Gochugaru Girl has a glass jar filled with samples from renowned beauty brands. Each time she passes a stand in a department stall offering a free sample, she pops it into her handbag and retrieves it for a one application use at a later date.
This afternoon, after exchanging my deceased Alessi kettle for a new one, I had to walk along Brook and South Molton Streets in order catch my train at Bond Street tube station. You need an iron will to walk ahead towards your goal. Like Monopoly, if you pick the wrong Chance card, the consequences are severe: ‘Go to Jail – Move directly to Jail – Do not pass “Go” – Do not collect £200’.
In this case, the jail is a financial jail.
Let me explain. Bond Street and its side streets abound with luxury brands. Not all have high profiles and some minor (usually cosmetic and food) brands have to try hard to attract customers. Typically, free samples are handed out and small talk is initiated in order to entice the unwitting passer-by into the shop.
I had been doing well, collecting three samples of soap and ignoring two other shops before my willpower took a wobble in the final few steps leading to the underground station. I was given a sample of hand lotion and then promised another sample if I followed the sales assistant into the shop.
Greed is not a good Christian trait. Just before the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12 v 16 – 21*, Jesus warns the gathered crowd: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
In this instance, life does not consist in the abundance of free cosmetic samples.
Once I was in the shop, and promptly seated on a stool, the sales banter started. A face peel was applied on the back of my right hand, then rubbed off. This was followed by a face cream. When I enquired about the price, the reply was that the peel cost £159 ‘but it lasts 18 months’. The accompanying face cream was £80. I naturally hesitated, so an offer was made ‘as this is our 5th anniversary’ and I could have the face cream free if I purchased the face peel. Further hesitation was followed by a final offer of £50 for the face peel. This exceptional price was a perk only for the staff, but she would let me use her personal allowance.
£50 for a £159 product, only available today.
This is where years of diplomacy training kicked in. I simply said, “Thank you so much for your time. I have quite a lot of face cream and I was not looking for a face peel today, but the offer is very generous. I have to meet my mother for lunch now and I might come back with her after that. She would be interested in some of your products”.
Yes, it is very wordy, but I did say all that, and a bit more.
To her credit, the sales assistant did not throw a fit as I walked out the door, but asked me to keep smiling, because normally Londoners never smile.
Had I bought the face peel or any other product from the shop, I am certain that I would have purchased a worthless product and it would have put me in debt.
When I returned home I thought about Jesus’s offer of eternal life in John 3 v 16 and 17 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
There is no exorbitant opening offer followed by fluctuating prices based on spurious reasons. Rather than enslave you, it frees you. The cost? Nothing to you or me as it has been paid for on the Cross. It lasts forever, not just for 18 months.
This is one Get out of Jail Free offer absolutely worth having.
* Luke 12 v 16 – 21
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”