The Case of Curious Benjamin

November 24, 2010 – 11:27 am                                                                                            

Benjamin was a movie buff period. Oh well, you could say more of a buff by choice or the lack of it.  Every weekend, by default he would find his way to the multiplex, (as he hated the pubs coz he doesn’t drink), only to find himself getting depleted of a grand or so. Bangalore, often cited as the next big thing was now establishing itself as a complex corporate jungle. The only big thing about Bangalore was its spending habits. Benjamin was almost a decade old in Bangalore, and his curiosity lay with the fact that, no matter how much he splurged, he would just not feel content with it.

One fine day, anxiety got the better of him and he skipped work for the day. The feeling was strange, it was like, he was not spending on stuff that he liked or probably he was not getting enough for the money he was spending. He was confused. He started recalling his daily chores.

Instance 1:

He goes for a Hollywood flick at a multiplex. Buys the ticket for 350 bucks, which on a week day would not cost more than 150.  The question is, is he getting a better service at weekend; then why the premium price?  He sits with a large cola and popcorn which cost him a ridiculous 150 bucks. The question is, as a child do you ever remember paying more than 5-10 bucks for a paltry pack of popcorns. 80 Rs for popcorn means an almost 800 % increase over a period of 10 years. Now the cola has deteriorated as well. The amount of cola in water is just enough make it look coloured, and they add a cartload of ice on the already dilute stuff. He wonders, does QUALITY mean anything to us at all ? The point being, if I am paying for a first class environment, then why am I subjected to such disgraceful standards? He wonders, does QUALITY mean anything to us at all?

Instance 2:

While returning from the theatre, he hires a rick. The rick driver demands for almost 3 times the actual fare. He gets into a verbal tussle. The driver puts it across blatantly, “Saar, I know you guys earn a lot these days, it’s our right to demand money from you, so that there is uniformity in wealth distribution. Benjamin is shocked at the ‘economic’ joke, and decides to pay him the extra, coz he’s not got a lot of options.

Instance 3

Benjamin decides to get a car for himself. The most common and trusted brand has a waiting list of 3-6 months. He wonders , is this a marketing strategy? The international brands have more cars, fewer salesmen, and a feeble service network. He’s caught in the web again. He books the most common brand that has assured a 45 day delivery. He waits patiently, and on the 40th day, the dealer call up saying the colour is not available, however if he is ready to pump some extra cash, then things could get easier.  He decides against it and goes for the common colour.

No , Benjamin isn’t just anyone, infact he is amongst all of us. Like in the movie, the ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, where the protagonist grows backward, I believe our service standards too are following a similar route.  The other day I saw an article by Vir Sanghvi describing the ridiculous standards of service that exists in our country today, and I couldn’t agree with him more. It true. However, historians could easily dub this period as ‘evolution’, but I believe that in order to progress as a nation it is important to take notice of these slackened services and voice it.

I truly believe in selling my products as a service and selling my services as a product. At Bharatonline, we came to a mutual conclusion that we are going to have an individual travel consultant available to all our clients. And this consultant has been planted specifically to ensure that all of our service users do not feel bereft of any amenity promised. So my pledge to all of us is to take notice of questionable standards and make it known to the company decision makers. There is an imperative need to raise our standards, and I pray to all to write to us in case of any difficulties faced!

One Comment

  1. Srinivas R
    November 30, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Its a beautifully told story and I love the title… There is downward slide as far as service and quality is concerned .. and there should be more blogs and investigation on it.

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