Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Yesterday, I walked into Spencer's and walked out with a broom. My maid had been complaining about the one I already had. As I stood debating over the choice of the plastic sheaths to choose from - red, parrot green or aquamarine blue - a gentleman in the mall decided to throw a bakhera of shouting and abusing regarding some perceived drop in standards of service. A typical case of feudal mentality hoarding the gizmotic treasures ofmodernity but struggling to grasp the more effort-demanding egalatarian ideas of inclusion, respect for others, dignity of labor and some base equality.

I mused if I could do the same with my broom. Walking up to the person responsible for the aisle, scowling at him and asking gruffily 'How do I know this works?" I could ask him to sweep the aisle for me as I watched sulkily and made him go over certain spots again and again. If not satisfied, I could probably ask him to go over the entire 50000 sq.ft. department. The scene would probably end up in the store manager trying to calm my spit-laden "Iski himmat kaise hui mere se aise baat karne ki!" with a flock of store clerks behind.

We, Indians, understand power only by its abuse.I once walked into a restaurant with a friend who I had, till then, assumed to be very mild natured. The way the gentleman behaved with the waiter that evening prompted me to ultimately leave the place altogether. Even my father would make it a point to work up a temper every time we went out eating.It's simple logic - That guy's job is on the line, not mine. I saw a similar scene in Reliance Digital last month, a store far beyond the standards of the stores we have put up with so far. And yet an old man insisted on shouting down the entire store down.

I feel that for a retailer, the adage that "We serve Everyone" should be taken in a context. If the securitymen had asked the two gentlemen to walk out, you might have lost one customer, but made it easier for several others to decide to walk into your store next time.


Oracle said...

You have raised a very relevant issue. Display of condescending attitude has stopped vexing me, i just get amused these days.:)

Faiz said...

hmm .. y'know one of the reasons for people throwing tantrums is also because it is the tantrum-throwing consumer who ultimately ends up getting the best deal as well ... holds true for stores / restaurants .. all over ..
as things stand .. the squeaky wheel pretty much gets the grease .. ergo the squeak...

Bland Spice said...

i am not irritated at the noise pollution it gives me, I am so for the guy (the waiter, the over-worked and under-paid sales clerk) who has to swallow his ego and bear the brunt of the attack.

@Faiz - Exactly! Throw these buggers out. Don't give them the extra yard. Practically, you can just tell them to step out, get their bearings out and then walk back in and talk in a civil manner. Refuse to listen to them before that and call the security if needed.

Oracle said...

I was not refering to the noise pollution, there is too much of it to even think of it now. What I intended to say was that such peole should be completely ignored. They just want too create a tamasha sareyaam that's all.
But such behavior can be attributed to customer or people in general ,irrespective of hierarchial slot or variable (such as low salary etc)they fall into

pankajunk said...

amen! glad to see my thoughts echoed here. (very wittily(fully?) written too!) a difficult to please customer shouting down a store employee is an example of class divisions which run deep in our society. it's everywhere, many a rikshawalas cheek becomes slap hardened and people lash out at the slightest might well detect a tone of arrogance in your own voice as you talk to a rikshawwala, waiter, or house help (i do sometimes).

there's no denying one thing..our society is medevial in many ways.