A bargain

On my way back from work, I grabbed the pile of uncollected envelopes and catalogs from the mailbox and headed inside. I quickly sorted through the mail, but one particular package buried inside the others stuck out. It was a small package approximately six inches by four inches with a colorful wrapper. I looked for a sender’s address but could find none on the envelope. The address matched mine, but had been sent to “Ms. Lonnie Paris or Current Resident”.

Lonnie Paris? Wasn’t that the name of former tenant? “Probably junk mail,” I thought to myself. But I also thought I had every right to take a look at this packet before discarding it. I was, after all, the current resident.

Printed on the bottom left corner of the envelope was the photograph of a couple. The dark-haired woman on the right must have been in her forties. She was wearing scarlet lipstick and her lips were parted slightly to reveal a row of pearly-white teeth. I could not make out what she was reading, but she was looking at the piece of paper in front of her with purpose. The man, who looked at least twenty years older, was peering through eyeglasses which were slightly tilted to the left, at the same piece of paper. His hair was completely grey and he had a much more grave expression on his face. He had sad, cloudy eyes and I noticed the furrows which the worn nose pads made on his sagging skin.

I looked at the text neatly printed above the couple. “Convenient Pre-Purchase. Be sure to see your Special Invitation enclosed.”

I casually tore the envelope open. A small brochure with a photograph depicting a forest in fall colors  dropped out and fell on the floor. I picked it up and started reading.

“Imagine the peace-of-mind from knowing that it’s all been taken care of! This is the wisdom of making arrangements before-need or as needs arise. Interest-free financing means you can make this meaningful purchase now. Pay in easy monthly installments and own the property that you’ve always wanted”

Property I always wanted? I turned the page and kept reading.

“We’re proud to present our introductory cemetery space pre-purchase program to those who deserve special treatment. Space is reserved only for customers like you who have prequalified.  And rest assured – our offer is backed by a 100% lifetime guarantee.”

Just above these words was a photograph of the same lady who was on the envelope. She was dressed in black.

“We don’t want you to miss out on limited-time offer and very soon one of our experienced representatives will visit you to help you make the right decision.”

I closed the brochure. As I was about to trash it, I noticed an additional offer on the back cover.

“Mention our brochure and receive a 15% discount on your purchase at Bed Bath and Beyond.”

© Text, 2010-2012, Anirban

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