Chrysaalis Contemplations – 2


It was a Monday….again! I found myself with a free day when an important meeting was cancelled last minute and decided to run some errands including getting some much needed clothes and accessories for the festive season. I managed to connect with a friend who had the same agenda and we agreed to meet at a market not too far. We had finished with some items on our list of to do’s and decided to enter a local store to buy some fabric she required. While browsing fabrics, we realized that they stock Indian clothing as well as an extensive collection of fabrics and decided to look at the entire range.

Without going into details of what we bought, let me just share that we spent close to 3 hours in the store. The owners and staff; all Gujaratis, were extremely pleasant and patient and helped us every minute, never begrudging our requests of wanting to have every item of clothing brought down from the shelves and displayed. Having entered around noon, we found ourselves really hungry by 2 pm and wished we could ask the store staff to buy us some food. Knowing that most stores discourage food and drinks being carried inside, we did not think this was a feasible option, but decided to ask anyway! On hearing our request, a senior staff member shook his head somberly, stating it was against their policy. It was expected, so did not press further. He looked at our crestfallen faces, smiled and said that taking money from customers for food was against the store policy. So they would get us lunch on the house! We we very embarrassed and declined the offer, insisting on payment which he refused. So we decided that we would finish our purchases and head out for lunch shortly.

But, we spent far longer in the store than we had planned and were still there an hour post the meal discussion. The same senior staff member walked up to us, firmly stating that he had ordered lunch for us and we would not be allowed to refuse. We were made to sit and eat a pretty hearty meal at the store, with a person waiting on us. Needless to say, we did full justice to the meal and of course to our ‘impromptu’ shopping expedition where we landed up buying a lot of clothes!

My friend and I just could not imagine this kind of treatment at any local (large, popular but not fancy or branded) store in any other city. Having grown up in Calcutta, we love the city but shopping there leaves us a bit disillusioned since displeasure is writ large on the faces of sales people when they are asked to show more than 3 items to a customer. And the lunch offer is unheard of, even in much larger and fancier stores.

The store did not have to get us food on payment, let alone for free because it was not quite expected. But they did and exceeded our expectations by miles. Looking back I realize that the cost of the meal would be about .005 % of our purchase value – a mere pittance. But that tiny investment has won them 2 very loyal customers, a pretty good thing in a very competitive market. We also loved the complete dedication to service with a smile and bending over backwards for customers; things we were thought were taught only in hotel schools. It was so nice to witness all this in a store that may not be known beyond a 10 km radius. I know for sure that we will return to the store time and again and not only because their products were beautiful but because they put smiles on our faces.

“I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.” …….Tammy Faye Bakker 


Copyright © Taraa Vermaa Senguptaa August 2014

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