July 24, 2007

Opportunities - Plus Or Minus

July 24, 2007 Posted by Vijay , No comments
The land of opportunities, United States. Yes, it certainly has been for some years, and will be for a few more. That, is a reflection of the job market for all Indians coming to U.S. But it is a case of missed opportunities if you are planning to buy shirts from here. Though it is a U turn from job to shirts to purchase, it goes without saying that, it can be difficult getting the exact size shirts for those who are new to the U.S of A. Atleast that's what I found out.

After struggling to get a pair of sneakers in my last U.S visit, I wasn't hopeful of getting one this time. But, even after I bought FILA shoes from Bangalore after my last visit, I was sucked into the buy 2 get 1 offer at the Great Mall in San Jose. I got a Reebok pair, and thus I had broken the ice. I went on to get a pretty good mp3 player, the Cowon D2, which sports touchscreen interface and has loads of features. I bought the 4GB one, and thus my shopping spree had been initiated.

I have always been apprehensive of buying clothes from the U.S since the same variety, you end up getting in India as well. But, in India all of them are Made In India. So, for a change, I thought I should get clothes which are Made In Pakistan or Made In Cambodia. Where else to get these than in the land of opportunities ! Jokes apart, I shoved aside my apprehensions of getting the right size of shirt, and badly wanted to get some casual shirts. The prices too are similar to those in India. So, no big deal if I buy them from India or from U.S.

The hunt began. The hunt was at Mervyn's, in Milpitas, where there was a sale going on. There were lot of great clothes for a great price. As usual, being on the shorter side, I was looking around for shirts in the Medium or Short segments. After an hour, I realised that Americans in general are big either in the vertical direction or the horizontal direction. Either ways, they do tend to be more than me on both counts. I kind of gave up on buying anything at all. Then my friend/colleague got a brainstorm. to look in the kids' section. I kind of felt he was just teasing me. But I saw his point, and it made a lot of sense, to look for shirts in the boys' section. Bingo, there was a section for 18-20 year old boys. Boy was I glad I followed his advise and ended up getting 2 shirts from the boys' section ! That was almost a missed opportunity. But America lived up to its tag of the land of opportunities in that instance.

After the various episodes with my car on my previous visit, I had a little bit of confidence to hire one this time as well. I got a Chevy Malibu, which had been driven around for 9000 odd miles. But I was glad to be on the roads again, being honked at, getting a feel of namma Bengaluru. I got more comfortable and got into car switching mode, and got a sleek, powerful Kia Optima. It had been driven only for 6000 odd miles and felt more spacious. The opportunity given by my company to hire a car, was fabulous, and I wanted to make best use of it by trying out different cars.

The opportunity was there to be had. And didn't I grab it. Well, not exactly. I went in the night on a Sunday, and asked for another car in the same mid size version. There was none. I had told I wanted to return my Kia. Sardarji at AVIS told me Kia is good, and good it was. But I wanted another. There were no other cars available in that segment he said. I went back for my Kia, but I realised, "Hey Bhagwan, yeh maine Kya Kiya?". My Kia had been taken in a span of just 2 minutes by someone else. I was carless !! I went back, and guess what I got as my next car ? Malibu, same model, but driven for 11000 miles ! Talk about opportunities. There were none there I guess.

This cycle of my cars went on, and happened the last weekend as well ! Went for a change on Saturday night (after sardarji suggested Saturday mornings are the best time to get a better car), asked for a mid size, but no luck due to reasons in braces ! Then the AVIS car papers were missing in the car. Further drama followed. I had to reprint the rental agreement, and ended up going to the counter next to sardarji. I thought, just like my Kia disappeared in 2 minutes, a Lexus would appear in 1 minute. I asked for a midsize car, and she said she only had a Chevy HHR. By now, Sardarji came in, said Chevy malibu is real good. But I had assumed HHR was a midsize, but had forgotten it has a hatchback, and said, I will take it. Before I could change my mind and retain my Malibu, my HHR had appeared on the computer screen. Sorry, the car is booked now ! And now I drive the HHR...

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