22nd September 2015, 12:04 PM
Battle of the Brick !
It was a great day! An Auspicious day !
It was Vinayaka Chathurthy.
I was sitting in the hall, eagerly awaiting a “lunch ready” call.
The time was about 11.30 am. 17th Sep. Appetizing aroma emanating from the kitchen , breezing through the door and permeating the hall. I was Looking forward, to a hearty meal with spicy accompaniments of Vada, Sundal and Sweet Kozhukkattai .
TV was on. In between the overdose of ads, the TV channels were running latest "Box office duds" movies. I wonder , Which is more bland and boring , the ads or the movie, a debatable issue !
I was becoming restless. Hunger pangs. At that time, Ah ! Suddenly, There goes a siren. My wife called from the kitchen, “Can you come here? The mixie is not working. It looks, the jar is damaged. Motor is burned. Do something ! Immediately ! “
Immediately, I muted the TV. Rushed to the kitchen. Before my eyes, all My dream of the day was getting shattered, No vadai, No kozhukkattai. What a life ? If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it happens only then. I don’t understand why this always happen to me ?
If I don’t replace the over due old mixie with a new one, my life will be jinxed ! I will be junked ! Doing nothing gets you nothing ! Now is the time for action.
At once, I sprang up , rescanned the just abandoned news paper , found an interesting “Ganesh Chaturthy Super Sale” by one popular chain store dealing in electrical and Electronic appliances.
“ Ma, (my wife’s short name ! ) see this ad, A Discount Sale for this Preethi Mixie in ‘Planet Electronics’ ! The MRP is Rs.6395 but they are offering it for Rs.4130/- , Under Exchange. Is it not great ? Shall we try? If it is not ok, we can always try Girias or Vivek. What do you say ?” – I asked my wife.
My wife readily agreed and we proceeded to Planet Electronics. The journey of a thousand miles began with a step.
The branch was open but deserted. Some flies here , some mosquitoes there. Not a single customer! . Surprised, I was muttering ,while I entered “ The Branch is closed I think, perhaps holiday”.
Suddenly , One sales Girl materialized from the stock and barrel and accosted me. Not a warm welcome , of course! .
“ I am looking for a Preethi Mixer 750 watt Blue Leaf model -MG 158….” I rattled on, showing off my subject matter expertise (SME) , otherwise these sales girls will cheat me. My wife started to scan the show case and neatly stacked shelves.
Obviously , the sales girl was not impressed with my comprehension. She has been seeing my type day in day out. “It is available here sir. “ She showed us a piece , waving her hand. The price tag showed Rs.5945/-
I said “Yeah! This is precisely what we came for ! Good ! But the ad shows The price for this model under exchange is Rs.4130/- and the MRP is 6395/- Is it the same ? “
She was blinking for a second or two. Then she recovered and managed to say “Have you brought the old mixie Sir ? Are you exchanging old one ? “ She must have noticed we are empty handed. The tone and tenor was not to expect us to exchange.
I said in affirmative. I also added “ Left it in the car!” . It was a needless remark, but my vanity always plays a dominant role.
The sales girl was still ignoring me , it appeared , it is her nature not to get impressed at all , she veered and shunted to the Manager. And sauntered forward, but this time , bit of a confusion in her eyes.
“Have you brought the two jars ?” Perhaps, she was expecting I would not have. But I betrayed her.
I said “ Yes”.
I started to wonder ‘Why ? Is there any problem ?’. I did not ask but my eyes were radiating it to her.
I am sure, she is not a decision maker. Because, without further questioning, She rallied to her boss again and returned “ In which paper you saw the exchange offer sir?”.
This time , she is a bit timid to ask me the question. Probably, my eyes are betraying me and showing a bit of irritation!
I was clearly annoyed. Inter alia , Patience is not my virtue. I said with a dry tone “The Hindu”. I did not stop there. I raised my voice,
“What is happening? Why are you wasting my time? “
She muttered “ Sorry Sir, we have not received any communication from our head office about the offer ”
Now I was getting flustered , flared up and rage swelled like a Tsunami. . “OK. Then, I will come next Vinayaga Chaturthi . Hope, Atleast, you get the communication and keep your rates ready. “ After a small pause, I added “This is the way a private shop is functioning”. I don’t know, where I am getting all this lousy comments and dry humor when I am really upset! Now I reached a point of no return! (to this shop!)
I haughtily moved out and my wife had already left the building. Any day, she is hastier than me!. On the way, I noticed The Manager was the least disturbed and was watching us with a wry smile on his face.
He did not even make an attempt to move towards us. I thought he is a great non - moving asset like other assets of the shop. On the way back, We decided to try another chain shop, Giri's. One of my favorites, because they used to give some freebies for every purchase.
You have to ask for it, ofcourse.
Here the MRP is Rs.5945 and after heavy bargaining, the sales man consulted some printed sheets and said the final price is Rs.4800/- . Not a penny less he would offer and he just walked away. Not even looked at my side! He was not expecting me to buy at this rate as I was rooting for about Rs.4200/- !
Disappointed, I asked the shop keeper “Tell me, when the online shops like Amazon, FlipKart sells around Rs.4300/- without exchange , why not you guys sell the piece around the price. We will gladly buy from you and we get an assurance and gift also?”
As usual , he said “Sir, they don’t have VAT sir, no show room , so they are cheap and they don’t give guarantee!” . I could not understand why I should loose for VAT , this or that , if it is a legitimate sale ?
I did not buy his argument.
I did not buy his appliance .
We tried a third shop, where I know the shop owner, here the price is 4740/- with additional coupon discount of Rs.200/-. What is this, don’t they have a fixed price? Should I try online before buying?
We returned home, my wife empty handed , old mixer in my hand .
