Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Military Spending

There is a certain time of year which inevitably causes my pockets to empty and sees me almost throwing the contents of my wallet at strange young men in uniform or sweet elderly gentlemen. They get me...every time.To the point where I consider handing over my various and abundant VIP for my favourite boutiques, shoe stores and butcher, my platinum rewards, department store cards, one free with purchase and coffee card with seven of ten stamps already stamped because it really is a good discount and who am I to assume that returned servicemen and women wouldn't like to buy heavily discounted quality footwear while buying a sleeve of eye fillet and the option for a free coffee after just two lattes.

It is the volunteers selling the badges out the front of supermarkets, train stations and shopping centres on te lead-up to ANZAC day that draw me in even more than a two for one on Blahniks. Oh yeah. I just said that.

For my international readers who will have no idea what i'm talking about, ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and ANZAC Day is a national day of rememberance in Australia which honours the soldiers who fouht in Gallipoli in World War 1, it now more broadly commemorates all those who have died in military operations for their countries.

Every time I see one of those young men in their uniforms, or the proud beautiful old men with their trays of badges I can't help but buy one. Or two. Or three. Its a compulsion over which I have no control.

I have been known to chase a very alarmed looking army boy who would have been a couple of years younger than I, up three levels of a shopping centre to buy a badge. As I walked away clutching my pin it dawned on me that if I had followed him up one more escalator he may havebeen obliged to treated me as a hostile threat.

Walking into Coles last night, I passed an elderly gentleman standing just right of the doorway wearing a beautiful grey suit and a pressed white shirt, holding a tray of pins and donation tin. A woman was asking him if he would like a seat, to which he replied, "sweetheart, i'm so riddlied with arthritis that if i sit down i may just die here". He smiled at me as I pulled out my wallet and he his hand hovered over the $2 pins. I pulled out a $20 and said "i'll take the big one". He looked at me in disbelief as I pressed the note into his hand.

As I was limping back to the checkout with me groceries, the old digger spied me, smiled and saluted.

I withdrew my last $10 and bought another badge.

Best $30 I have spent in a long time.

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