Saturday, January 23, 2016

Strange coincidence

Yesterday was a very, very busy day. One of those rare days I go to office. My friend and I were busy, each doing his own work and office work side by side.

A smiling gentleman walked in around 4 p.m. At first for a few seconds I didn't notice him. He said, "I have come to buy a window air-conditioner".

I said "Please, Sir, take your seat and give me a minute!".

(I had to switch off my tension in the job I was doing and calm down to talk to the customer. That is why that one minute!)

"I am a loyal Voltas customer. I have a one ton window air-conditioner and I want to replace it now. I bought it when my wife was pregnant and my daughter is now 15 years old. So my Vectra air-conditioner is just that - 15 years old"

Me: "Trouble, trouble" thinking to myself.

I told him that present day air-conditioners are smaller in size and that
he would have to arrange a nearby carpenter.

Then I proceeded to check the size. The 3 star model chosen by him was 26" x 17" !! The very same size as his Vectra!

I said, "Sir, you, I mean we, are lucky. The air-conditioner is of the same size and we have to just pull out the old one and push in the new one".

He gave the cash in my hand!!

What a coincidence!!

Haughty or principled?

Haughty or principled?
Date: 23.1.2016
Place: Vijayanagar Bus stand signal. (The minimum wait period here is around 5 mins. and in peak hours may go upto 12-15 mins.)
Time: 6 p.m.
A young girl of around eight to nine years kept banging my car window like mad. She wanted to "hawk" small National Flags and some coloring book containing around 8 to 10 pages.
I kept nodding my head in the negative.
She wouldn't let go.
I signaled her to come nearer to my side of the car.
After taking one coloring book I gave her a tenner.
She says: No. Rs.20 each and 3 for Rs.50.
I gave back the book.
Still she was at her "game".
Now I offered her the tenner and said "Keep it, you need
not give me anything".
She refused to take the tenner.
How do you describe her behavior?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The only saving grace!!

The only saving grace!!

Grand sweets.

A grand name and an even grander fame (until recently?)

Grand sweets used to be a family business with only one shop in Adyar. People used to throng to this place. A homely atmosphere, something (particularly puliogare) used to be given free to all customers. If they bought for a particular amount, they could choose to pick up religious books.

Things change over a period of time. The family members (probably second generation) split and the name changed to Grand Sweets and Snacks. They managed to lease out very big swanky places be it Mylapore, Madipakkam, RAPuram, Triplicane, etc.

But then, what happened?

The homely atmosphere is no longer there.
The prices have sky-rocketed.
Quality has suffered.
Customer service is abysmal.

Some months back I purchased a packet of cashew-nut pakoras (sans cashews!!) Same item purchased from A2B was out-of-the-world.

Yesterday, I visited their outlet to get some "powders".

Three staff members were present, but they never took notice of a customer entering and standing near the counter craving attention.

I asked them for a list of items but the young woman just smiled and said everything is there before you (three feet away) and since you are an elderly person are not able to read (the small label!). A young techie said "Even, I can't read and nobody can" with a wry smile.

After purchasing for Rs.370 I gave a five hundred rupee note. The same smile (which didn't irritate you) " Don't you have change?"

Being a numismatist or rather one with a very great interest in Republic India Coins, I put my hand into my pant pocket and pulled out around 10 to 12 coins and threw it on the counter.
"This is what I know as change!!"

Again the smile, she carefully picked up the coins and gave it back to me.

Her smile was the only saving grace and I wonder how far the company will go in the years to come. Wishing them all the very best.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Efficiency and Effectiveness....

Efficiency and Effectiveness...

My dream was to study at the IIM, Ahmedabad. But that could not happen due to various reasons.

In the early eighties, while I was in business, I wished to pursue management education at the newly started LIBA (Loyola Institute of Business Administration).

After passing the entrance examination I was interviewed by three persons, one of them, Prof. Jay Amaran (who later married my aunt's grand-daughter).

I was bombarded with questions, more to know how I answered (perhaps). They were not all keen to give me admission since they opined that I was an entreprenuer. Seats were few.

In those days Peter Drucker was my role model.

One of the questions in the interview: What is the difference between efficiency and effectiveness?

Pat came my reply: One does things right and the other does the right things. (Courtesy: Peter Drucker!!)

The interview was interesting to both parties, but the admission was denied!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hey, what's your problem?

Hey, what's your problem?
I was speaking to a friend of mine. He had a problem and was unhappy about his son's performance in the class. "He is not studious".
I asked him about his performance in exams.
"He gets around 50 to 60%." But says "I am passing the exams so what is your problem?"
I told him that it was true. Any one who passes goes to the next class.
I told him to check his son's passion. Is it music, art, cricket?
Encourage him in that.
If he becomes interested in studies he may fare much better in future.
I don't see any problem nor should you!!