Shopping in India

I can handle the traffic, the filth by the side of the road and the nosey neighbours/cousins..
but I really can’t handle shopping here.

All I wanted was to buy a saree for someone and I thought I would go to the biggest shop here.(So I can avoid the sales people)

As you enter the shop, you are met with a line of beauties, their only job is to greet you and ask what you are looking for..then they will call another decked up beauty who will guide you to the lift, take you up to the level where sarees are kept and hand you over to the next decked up beauty, who in turn will ask you again what you are looking for and pass you to another sales person.
Once you buy what you need, then you have to wait another 30 minutes before you can pay because the man manning the counter was talking to his friend. ,(You are still escorted by another beauty to the payment center and handed over to the next beauty)Then the man at the counter realizes that you are using an overseas credit card and he wants to write the card details on the slip(Why? I have no idea!)
Then you have to wait another 20 mints because the man misplaced the counter slip you have signed and has to rummage through all the slips in front of him till he found the right one.
Then you have to go to another counter to collect your shopping.Fortunately as soon as the payment is done, the beauties disappear and you are free to find your way out of the shop.

What I am used to is, go to the shop, read the floor information on the wall that lets you know which level has what I am looking for, take the lift/escalator to that level, look for what I need, pick it up, go to the check out (most often self check out) pay for the stuff and walk out.
I like to be in control. I don’t need to tell 100 people what I am looking for, I don’t want to feel obligated because the sales person has to open all the sarees and then will have to fold it back, I don’t want to answer if I am looking for anything else and I certainly don’t need to be escorted to the lift.

I was told that what I experienced was the ultimate customer service!!!

I am still trying to grapple with the ideology that forces people to do such mindless work in the name of ultimate customer satisfaction.

9 thoughts on “Shopping in India

  1. I also have the same issue in India. I have to find ways to deal with it!

    The one big issue in India is overpopulation. So, they employ 5 or more people to do one job. Generally, the average person is not given much attention at all- in India one thing is that if they think you will spend more/a lot of money all will trip over you and shower you with honey. Since most foreigners are percieved to want to spend more this happens to us (also of course highly based on our fair skin!).

    At least the beauties did not take you into a dressing room and dress you! 😉

  2. Perhaps people are used to all that pampering too and expect it as a part of the service! I was surprised to see a man standing next to the parking ticket dispenser in a parking lot doing nothing but pull out the tickets as soon as a car pulled up to it. My cousin gave a different perspective …. he said the man was there as some people might not know what to do when they pull up next to the dispenser.

    Labor is plentiful and cheap in India. Still people have to be doing “constructive” jobs. I think creating value adding jobs, will be the biggest challenge for India especially as there is a young and burgeoning segment coming into the workforce.

  3. Ha Ha – did you go to Emmanuals? Thats the only store with “beauties”. Seematti has underage boys instead.
    regardless, while this all looks mindless, on the flip side, those are youth getting pennies or pittance to take home and feed their families.

  4. naughtybutnice: yes Emmanuval

    Jennifer: in 2003 when I was in mumbai, I went to a liquor shop and found three young guys holding a placard advertising a particular brand of alcohol. Their job was to hold the placard the whole day and stand outside the liquor shop. I felt it was exploitation.. I agree India has a huge population, but I am sure that there has to be a way to use the young generation mopre productively, instead of just making them stand outside holding a placard the whole day. Anyone can do a mindless job, but is that allwhat we can offer our young? Is that what we call progress?

    Binerry: nope emmanuval

    Goutham: agree completely

    Ann:What is the future for the youth earning pittance today because they look pretty? What will happen to all these youngsters in 10 years? 20 years? no insurance, no healthcare, no life savings.. What will happen to them?

    Vidya: hmm

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