Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fight for Rs.5

Today at one of the railway station stalls in Mumbai I went to buy a bottle of packaged drinking water. My wife and daughter were also accompanying me but they were seated on a bench at some distance from the stall. I asked the price when the bottle was handed over to me by the salesman. I was told that it will cost me Rs.20. I checked on the bottle and the maximum retail price (m.r.p.) printed was Rs.15. I handed the bottle back to the salesman who unlike other salesmen was not wearing a uniform and told him that the printed price is only Rs.15. He ignored my comments, took the bottle back from me and put it back in the refrigerator. 

I thought I should do something about it. I stepped back and took the photograph of the banner at the top of the stall which had the name of the contractor of the stall and while doing this also ensured that the salesmen inside noticed what I was doing. In the banner above it was also indicated that all items will be charged as per the m.r.p. printed on the items. I then made my move and came and stood besides the bench where my wife and daughter were sitting.

I know you guys would be curious to know what happened next. Isn't it?

This is what happened. One of the salesman who was wearing a uniform came to me and told that you can take the bottle and pay only Rs.15. I asked this person why was the price higher earlier. He replied stating that the other person is new and he didn't know the correct price. I replied when I file a complaint and the contractor gets booked then that salesman will know the price of everything. This salesman who came to me apologized and said that please do not complain as he will lose his job. I then went along with this salesman to the stall and bought the bottle of water at the correct price of Rs.15 and came back to the same place where my wife and daughter were seated. However, the salesman who had come to me earlier followed me again. I asked him what happened. He requested me to delete the photograph I had taken. I said do not worry as I was not going to use it. He was not satisfied with my response and again pleaded that I get that photograph deleted because if I do something with that he will lose his job. I then showed him the photograph and got it deleted in his presence. I saw a big relief on his face and he went back to the stall with a smile on his face.

There may be some who think it was stupid of me to fight for Rs. 5. On the other hand some of you may feel that I should have taken the fight further by filing a complaint about it. My justification is that a salesman will only sell stuff at a higher price if people are willing to buy. So the onus is on people like you and me to buy stuff at the right price. Also for those who think Rs.5 is not worth fighting for will be having a decent salary. I am also in that category. However, what about the large majority for whom Rs.5 will have a higher value. Also if we get used to ignoring such unjust acts even if they seem trivial, tomorrow we would not be able to fight bigger acts of injustice as the perpetrators will know that there won't be any opposition.

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