Do you read the second line?

I was booking movie tickets online, and when it came to payment, the BookMyShow payment offers were clamouring for my attention. In the past, I have learnt to carefully disregard and safely ignore those smartly camouflaged shady offers like the “Citibank World Debit Card – Buy One Get One Free” or the “ICICI Buy 1 Get 1 Offer” because they were basically designed to fool the customers. At least from my point of view!

Oh, this offer is only for the weekdays

This offer is only for the movie tickets below Rs. 250

and so on. I mean why even go through all the efforts when you don’t want your customers to be able to avail of all those sexy offers? Surely, there are many other ways to lose customers. So, I have now given up trusting on the credit card offers (as if I ever trusted marketing!).

Speed limit...!

This time for a change, I decided to try the mobile wallets, hoping they will offer some new snake oil.

And I wasn’t disappointed!

The PayTM offer said 50% off….and it took my breath away for a moment! Imagine being able to enjoy two movies at the cost of one! I mean, just do little bit math, and you can actually have two Porsches for the price of one…it just doesn’t get better than this, does it? My life was made!!!

One click later, I got closer to the truth! I discovered the fine bold print – Every 10th customer gets 50% cashback upto a maximum discount of Rs.100. Of course, the smart marketing did get me for a moment…but only to make me a even more of the very-suspicious-shopper-of-PayTM-marketing-gimmickery-in-future!


At that time, my wife rightly reminded me that since the times immortal, it has always been the second line that’s been the most crucial one – rather more important than the first line. I am sure you remember this famous line from Yudhishtara to Dronacharya from Mahabharat, “Ashwathama mara gaya..(pause, and then almost an inaudible whisper)…par nar nahin kunjar” (Yes, Ashwathama is dead…but the elephant, not the man”. Unfortunately, Dronacharya was not able to hear the second line (or rather, Krishna’s grand plans ensured that was indeed the way it had to be!) and dropped his impregnable armour just for a few moments, which was enough for Dhrishtadyumna to kill him. Obviously, not reading the second line cost him his dear life.

Thankfully, our lives is not at stake, most part of the day. And not reading the second line does give some much-needed comical relief in the otherwise tense days. Imagine being re-told the joke of “buy one get one free” so sincerely, it makes you smile everytime you see it :).

But, not reading the second line could also potentially land you some genuinely spurious deals, and eventually leave you shortchanged. Other names for this have included “the fine print”, and so on, but I think it is as simple as reading the second line!

Do you read the second line?

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