Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kudos to small shop owners. Boo on Mall culture.

In this jet age when people are supposed to gain benefits of Internet shopping, and reap ample rewards from discounts available on-line, one shop still beats them all and the shops in glittering malls.  Let me explain how.

I was in dire need of a printer cartridge for my inkjet printer. It was way too costly in malls in Noida and I had no time or money to make a trip to Delhi's Nehru place to find one at the cheapest price. I searched ebay and still price quoted there was MRP plus the courier charges, making it cost even more than the prices in Noida.

I was perplexed why would people buy something online, if they are not getting it at the right price, and if they could get it cheaper locally.

Then I decided to give it a try. My brother was supposed to come to Noida the next day from Ujjain. I asked him to find the price of the cartridge in Ujjain, which is a small town and comparatively in a remote location, giving you the impression that things like computer supplies might be costlier there. But to my utter surprise, the price quoted was lesser than I enquired anywhere else.

And the icing on the cake was: The cartridge was not available in Ujjain. However my brother informed the store keeper, that he needed to travel in the evening, and hence needed the cartridge before that. The storekeeper, setting an ultimate example of customer service, promised to get the cartridge ordered from next town, and to deliver at the railway station right at my brother's seat, before the train's departure.  And he kept his promise, indeed! All this at a price less than internet's best price.

In future I am always going to get a quote from Ujjain shops first, for all things that I can get from there.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Finally back home

A nine month stint in the UK, lots of learning, a lifetime experience, and still feels so good to be home. Like they say there's no place on earth like home.  Either my good luck or god's grace, but it is very much cooler in Noida than I expected. Some infrequent rain showers have really proved to be a boon for the weather.

My Indian experience started as soon as we entered the Indian airport. To contain swine flu from inbound passengers, a medical form was supplied to us in flight. Upon landing, a few medical officers took the form from us, stamped it and filed it without even so much having a look at us. Only god knows how they planned to screen the passengers for swine flu. And what's with the masks. There's no proof that it works. But there's solid proof that its adding to fear which is uncalled for.

I was supposed to initially come back on Saturday, and join office on Monday. However most IT companies have mandated a 4-5 days cooling off period (sort of quarantine) before joining office. However its a different fact, that a swine flu infected person may take as long as 10 days to develop symptoms. The funniest part is the place where I work have no such official policy in place, although I was advised to "cool off" for just two days before joining office. In all probability, I could develop swine symptoms on the third day, the very day when I joined office, and could go on zombifying all my colleagues with the flu. And unlike before, when the only cases of swine flu were from people returning from abroad, it is now very much prevalent in India, and spreading within local community (e.g. Pune, Mumbai). So I could arrive as a healthy person, and get infected from a local. However, these reasons apart, I was still glad to have a two day cooling off period, as I got my travel plans pre-poned  by a day, and enjoyed one extra day off at company expense :-)

Sometimes, for all the bizzarre reasons, things still work out for the best. And remember, if you come meet me, and I sneeze, please do not panic. I am allergic to dust and pollen. And for all I know, with every weather change, pollenation season, and slight temperature variations I go on a sneezing frenzy. Nothing close to a flu. (I had a strong urge to sneeze in the queue at airport for submitting the health form, I am so glad I did not. God knows where and how they would have detained me!!)