Expat stories · Lifestyle

Birthday Shopping & Perks

It’s My Birthday-I’ll Be Ignorant If I Want!

As I am growing older, I have been losing touch with a lot of my friends, letting go family contacts and that has basically caused one huge problem in my adult life. My birthday wishes, gifts and cards have dwindled to almost negligent. I really have only my husband to depend on ( and a card from my parents and husband’s parents.) That is like saying it’s almost a non birthday, Birthday. Okay, you get the idea- I love my birthday. Yes! I am one of those ridiculous people. And I am not embarrassed by it.

When I moved to this country, my first birthday here was rather low key. And the next one was like that too. Besides, having a birthday in the summer meant that schools were closed and since a huge part of my life was spent in them, it meant I didn’t have my social circle around. When I was fresh of the boat, I thought that it was the social circle that you had to depend on to have a fun birthday and lots of presents. By and by, I discovered what I wish I had known as soon as I set foot in New York.

Birthday glass of wine on the house! ? ?

Stores in America make up for not having family around and presents. Well! Almost. ?

I suppose it is normal for people who grew up in America to receive gift cards handed out by retailers and discount coupons on their special day. Maybe, on a birthday, it is a given for cafes to hand out free drinks and restaurants to shower one with desserts on the house. I suppose, if one grew up in this country, these ‘presents’ are taken for granted. Or, people are smart enough to realize the free gifts are not really free, but a marketing gimmick and that really it was the retailers way of getting one into their doors, or in today on their website.
But I am not native to this country. I am not one of them! I am a newcomer to the land of goodness and I fall into category of people who love these gifts. I fall into the category of people who do not care if stores have my personal details. I am one of those people, that stores can lure into their doors with the $10 gift card, knowing fully well I will treat myself to more than that. It is, after all, my day! 😉

I am one of those ignorant souls who is blissfully happy with all the goodies and freebies from her favorite places.

Am I irked that it comes with the expense of ‘them’ knowing my email address?
Am I afraid that ‘they’ will have my birth date and know my age?
Am I annoyed that ‘they’ will know my life and share my details with other vendors?
I suppose, “they” ( despite being a different they) already finger printed me when I moved here, got all of my personal information and know all there is to know about my life. I am not going to worry about these small fries keeping track of my shopping history.

For all practical purposes- Hurray for good marketing!
It’s my birthday and I am going to run around town eating my ‘free’ morning pastry from Starbucks, shopping with my $10 gift from World Market, filling up my crafting bag with the reward points from A.C.Moore, picking up my complimentary birthday gift from Sephora and using my small reward to get fro-yo thanks to the Level Up App. Oh! and of course taking a mid day break to watch a movie with my big tub of popcorn and cola on the house.

I know, it’s not just me that enjoys these ‘presents.’ My husband is most certainly happy that the pressure is not “All” on him to perform. 😉

The free giant popcorn.
Tiny sample pieces from Sephora.



My Take–

  1. Sign up for emails of store you shop from & store you like but find unaffordable.
    ( I am not suggesting you sign up for their credit card.)
  2. Ask cafes if they have reward/ points programs and sign up.
  3. Look out for Apps like Level Up that have a bunch of vendors under their belt and offer points to shop and eat when you pay with their app.
  4. Airlines and hotels also give out discounts on your birthday. Sign up for their reward programs if you enjoy traveling.
  5. If you want  to take advantage of these birthday goodies do the signing up at least a couple of months before the day of.
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