Posted on Trivia – The Spice of Life on 29/03/2022
During my growing up years was instilled in me a deep sense of appreciation of value for money. The concept of Value for Money (VfM) in everyday life is not paying more for a good or service than its quality or availability justify. VfM is something that I look for till this day. The point is not about whether one can afford something or not. It is about whether an x amount of money should actually be spent to acquire something – as in is it really worth the money being spent on it? This is perhaps not a very relevant question for today’s times where the norm is more of conspicuous consumption rather than simplicity. There are many people who spend more on a birthday party without any compunction than someone else would on a wedding. And it is not that the latter cannot afford to spend it. It is just that it seems totally wasteful.
This feeling of wanting to appreciate value for money was something that became more profound with frequent visits to the airport this month. After the security check and before boarding, for those who believe in reaching the airport somewhat in advance, there is quite a bit of time to shop/window shop at the airport. While branded items such as clothes and books are usually on offer at the maximum retail price (MRP), the same is not the case with consumables – i.e. food and beverages. While one can carry food in cabin baggage, even if you desire to, it is not possible to carry (hot) beverages. Water too cannot be carried except for a very small quantity. Thus, one is left with no option but to buy water and beverages from the outlets in the airport. Bottled drinking water too, I recall, was sold much above the MRP initially. When a noise was made about this, bottled water started to be specially packaged for airports with the prices of such bottles being fixed astronomically.
On one occasion, as I had reached fairly early and was done with the security check, I was left with quite some time before boarding could commence. What attracted my attention the most was the price of the food items being sold at various outlets. A cup of coffee was priced not less than about ₹ 200. Yet, there were many flocking to the outlets selling hot beverages. While I did long for a cup of hot coffee, my inside revolted at the offensively exorbitant price. I wondered why not many had a problem with the price! It was difficult to make out as to how many were paying the price willingly and how many unwillingly. The airport does have a lot of floating population. Those who travel back and forth have no option but to buy from such outlets, even if grudgingly. It is true that airport food and beverages are priced high because of umpteen security checks, high overhead expenses, huge commissions to be paid and the distance from the city centre. Be that as it may, a middle ground needs to be found. Volumes should perhaps aid in making profits rather than mercenary pricing. The airport is perhaps not the place if one is looking for value for money. It was with these thoughts that I walked away from there towards my boarding gate.