Friday, February 15, 2008

A tale of two nail clippers

So, I was in need of a new nail cutter. My old one just disintegrated into pieces when I was using it a couple of weeks after I came back from India. And of all things I did get from India, the one thing I did forgot to buy was a 20 rupee nail cutter.

What's the big deal, you ask? Just head out to the nearest store and buy one. The problem was, I just didn't know where I could get one - if I could get a nail cutter here at all. In the land of the free (and the home of the brave) where electric toothbrushes and power razors were the norm, I didn't know whether anyone actually used a good ol' fashioned nail cutter. In my mind, everyone here owned a box type electric device - something like the electric pencil sharpener - where you could put your finger in and it would neatly trim your nails. Probably in the higher end models the device would wax and clean the nail plates, apply nail polish if you were a woman and say a little thank you at the end. Yes, I do let my imagination run wild once in a while.

Much to my misery I realized that I hadn't seen one Hollywood movie with a scene in which one of the characters was shown cutting their nails. I jogged through my memory to remember movies with scenes taking place in beauty salons. After running through the likes of Legally Blonde where I hoped for some hint towards the trimmed and neat fingernails of Americans, I wasn't one bit closer to getting a solution. I'm guessing its some sort of Hollywood conspiracy against the nail cutter manufactures - probably didn't give a good deal for product placement.

By this time I was sneaking into friends bathrooms during dinner invites to their place looking for nail cutters and using them without their consent. I'd spend so much time in their bathrooms that I'd shady looks when I came out. The nail biting finish of Super Bowl XLII helped for a few days. But I still hadn't found a permanent solution.

I wasn't daring enough to walk into a CVS Pharmacy and ask for a nail cutter. God knows whether the sales rep would understand what I was asking for. This is a country where a "cool drink" turns into soda, a "giant wheel" becomes a "Ferris Wheel", college becomes a school and you don't pass out of it - you graduate from it. So I shudder to think what a nail cutter would be called? Damn these cultural differences! Also, every time I head into a CVS asking for something I get wierded out looks from the rep that I've stopped going there altogether.

Finally, one weekend I mustered the courage to ask my cousin if there were nail cutters available in the US where I could get one and what it was called here. At first he just sat there staring at me for a few seconds. When he finally did reply that "nail clippers", as they were called here, were available at any pharmacy he had a look of incredulousness on his face - I guess it was the most dumbest question anyone had asked him.

The next day I sneaked into a CVS and quietly headed towards the beauty section before any of their overly helpful staff could come near me. And there it was! A nail clipper just like the ones from home. In a true showing of American capitalism the nail clippers, which were probably sourced for less than a dollar, were priced
obscenely at $3.99 - on sale! But what the hell ... I bought two just in case someone actually does invent the electric nail clipper and they stop carrying the good ol' ones!

Case closed.

P.S. I should have just Googled nail cutters or nail clippers and would have probably saved myself a lot of trouble - but I guess it wouldn't be this funny. I voluntarily renounce my title of Google King that was given to me by my friends after I "proved by search" that 1 + 1 = 2.


Sharad said...


Should have gone to Walmart to save a buck or two.

Like every good desi kid in America, I go India-shopping ahead of my visits. And I actually took a few nail 'clippers' to India. The quality you get in India is not at par. Now before the zealots start baying for my blood, I admit that my information is 8-9 years outdated. It might be that you get similar (or better) quality in desh.

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