Breakfast At Discount
by Eva Bell
Sales gimmicks grow more innovative with each passing day. A multi-storeyed Department Store in Bonn, came out with a novel way to lure customers by advertising breakfast for 1-Euro, through coupons printed in newspapers. To reach the café, one had to traverse three floors with temptingly-displayed merchandise. With a coupon, one could have two buns, cereal, a pat of butter, a portion of jam, and a cup of coffee or tea. Extras like salami, ham or cheese had to be paid for. The counters were open only between 8-11 A.M.
The café was packed with decent people - Old women meeting for a chin-wag over breakfast, elderly couples out for a lark, and young people ready to snatch a bite before rushing off to work.
I had seen this woman on the street, pushing a hooded buggy. She was a real weirdo, with coloured cellophane tied around her wrists, beads and baubles dangling from her neck, sunglasses and a floppy hat.
“ Probably a rag-and-bone woman,” I thought, “And the buggy is stuffed with her pickings.”
Now here she was in the café, for a breakfast at discount. She pushed her cart into a corner, lifted out two little boys and seated them at a table. She rummaged in her bag for the coupons, probably cut out from somebody’s discarded newspaper. But she couldn’t find any.
As the man at the counter shouted, “Only two minutes more,” she became frantic, spilling the contents of her bag on the table.
At the queue, there was much jostling and pushing. An old man, who looked as though he hadn’t eaten for days, stepped out and handed his coupon to the woman.
“Your need is greater than mine,” he said, and disappeared into the elevator.
In a few minutes, there was much confusion at the cash counter. A lady in the queue, who was just ahead of the generous donor, couldn’t find her wallet. “Oh my goodness! I must have left it at home,” she moaned.
Later that day, I spotted the familiar buggy outside McDonald’s. Seated inside the Cafe, were the old man and his ragged accomplice with their two little boys. They were tucking into chicken nuggets and French fries. The man chuckled to himself, as he patted a nice fat wallet and thrust it into his pocket.
“Who wants breakfast for a Euro, when we can have several lunches for free,” he seemed to be thinking. Rogues do have their gimmicks too!