Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Buying" coins in Facebook groups.

Many numismatists buy coins in FB groups.

As far as I am concerned, buying coins is only a secondary aspect for me. The more important thing is establishing relationships with other like-minded persons around the country.

If I buy some coin/s for Rs.250 or Rs.1039 or whatever these coins arrive right at my door step.

If the Rs.250 coin/s were to be available in a coin shop in my city for Rs.150, the time and money I spend to go there and get those coins would be much more than the apparent difference of Rs.100.

Again the same coin/s may be available for Rs.100 in a city 800 kms away. How do I get to know about it?

What is the big deal? If I think I am happy paying that much, I just pay. I never bargain!

And many a time the persons and friends from whom I have bought have and keep sending me extra coins out of love and affection!

It is better we remember this aspect.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Triple Zero Offer!

Triple Zero offer!

Can anyone who has purchased any product under the triple zero offer raise their hands please?

Well, there are a host of products offered in such a scheme, where you don't pay any processing charges, any down payment and any interest on the loan given to you.

I don't see any hands raised, but many mouths widened!

People don't get fooled by such schemes any longer. But old wine can always be put in new bottles it seems.

The front page of a leading newspaper had an ad from a builder about Zero maintenance homes. That is not speaking about the quality of the building but tells you that you need not pay any monthly maintenance charges it seems. But I could not get one doubt of mine clarified. Whose Lifetime? The buyer's or the builders?

In the same newspaper in the front page of a supplement, a company  offering apartments in a particular locality says: "Unlike other builders who do not make model flats or CONSTRUCT MODEL FLATS IN A SEPARATE TEMPORARY STRUCTURE, we have created the model flat in the actual building that will be kept open until possession to help you compare your home with the model flat thereby giving you absolute clarity and transparency about what you will be getting in your dream home." (caps mine)


Here is the dictionary meaning:
cre·ate  [kree-eyt]
verb (used with object), cre·at·ed, cre·at·ing.
1. to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

I am told that some years back the builder created a whole floor extra in an apartment complex built in my friend's property.

There is a saying that when the stock market gets heated up, even the guy who polishes your shoe will give you tips on what stocks to buy.

The real estate market right now seems to be in such a situation.

Buyer's Beware!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Coins. What Coins? No Coins!!

I went to the Chennai Book Fair to collect coins in the Coin Mela going on there.

IDBI has put up a stall with a beautiful green banner: COIN MELA.

There were three guys in the stall. As I neared it, I could see two people exiting with heavy bags!!

No one was around. I went in and said that I wanted coins.

Coins? No coins. Exhausted.

"What do you mean exhausted. I saw in the papers that you guys can dispense coins for any amount..."

"Media can say anything"

"Oh, come on. Give me coins for at least hundred rupees...."

"Sorry sir, we don't have any coins. You can see the counting of notes going on. Did you see the board outside? We give coins only to stall holders. They had requested RBI for coins and this is the arrangement...."

I peeped outside.

On top of the banner a small print out is pasted. "COINS WILL BE GIVEN ONLY TO STALL HOLDERS"

"Hey, I came all the way to collect coins and....."

"OK. Try tomorrow. We come at around 10.30 A.M."


The fair opens to public at 11 AM and they will quickly give away the coins in about half to one hour and enjoy the holiday.

Well we are Indians.

But I love coins. I am not the one to give up. My aunt's grandson is a publisher and has a stall. I will contact him today and ask him to collect coins for Rs.1000 and take it from his stall later in the day.

Otherwise..... I will inform my progress. There are other ways!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Business: Then and now

December 1970: Addison and Company Limited was in Smith Road (near Spencer Plaza, for those of you who do not know Smith Road). The works manager of Addisons Mr. V.N. Venkateswara Rao (fondly known as VNVR) used to cycle down from G.N.Chetty Road and reach his office sharp at 6.30 AM. Between 6.30 AM and 7.30 AM he used to sit in his office room and do his office paper work. He would be free to meet people and I used to go there once in a while to interact with him. After 7.30 AM he will be a very busy person on the job. We used to repair a lot of motors for them. A very pleasant business association. ( I had the pleasure of meeting him in the Nanganallur Anjaneyar temple a few weeks back and he called me by name, spoke to me for about 15 minutes enquiring about me, my family, my colleagues, etc.) Today the Addison and company has shifted out and a children's hospital is to be construced in Smith Road by the Amalgamations group.

January 2014: I am still helping in business. I get an order from a leading company in the Murugappa group. I have not seen the guy in person. I have not even spoken to him over the phone for more than a minute on one or two occasions! Everything is professionally carried out, sending a quote by e-mail, negotiation, closing the sale. Payment advice is sent by e-mail and we will be delivering the item and collecting the payment at the time of delivery. This is also business.

But then, is there no difference between the two situations?

It is okay, but unfortunately such a level of communication has boiled down to the family! Take care....

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I want US scent!!

A good family friend of mine rang me up yesterday morning and frantically
entreated me as follows:
"Bhargav, I want US scents. It is very urgent, please."
I soothed him. Come on, these scents are available in India, anywhere.
Go and get it from nearby shop.
"No, no, no. Scents, Quarter..."
I was bemused.
Hey, come on, what are you going to do with scents and quarter cutting?
"No, no. Cents. Money. Money."
"Oh my God! You need cents? They are worthless. Why are you in urgent
need of these?"
My General Manager's wife is leaving for US tomorrow and she wants to
carry these coins with her to make phone calls and so on.
There is no point reasoning with elderly people going to US for the first
time. They are a worried lot. Particularly ladies travelling alone.
I said: I will see. I should have some coins. I will ring back in five minutes.
After a little while, I phoned him back saying that I have kept aside for
him ten coins each in cents, 5 cents, dimes (10 cents) and quarters (25 cents).
He felt as though he had won the Virginia State Lottery!
Somehow he had contacted the right person. As a numismatist I had brought
back a small bunch of coins from US. Only one in a hundred returning from the US would care to bring back pennies and dimes!!
You know the saying: 'They are dime a dozen!"

