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Tuesday, 6 November 2007

If the supermarket is on 4th floor and there is a cross fire with the management, who suffers?

I like shopping-under-one-roof and therefore prefer to go to malls and super stores for shopping. In Bandra we have only one supermarket called Magnet, which is on linking road. There are many mini supermarkets spread all over Bandra, but this particular one has everything under one roof and is bigger one, spread over third and fourth floor, and it is my weekly spot for shopping for grocery and sundry articles. Making a mental note of what I proposed to buy, I waited in line to take a lift to third floor. But the management of the Crystal Mall had banned the market over some grumpy issues and had prohibited the use of lift and escalator leading to the store. The lift and the escalators were available only up till 2nd floor. That would mean using the stairs, the only way to enter the market and then buying only the minimum since lift is not available for carrying the heavy trolleys. This kind of punishment is quite severe. I wanted to retrace my steps and go on to another market but that would be too much hassle. The superstore was losing sales. Their loss will reflect on the employees and on consumers. Magnet is a popular superstore and on weekends, the cash box is continuously ringing. But hitting below the belt is the common punishment in India. We see people going on strike regularly. Doctors, bus employees, banks, everybody takes their turn to hijack the city. It is normally done during the peak season when the consumers are likely to suffer. Instead of punishing the consumers and employees, it is better that the indifference can be settled in a different way in which only the disputed party suffer. One way around this is to provide better or cheaper service - at the management's expense, to the consumers. Like for example in the year 1968, Lisbon bus and train workers gave free rides to all passengers to protest a denial of wage increases. Conductors and drivers arrived for work as usual, but the conductors did not pick up their money satchels. Needless to say, public support was solidly behind these take-no-fare strikers. However, there were many like me, who had climbed up to 4th floor and shopped, but shopped carefully to buy only as much as it was possible to carry it downstairs without a lift. In India, consumers always come last. Bosses rule the land and consumers, the losers; bear the heavy cross on their shoulders, silently

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