Monday, 6 July 2009

Fighting for a Reason...

I had told you about my middle class mania last week, right? Please do not confuse that with what I am going to tell you. This one is not about money, it is all about my belief. (Thank you Uma, for this cool oneliner.)
Maximum Retail Price. We know that is the expanded form of MRP. We know that is the 'printed price' on most goods, and the price that we should 'go by' especially with regard to FMCGs.

But how many people actually check it on a regular basis? Forget the regularity, even from time to time? I know this depends on a lot of factors. One - the class that you belong to. If you drive around in a Merc, it is less than likely that you will go to a supermarket in person, let alone check prices. I am talking about an average Indian here - the Mango Indian as JK calls himself. Two - if the product in question is new to you or not. It is very likely that the Mango Indian will check what the price is if it is a new product - mostly by asking the shopkeeper 'kya daam hai,' 'ithinethra' etc. but sometimes otherwise too.
I don't own a Merc and I do my shopping myself. I am a Mango Indian who buys new things like Parle Golden Arc Pineapple-stuffed rolls and old, time tested things like Dove soaps. Yet, each time, every single time, I check the MRP religiously.
Take a look at these situations and answer in your mind, okay? Just so that you know where you stand in this test of mine.
  • You are about to board a train for a long distance journey. You go to the nearby stall on your platform. You ask for a bottle of mineral water. Will you ask 'Kitna Hai' and pay what he says or check the MRP and pay the amount?
  • You are returning home after dinner with your friends. The gang feels like having something sweet and cold down the throats. You stop the car at the first visible Kwality Walls/Amul guy on the road. A orders a Cornetto, B orders a Feast and you get a Chocobar. Will you ask 'Total kitna?' or check the MRP and do the math yourself?
  • You are walking towards an office to get something done. You are dead tired and go to a pan shop to get a bottle of juice. Will you ask 'Kitna Hai' or check the MRP printed in feeble black on the glass bottle?

It is very likely that you answered either a Former to all or a Latter to all. If it is the former, have peace. 99% Indians belong to your tribe. If it is the latter, welcome aboard, you are a member of my club!
I have travelled long distances without a bottle of water because the stall owner said he wants fifteen for a Kinley water bottle when I gave him twelve – the printed MRP. I have given my favourite Amul Kulfi away, all upset and angry with the vendor who thought getting more than what’s printed is his birthright. I have rendered a 1.5 hour long Geet Gata Chal show on Rainbow FM exhausted and thirsty – just because the Panwallah outside All India Radio wanted 20 for the Minute Maid Pulpy Orange bottle that actually costs fifteen. All for my belief – that being able to buy things at MRP is my right as a citizen.
One could easily think that I suffered in each of those battles. But I have felt immensely proud of myself each time I stood and fought for my rights. Except for once, never has any vendor obliged and given me the stuff at MRP. But I still feel it is a battle won, because someone is questioning the wrong they are doing.
One could also feel sympathetic towards the vendor and tell me, “What’s wrong with you? Let the poor guy have a rupee extra.” My apologies there. If you need a bigger business margin, go for a business that offers you the same. For God’s sake, selling goods above their MRP is a legal offence. In a wave of sympathy, will you ignore a Panwallah selling micro drug packs and think let the dude make some money?
Until now, I have not been able to get hold of a Consumer Care number where I can report such cases. Soon, I will get that to ensure that the wrong is not just questioned, but overthrown by establishment of justice. Big words for a Kinley bottle at Rs. 12, an Amul Kulfi at Rs. 12, and a Minute Maid for Rs. 15, I know. But then, as I said in the beginning, it is not about the money, it is about my belief.


Kavitha K. Menon said...

Loved this one...Cool post!

sivadeep said...

Good one and true too. But I thought (should not ....i should also start thinking like you) that the Kinley water what we buy from station, we need to pay some additional charges as he is coming and giving it near the train. I may be wrong...As you say, if we dont pay that Rs 15 then we will not have it. Depends on whom you are with like Family or friends or alone.
Good one, just stimulated the thinking process. Keep posting.