Travelling has become an integral part of modern-day, urban lifestyles, be it within the country or overseas. Besides travelling regularly for work, leisure and holiday travel also has become innate to our existence as the world has indeed shrunk in a huge way and no destination or continent is beyond a few hours of flying time.
I see this whole business of travelling and journeys as a metaphor for life itself, wherein all of life’s lessons are learnt and unlearnt as a part of a pilgrim’s progress from destination A to B, until one reaches home. Yes, despite having enjoyed the most luxurious cruise, island resort, or exotic destination holiday anywhere on the planet, home and hearth is what beckon the most seasoned of all travelers. There is nothing more comforting than the idea of re-uniting with loved ones waiting eagerly for our arrival.
Usually, I try and find gifts and little mementoes for my near and dear ones from the very destination I have gone to but sometimes, owing to paucity of time or non-availability of anything worthwhile, I like to indulge in some last minute shopping at the airport before driving back home. The array of luxury brands and gifts on offer are usually very well-organised to cater to all sort of presenting options that one may wish to treatthe family to.
To my pleasant surprise, when I last went to Auckland, in New Zealand, I was browsing around the myriad stores at the airport and I discovered this delightful store of the chain ‘My Dog- Duty Free Dog Food’, which stocked dog food for taking away as gifts for pets. And it suddenly set me thinking that what a novel and brilliant marketing concept it was!
The success of any brick and mortar retail undertaking is primarily based on location and demand and since setting up outlets at the airport, ‘My Dog’ sales have shot up seven times as compared to outlets situated elsewhere in the city. To me, this is a dazzling connect of the emotional and the material or tangible aspect of a relationship, especially between a pet and its owner and just like people resort toeleventh hour gift-shopping for family and friends at the airport, the pets are also taken care of.
Despite never having been a pet owner myself, I have carefully observed the close-knit and deeply emotional bonds that exist between humans and their pets and the warmth that they exude, basking in their love for one another. I have seen friends agonise for weeks about leaving their dogs behind on long trips or family holidays as the pets are indeed extended family and leaving them behind is not easy.
With shrinking families and lesser time at hand, actual, real gifts are a great way to connect and bond with our kith and kin and at that moment when we complete a journey and are craving for a warm hug and the familiarity of our houses, such gifting options are part of a very strategically placed shopping option at the right place with the right kind of visibility. Pets are becoming such an integral part of our lives in contemporary scenarios that dog food packaged neatly akin to luxury brands of premium chocolates was so endearing to the senses that I am sure a pet-owner would not be able to resist the urge of picking up a few packets off the shelf. Trust me, there is no joy greater than springing a surprise gift on one’sbeloved. The delight of an impromptu hug by a family member or friend’s grateful smile or the warm and fuzzy woof and lick of a four-legged furry canine upon being bestowed with a gift is simply priceless!