by Aastha Katyal
Customer is God. But God too has to be revered according to his level today. The big businesses today only care about customers with money, plus they must APPEAR to have money. It doesn’t suffice to have money in your pocket but look like a bum. No Sir! Appearances aren’t deceptive to them.
An incident which occurred about two weeks back acts as a very apt example. I went with a friend to the Gelato ice-cream stall at the Kala Ghoda festival, excited about having the Chocolate flavour in a waffle cone – can’t stand ice-cream in cups. When I approached the stall, I was right behind a man dressed in slightly shabby attire – a dirty shirt, with a worn out flannel pant. He clearly did not belong to a high socio-economic class. While I waited, I witnessed him asking the Gelato guy for a waffle cone, which costed merely Rs. 10. The guy shook his head and said, “Nahi hai.” So the man took his money with him and walked away. I went forward and to check personally, I asked the guy whether there were waffle cones available. He looked at me for a second, and nodded his head in a yes. I was surprised at his response since a second back he had told the other man before me that no waffle cones were available.
Anyway, my eye went to another flavour, and I decided to taste that before I ordered the chocolate flavour I had intended to buy. So I asked for a taste of that flavour. The guy looked around for a spoon and suddenly changed his mind, telling me, “tasting is not allowed.” At the same time, I saw the other Gelato guy working alongside him behind the counter, offering a taste of a flavour to a man who clearly looked like a foreigner. That riled me up, and I went to a higher executive asking him if tasting was allowed, knowing well that it was. When the executive said yes, I got peeved off and complained about the worker to him, practically shouting with rage. How could he merely refuse a customer for a simple thing like a Rs. 10 waffle cone just because he decided the customer looked less fancy than I did? And later he began judging me too, for apparently tasting was allowed for foreigners but not customers like me! The executive listened to me patiently, and promised to check the worker, like I insisted he should.
This incident still annoys me for it merely re-enforces the harsh truth that exists today. If I buy an Apple Ipod today and it shatters within a month, it would be replaced by the company if it is still under warranty and I will get a brand new Ipod, free of cost. Why? Because I am a “privileged customer” for I have the moolah to buy their expensive product. But a person from a lower socio-economic class is not important for these big businesses for he does not have the appearance or the money to be important enough for them. Like a friend of mine stated humourously – A day will soon come in the future when poor people become extinct, for they are already endangered!