I was quite angry with the Planet Electronics . What a lousy marketing strategy they have ? How could they treat a customer like this? I am Not going to leave this !
So, to vent my anger, hurt ego, I slammed a mail to the customer service section of the company. But before sending, I remembered ethics and toned down the expressions , never the less, a firing mail.
No doubt, I got a reply mail from their customer service department immediately, which said “ Thank you for your feed back. We will resolve the issue in ten minutes”.
Even after an hour, Nothing happened. Probably, at the other end, the time appears to have stopped. But, You know, I don’t take things lightly, especially when at one end my wife is prodding and the gloom of unpalatable food at the other end of the spectrum.
This time I called the customer service department of Planet Electronics .
They thanked me over phone, and offered a price of about Rs.4350/-. The best price, they assured, no exchange needed.
They wanted me to go back to the same shop and get the product from the Manager. “I will inform the manager suitably. Sir, this is a at cost price, best possible, Because you have given us a good feed back”. I don’t know what feed back he means ! It is surely a complaint not a compliment.
I was reluctant to accept the offer. What, if they turned me down ? Or palmed off a damaged piece ? My analytical brain working over time for me, I finally said “No Sir, I will not go to the manager now. As a customer, it is below my dignity. The Manager has to call me and confirm the rate. Then only I will buy from you, otherwise, sorry , I will buy elsewhere”. I safely omitted mentioning about the sales girl. Why make unwanted issues ? For anything, we assume the Manager alone is responsible.
By this time, You would have guessed correct. Nothing tangible happened . No action, No mail came from the branch or their Corp Centre. In fact , I also did not expect.
I know the Company has no obligation to care for customers. Marketing Advertisements are meant to attract the customers. It Need not be fulfilled. The customers can always be conned. They are susceptible. They are vulnerable. Because if one sucker does not not come, what is the problem? there is always another.
So, The brick and mortar story ends here .
Wait , wait, the story does not end here. There is also another side of the story !
Evening at about 4.30 Pm. We are @ home.
My wife gave me the ultimatum. No Mixie , she said, no chutney, no Chilli powder. She is an extremist. Ruthless. I was scared. I was not @ home !
So , left with no other option, I went online, browsed , booked in one www.Kartazon.com, similar to Amazon, the same piece Preethi Mixer 750 watt Blue Leaf model - MG 158 for a price much less .
Now it was Rs.4299/- All inclusive. Cash On Delivery. You see I am a cautious guy. I will never pay in advance. If possible, I will never pay !! The delivery was expected on 22nd Sep 2015.
Here the twist comes:
Morning of 20th Sep
About 7.30 am. “Ting” . Metallic Sound of a message in the mobile. It is from Kartazon online shop. “Your piece will be delivered to you by today. Please keep the cash ready”.
I went to the mail box, there too the same message. Delivery today.
Clicked it and OH My God, I was shocked. I felt I was cheated.
To my horror, I found one other dealer is selling the same piece for a much lesser price, Rs.3999/- all inclusive. About Rs.300/- less !
My wife started shouting. As usual! “Cancel the online ! Rebook it . Why waste Rs.300/- I told you, You could have waited for a few days ! What was the hurry ? “ My wife knows how to turn the table.
But I was not so sure. “Ma ! the delivery will be today. How can we cancel it now? Any how, It is a different vendor. Again there will be time delay! By rebooking, we don’t know , we may land in some other trouble”. I tried to dissuade, feebly. But fiercely my wife refused to listen.
Let me confess, she is much more informed than me, hands down ! . She is an Androidmom. She has more friends in Whatsapp , she hangs out (besides hanging me out ) , Skypes , Viber and has all free downloads. She chats all the time with friends . So, when She said finally “Cancel it. Thats it !” , I know “ Obeying one's own Wife was the Way to Happy life!”
Meekly, I went online and called Kartazon customer service, online chat. I mentioned my issue. You know what they said ? You will be surprised !
“ No problem sir, we understand your concern. We will cancel the order from our side, you will get the cancellation order. We will make sure the product will not be delivered to you. You can rebook a fresh one, on receiving a cancellation confirmation message from us “.
They are polite , professional and business like. ! Or am I imagining?
In ten minutes, I received a cancellation confirmation call, and I re booked another mixer of the same model, through the same online , Rs.300/- less, for Rs.3999/- all inclusive.
I was wondering what is MRP , offered Price, discount and what is the real price? I remembered, a few months ago, In one mobile online shopping ad , I saw the MRP of a specific model mobile was 18999/- offered rate 12000/- and on that particular date it was reduced to 6999/-, 'hot deals' . One other vendor was pricing the same piece for Rs.10000/- on the same day. Then, What is the True price ? Will there be any quality issue in the product ?
While the brick and mortar shop keeper is reluctant to reduce even Rs.500/- how the on line shop discount of 40 % to 50 % is possible ?
What is the real value ? Who is the real winner ? Is it The Manufacturer, the dealer, the on line shop or the customer? Who is the gullible? naive? credulous ? I could not comprehend !
This is the story of click and order. Other side of the story !
Now pray tell , I am confused. I am an ardent fan of Brick and Mortar. I hate Click and Order. But after this episode, I am not sure which is better! Who will win the battle ? Who is the looser ?
Brick and Mortar
( or )
Click and Order ?
.. End ( Names of the vendors changed ).
P.S I got my Preethi on 22nd Sep, in tact..
Last edited by Muralidharan S; 2nd October 2015 at 08:59 AM.
22nd September 2015 12:04 PM
22nd September 2015, 10:59 PM
Post Thanks / Like - 1 Thanks, 1 Likes
23rd September 2015, 09:37 AM
9th October 2015, 03:17 PM
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10th October 2015, 01:32 PM