Grumbles of an irate Graahak
I’ve also read somewhere - customer is god / customer is king.
I mean, REALLY?!!!
The customer is treated as filth these days. Those employed in customer service vocations behave like they are doing us a favor by being of assistance. Sales persons at shops and malls, bus conductors and drivers, hotel staff and auto drivers – they are the lords, and we the indigent.
This is not “breaking news”. I spoke 3 months ago about this... About how Pune trails behind in the customer service department. How Chitale Bandhu (of the terrific Bhakarwadi fame) are one among the many who consider the consumer as a nuisance.
We have all experienced similar fates at different locations and destinations. Why then am I speaking of it today? Coz I’m sick of it. I cannot take it anymore. All levels crossed. Period.
My outrage comes as a consequence of multiple events in a span as short as 3 weeks. The offenders are Preeti Travels and Hotel Shraavan on FC road, SGS mall (the parking lot, to be precise), Desi Tadka in Mukund Nagar, and Mocha (Law College outlet).
What exactly fired me? Let me share the events with you. And though they may not seem too great in themselves, they certainly are the straws that have been pinching and poking me till they broke my back.
Strike 1 : Preeti travels runs tourist buses, and they cancelled their Volvo at the last moment giving the helpless passengers the option of either taking a refund sometime next week (as the fellow-in-charge had no cash), or board an uncomfortable-looking mini-bus, with an equally grubby driver. Flabbergasted at the guy's unapologetic attitude, when the pax demanded to talk to the owner, what they got to hear on the telephone was that the travelers had unpleasant family lives, hence the drama! What could scale this height of impudence?!! Preeti is certainly not going to get a dime from me hereafter, and the Lodha bugger who owns it will sure regret his behavior and pathetic morals.
Strike 2 : Hotel Shravan serves good vegetarian food, and has been a family favorite for quite some time. However, I have vowed never to go back again, coz the waiters think no end of themselves. They actually yelled at me and my mum in front of all the seated guests. Why? Coz we sent back stale and insipid papads. The owner was a civil man, but he fell weak when faced by the "head"-less rascal. Unions were formed to protect the weak, and now, they are nothing but a gang of third-grade goons.
Strike 3 : I usually park at the SGS mall when I visit Camp on weekends. I needn’t tell you that these parking lot attendants are illiterate, mannerless thugs who think they rule the world. They maneuver bikes as they please to get them in a line, often wrecking the vehicle (I had a brawl with one, around 2 months ago for the same reason). My ire at the moment is for another’s indignation. The attendant barks orders about where to park the bike, and if you digress by as much as a metre, he mutters like his house is on fire. A young fellow (equally obnoxious, if I may say so) parked in another aisle than the one designated, and I stood watching as the attendant abused and yelled at him in a revolting manner... Bloody goondas!
How long are we going to act as beggars in need in front of these losers? They exist to serve the customer, and if they are not giving us a worthwhile experience, they have no right to be in the profession. The power of the consumer community is such, that if we take it to heart, we can bring these establishments on the roads alongwith their owners.
In all restaurants, it's the same story – be it Desi Tadka or Blue Nile or even Green Park. Cracked and grimy dishes. Food filled with artificial color. Air conditioning not in order. Dirty linen. And to top it all, disinterested waiters! To expect them to be polite and amiable is asking for too much!
Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong. - Donald Porter... Anyone taking note?!! We're not expecting the moon; just tell us you can get it if that would please us... And we'll be happy babies.
Mainland China is one of the best (or maybe the only place in Pune) that offers respectable service. They may have a limited menu, and they may be expensive. But, it beckons me again and again just to savor their reverence of the patron. You lift an eyebrow, and the host will be by your table to see if you have need for anything. Now that’s service! The manager at Mocha KP gives us dirty looks maybe coz we bypass his authority to get the best of everything thanks to Shailesh (urf Gilly!) What happened to good ol’ dedication, man?!! The Mocha at Law is by every standard a waste. Avoid.
Bus conductors and bus drivers are rude and crude. I’ve already spoken enough about auto drivers but my fury is still intact. They purposely carry no change, they are dimwits with no sense of how to talk to women and seniors, and they're more arrogant than the US President!
The same goes for salesmen and women at malls who prefer chatting in the corner rather than attending to customers. I am surprised employees can take such liberties when their jobs could be axed by one somber complaint.
And I don't think I need to tell you about the policemen in India. All they can do is harass the public who pays taxes (so what if their salary comes from the very same source?!) Law protectors are the ones who are raping the law, torturing the innocent, and egging on law-breakers by supporting them.
Public servants - whether in government or private firms - cannot get off by doing a halfhearted and substandard job. I can’t think of much to do at the moment other than blog about this, but I promise all you flawed fellas, the consumer cannot be taken for granted.
To quote Robert Half - When the customer comes first, the customer will last.
And if the customer does not figure in the top of your list, then buddy, it’s YOU who ain’t gona last long...
Joel Ross got it right when he said - Never underestimate the power of the irate customer.