Crib… crib… crib

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Hey… I know, I know, my next post is supposed to be about the car… but I am going to postpone it… AGAIN.
My parents have always been careful with money, just like any parents of their generation. They try to extract a deal where ever possible… saving a rupee, driving a bargain. My parents, specially my dad, always asked for a discount. Sometimes it was embarrassing and we would tell dad ; “What are you doing? Nobody will give a discount HERE”. This is something I have picked up. If you don’t ask, you shall never receive. It works more often that not. Its not just about money, even when it comes to service. Service levels in India are definitely better than in USA (from what my sis tells me) and is getting better by the day. I think a local outlet is much better at this than a MNC. MNCs/Indian companies are too stuck in their systems and processes to focus on customer. The processes are for their benefit and not for the customer. This is not just for customers but even employees. I feel like all rules are for the benefit for the one driving them and not for an employees’ convenience. 3 years back when I had joined my company, I was shocked to see there was no parking. There was limited parking which was given to the higher management. This is true for most companies but in my previous organization there was an alternate arrangement. I had called the admin guy in the HO and told him my problem. His reply; “Thats the way it is”…
Me: But… but… where do I park my car?
Him: Not my problem
Me: How am I supposed to come to office?
Him: Not my problem
Not kidding. I parked in the nearby mall and paid 100 bucks per day. I also spent lesser time in office- 5 days in a month.
But, I am digressing.
Here are a few instances where in tough dealing got me a good deal- monetary and non monetary:

  • So, I bought a Honda Brio. It struck 1000 km mark last night and I have to get it serviced. On calling the workshop I was told charges for pick up and drop service are 150 bucks. Menial amount except I have never paid for this service at Maruti. Yes, the workshop is behind my office… yet… I called another workshop which has mentioned on their website that they give this service free. Guess what? I was told the same charges. Bugged and determined to get it free, I mentioned the website.

The lady on the phone said- I need to ask the manager. Why don’t you give me your address till then?
Me- Nope… first confirm its free and then I will give any further details.
Her- But we charge for it
Me- Then why does it say “free” on the website. I wont pay for it
(Calls back in 5 mins)
Her- Ok, we will not charge
Yoohooo

  • In 2009, all the employees were given Bose Wave Player as gifts for meeting sales targets. BWP is basically a portal CD/Ipod/FM player. Its an ok device… not something I would spend money on. Many employees sold it off but I kept it as memento.. after all, it is Bose. I can count the no of times I have played it. Problem is it plays only original CDs and I do not believe in paying for something I can get free online. Anyway, during the shifting the remote was misplaced. KC and I searched… and searched… and then gave up. At the showroom, I was asked to contact customer care to buy a new remote. The spares are not sold in shops. I found that convenient… after making the payment I waited to receive the delivery. 2 days later, Bose called to tell me my IP address does not “match” and so payment will not go through. I called the credit card company… they said Bose has not claimed for it and so payment has not been done. I cancelled the transaction and paid from a different credit card. Same problem happened. I may not be a technical genius but I get by. I have never heard of “IP address not matching”. I told Bose guys the same thing. The problem is at their end… I just want the damned remote. The guy on the phone was very condescending.

Me: I just want the remote soon… I don’t have time to waste. There is no such thing as IP address matching while making an online payment

Him: I am sorry but those are our rules and policies
Me: What is the other option? Can you send it to a showroom in Gurgaon?
Him: No… but you can come to our workshop near IIT and buy it there
Me: No ways…. I am not going through so much trouble
Pissed, I sent a stinker to customer care telling them I am selling off the player. Who cares about a shitty remote? 2 days later, my payment had gone through automatically and the remote was in my hands.
I am never buying anything from Bose again. It maybe an expert in music players but I can do without this kind of attitude.
Being tough with companies works most of the time.
  • There is a popular market near my house. Getting a parking is a big problem in the evenings. Sometimes I have to take 2 rounds to find some space. A lot of times, people park on the road even though there is space. Basically, they do park in the space and block it off for anyone else. Its a pain… also, arrogant (people here are filled with that emotion) and insensitive. I am ok with drivers doing that ‘coz they are in the car and will move whenever you ask them to. But a lot of people park and leave. I came across the same thing today. Thankfully, the guy was in the car itself but my honking did not have any effect. I rolled down the windows and asked him to move the damn car.

Him: I have parked

Me: On the road? This is no place to park. Move your car so I can park inside
Finally, he moved and then stopped right in front of the market gate. What morons.
  • I used to shop in Spencers… they have the whole range and take Sodexo vouchers. But twice they billed me incorrectly and now I prefer the local outlet across the road. On confronting the cashier, he offered me a credit note. Unbelievable… first they over charge and then refuse to return my money

Me: I want my money back

Him: My system does not allow me to give refund. I will give you a credit note
Me: You have opened the bags… removed all the groceries… checked them twice… wasted 10 mins and want to give a credit note? I don’t give a shit about YOUR system… according to MY system, you have to return my money. Call your manager now.
They returned my money and I have never shopped there again. No such hassles at the local outlet- they bill correctly, any mistakes are promptly corrected, they carry bags to my car and give me home delivery. I don’t care if they are not giving me extra discounts.
And then there are incidences where I know I am not going to win:
Airtel sucks… When we shifted to Gurgaon I had called the Airtel guy for a broadband connection. He promptly turned up on Saturday and committed to give the connection on Monday. I was joining work from Tuesday and wanted to get it over with before then. On Monday, he tells me that the process has not been completed and the connection will come on Tuesday. I asked him to fuck off and called the local cable guy. The internet was installed by evening. The Airtel guys kept following up for sometime. They did not even return the initial amount paid and I didn’t bother. I know I am never going to get it back.
When we shifted to the new flat the Airtel DTH connection had to be moved. After numerous calls directly to the franchise the engineer turned up. Our building has changed the rules. The wires have to be installed from inside and not outside since painting work is going to begin.It is a 2-3 hours job. The engineer did not want to do it… normally, installation takes half hour. After wasting 2 hours he left with promises of coming the next day. Same thing happened again. I had to bear the tantrums and rude behavior. None of them wanted to make the extra effort. They asked me to get an electrician to do all the work and pay the engineer only for connecting wires. I refused. Why should I pay 2 people for the work of one? The engineer refused to install. I asked him to screw off and got the local cable connection. Now, I am receiving calls asking me to recharge the DTH. I have given them my choicest abuses… I am supposed to recharge a DTH which has not been connected? Also, the franchise manager told Airtel that there is no connection in the building and so they cannot install it. Airtel did not even cross check if other flats have Airtel or not. Such buggers.
Being a consumer is tough. We have to be on our guard and wary about everything… the bigger the brand name… the worse we are treated. With all the hue and cry about modern retail boom, I don’t think they can match up to the local guys… ever… atleast in India.


3 thoughts on “Crib… crib… crib

  1. Not to sound like a condescending geek but….Bose is highly regarded only by those who know nothing about audio quality and are enamored by brand posturing.
    People who give a hoot about audio quality run far FAR away from Bose…no kidding!

    What they do successfully, is marketing. In fact, if you ever want a case study on how a good marketing strategy can make even the worst of products, into the best of sellers, then Bose is it

    I will try and post a link to a technical review. Can’t find it now.

    Have fun!

    ~APC

  2. Wow…. I did not know that about Bose… and I know you are right ‘coz you know more about music and music quality and musical instruments any day. Do give me the link. It will be an interesting read.

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