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Coins gifted to a student (not really!)

Coins gifted to a student (not really!)

I had resumed collecting RI coins and was looking for a 5 Rs. Shastri (Cu-ni) coin.

I just could not get one. Sometime later a FB friend of mine sent me one in very
poor condition, and of course with the same advice we give: You may keep this coin till you get a better one!

A year-and-a-half later another friend of mine had put up a few coins for sale.

I picked up eleven coins for Rs.620.

A school student picked up some conversation about coins with me on-line.

I have a soft-corner for children and would not hesitate to gift them a coin.

However, I was hesitant, because I was not sure whether the person was really a student or not! It took me some time to figure out that he indeed was a genuine school student.

He came out with a request for a Shastri coin and later said he wanted one for his friend too.

That put me in a dilemma.

Then I thought, as a school student he would get plenty of coins as gift from his parents, relatives, friends and so on.

I told him why not you give me any five commemorative coins and take one Shastri (Cu-ni) coin. Again, I became over-cautious!! I told him to send the coins and I would despatch the coins from my end.

These are the coins he sent me: (1) 2 nos of RBI (2) 2 nos of ANNA (3) one each in ILO, CS, SA and BRP and finally 1 ten rupee coin of MVD.

I at-once sent him the two Shastri coins and he seemed to be excited with it.
(During all this time elapse, a friend of his, maybe a classmate was frequently asking me on line about the progress!! The second coin was for him.)

Lesson for everybody: For pleasant on-line dealings, enterprise with caution!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Yesterday's right maybe wrong today!

When I was young I was told never to reveal the price of the product, but to dwell
upon its features and superior specifications. The price part should come towards the end of the discussion.

Well, things have changed. Thanks to internet, buyers are quite aware of what they want and also the price.

So, if somebody calls me and asks for the price of a particular product, I will instantly give the ballpark figure. Then, and then, I will extend the conversation and ask a few questions and in many cases the product asked for by the customer may not quite be suitable for him.

I suggest you to change your strategy. Instead of talking and giving the price, give the price and talk!!

The customer might have decided the product, but then you are the expert and the one who can really suggest what is good for him, AFTER getting to know his exact requirements.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Advertise or perish...

Advertise or perish?

Any business needs to advertise.

But the money spent should be properly monitored and one should try to get as
much mileage as possible from the money so spent.

A furniture company had made fliers to be distributed with newspapers
and also given from door to door.

The guy who was made to distribute maybe was lazy and wanted to quickly
dispose of his stock.

He had kept 33 of these behind my car wiper today morning!

What a waste of money!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Shock treatment in marketing....

Shock treatment in Marketing...

There is a tactic in marketing which I call shock treatment.

But it must be used like a brahma astra. Only when absolutely necessary. Chances are it will never fail.

But your approach should be sincere and you should be convinced that there is nothing wrong in giving it a try.

Let me explain how it might work and how it may never (unless you want to take someone for a ride).

Situation where it may not work:

A leading builder is advertising Venice in Chennai. A fantastic model apartments have been constructed which might transport you to a dream world. Hundreds of flats are to be constructed. But as on date I think not even one cft of earth has been dug out. And they say the project will be ready by early 2015 or so. Is it building castles in the air?
I don't know. I wish them well.

But they took me to that place and also gave me a beautiful big book with lots of pictures. None of the scores of questions I sought about the project were answered in that book.

Now the piece de resistance. The sales guy takes out a long list of about hundred apartments and says only three are left to be sold!!

This shock treatment cannot be conducted into me at least!

Situation where it may work:

A leading corporate in Chennai wanted a particular item from me about six months back. I sent in my qoute and they asked me to hold the price for two months and they would place their order. I obliged.

Nothing happened. Again two months back they revived the requirement and still wanted the item at the same price. Again, no deal was finalised.

Two days back my Principals communicated to us that the prices are being upwardly revised. Existing stocks would be liquidated at old prices.

Ah, shock treatment. I wrote to them yesterday saying that we could not hold the price ANY LONGER. However if they REALLY needed the item, they could place their order within a day and we would try and supply them the item at the quoted price.

Presto! Within an hour of my sending the mail, we got the Purchase Order to supply the item.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What is sarcasm?

What is sarcasm?

We met an engineer in his forties and greeted him for the new year.

Pleasantaries were exchanged. A few topics were briefly discussed and the
subject of schools came up.

The engineer says: Schools these days are mere commercial entities. They charge close to a lakh of rupees for admission into even lower classes.

I asked my child to recite the alphabets and as he recited four alphabets were missing and jumped by him. When I went and asked his school teacher she says: Your child was absent on that day. You should have taught him at home....

I know sarcasm. But I am not sure if that guy was sarcastic in his remark!!

What is rapport?

Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous new year 2014.
This blog was started on 1.1.2012 and completes two years!

What is rapport?

We all know the dictionary meaning of rapport. Here it is:
rap·port :
Relationship, especially one of mutual trust or emotional affinity.

But when we experience it in real life then we do appreciate the word!

My friend took me to a central government office to greet them for the new year.

We exchanged greetings with quite a few and many were asking us for new year
compliments and what not.

Then my friend told me that he will exhibit his rapport with the officers there.

We went to the next officer and he asked my friend for a diary. In turn, my friend
asked him to give me a diary! 

The officer retorted: What is this? You are supposed to bring these and give it to us.

Then he quietly pulled out his table drawers and handed me over a brand new 2014 diary
with a pleasant smile.