
And so we arrived home, sodden after a rain shower, after having passed the hot coffee from person to person to stop our hands from burning up. And so I drank the luke-warm, rained-on, slightly spilt and vaguely disappointing coffee with even more smugness than usual, knowing that Subway had probably lost at least 20p on our sale.
So if you get any promotional vouchers through your door and feel like using them, here are my words of advice. Don’t plump for what’s practical in your situation. Go for the slightly more expensive options instead. Even if you don’t particularly like them.
Because that, comrades, is how we’ll bring capitalism crashing down at our feet: by going out and spending money to get things we neither need nor want.
Vive la revolution.