I was waiting at the supermarket cash counter with just two items in my shopping bag. There was only one person ahead of me, and I was content to wait till he finished, though he did have a basketful of groceries. The cashier told him the amount, about Rs. 1200 and a little more, and waited for him to pay. Out came his wallet, but instead of cash, he pulled out a small booklet, which he laid on the counter.
Even as I looked on amazed, he opened it, and started tearing out sheet after sheet. The girl looked at one sheet and told him that the value of each sheet was Rs. 15. He nodded, and pulled out about 50 of them, one after another, taking his own time. Then he went on to pull out sheets of the next denomination, Rs. 50, as the girl verified.
By now she was confused, and had called her colleague to help calculate. The colleague came armed with a calculator, and while she calculated 50 x15 and wrote it down, the man began to pull out more sheets. Curiosity having got the better of me, (and I was melting in the heat as well, since the air conditioner had broken down in the store) and felt justified in wanting to find out just what was holding me up, I looked at the sheets – they were of Rs. 75 denomination this time. It also said something like ‘sodexho’ and ‘food pass’. I began doing some mental calculations to see how many more sheets of what denominations he would need, when he picked out a Rs. 10 note from his wallet and handed it to the cashier to complete his payment.
“Have you no change, sir?” she asked politely. “Only Rs. 2 more.”
The man coldly refused, and she ran to the next counter to get change.
And all this while I was in line, 12 minutes of watching the transaction, though it seemed like 12 hours. Finally the girl turned to me. Phew! I wondered why they did not have a separate line for people who wanted to tear out their coupons.
Coming home I tried to recollect where I had seen the word ‘sodexho’ before. And it came back to me. It was at a restaurant where my young friend had taken me for a treat – it said ‘sodexho’ coupons/passes were not accepted. She had planned to use them to buy our dinner! Fortunately we had some money with us, so we were saved some red faces, and did not end up washing dishes.
I wanted to know what this ‘sodexho’ is, and found out the following from another young friend, who gets them.
1.This is given by companies to their employees as food coupons in lieu of a part of their salary to save on tax. You save a nifty sum by the way because sodexho coupons are tax free. I am told most IT (Information Technology) companies go for it.
2 They can be used for buying groceries and food.
3.There are sodexho coupons and passes – the distinction is too fine for me to grasp.
4.Sodexho is a company name standing for Societé d'Exploitation Hotelière.
Very good, but maybe they will give coupons in the future in bigger denominations too, so other shoppers’ time can be saved.