Who Says customer is the King?

It was a chilly December afternoon in Bangalore. We were at the Commercial Street in Bangalore. By around 2 pm when the shopping was over, we decided to have meals. On either sides of the road, there were MNC joints, one a McDonalds and the other KFC. To save the hassle of crossing the road, we got into KFC. The menu displayed on the wall was a series of combination of chicken pieces, French fries, Pepsi. Called as mini meals, value- add meals, combo meals with various  permutations & combinations, Pepsi was a common factor among all. It was quite dreadful to have Pepsi where the glass is topped with more than 50% ice on a chilly afternoon.

After considerable efforts, we were able to figure out a possibility of ordering a La-carte. Getting drinking water by default is out of question in an MNC joint. It affects the sale of Pepsi and Coke.  After finishing the meals, we requested for water. What was served after a long delay was the ice-cold version.  It was quite a struggle drinking such cold water on a chilly afternoon. We had to drink it sip-by-sip like  hot tea.

I go to a normal Darshini, Udipi restaurant. The waiter is not trained like the ones in the MNCs. Without being asked, he serves you drinking water and then you can order a dosa or an idly with coffee/tea. Why does training makes life difficult for customers?

Another example: I drove my car in a Shell petrol bunk. To avoid taken for a ride by the attendant, one  needs to be a Zen master and get into the present –moment awareness. The conversation goes as follows:

Attendant: Shall I fill  the tank with super petrol? (Remember, it is a closed question and it is easy to answer yes. The Super petrol is expensive by Rs 10 per litre vis-à-vis the normal petrol, the guy does not take the trouble to tell you this fact.)

I: ( with a calm disposition)  Please fill in the normal petrol.( You cannot afford to mumble NO as he can claim he heard it as Yes.)Attendant: Shall I top-up the tank?

I: Please fill only for Rs. 1000.                                                                                                                                                             Having missed his target twice, he makes a last feeble attempt.

Attendant: Can I help you with routine checkup like Oil check and coolant check?

I: how much will you charge?

Attendant: No, its free.

I: wonderful, please go ahead.

Attendant: (He opens the bonnet, takes out the oil indicator slider) The oil level is low. Your engine will seize anytime and it will damage the engine if you do not fill oil now.

I: How much will it cost?                                                                                                                                                                Attendant: Rs. 785/-

I: thanks for your advice.                                                                                                                                                                             I drive out after paying for the petrol. Last three weeks my car is still working fine.                                                                         Executives from KFC or Shell go through rigorous training vis-à-vis their Indian counterparts in Kamat/Shanbhag hotels or Indian Oil/Hindustan Petroleum .

Who says the customer is king but a hapless victim ( if gullible enough) who can be conned at the drop of hat?

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