//CUSTOMER SERVICE AWOL
What’s the Hindi, Telugu, or Punjabi word for “customer service”? You have to think hard about it, right?
U.S. culture requires that we are peppered with greetings, some meaningless, when we enter a store. “Have a nice day” is a hackneyed phrase that seems to have lost sincerity and meaning, but nevertheless it’s reassuring to hear. But enter any Indian business establishment—restaurant, cinema, grocery store—and chances are you won’t even get a cursory “hello” or even “thank-you.” In fact, you often get the feeling upon entering an Indian establishment that you’re trespassing onto personal property like an uninvited guest.
Plastered behind the check-out counters are angry handwritten signs stating: “No Refunds Whatsoever” or “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone”—“anyone” bolded and double underlined.
The monopoly that Indian business establishments enjoy, coupled with increased consumer demand and historic lack of choice, means they can get away with shoddy service and quite frankly unclean, unhygienic, and disorganized stores. Some stores look like their shelves and merchandise haven’t been dusted since the dot.com bubble burst.
We go to Indian stores out of either necessity or because they are cheap, certainly not for the ambience or the experience. Take away the former two factors, and they’d be out of business. Today, with more options available to consumers on the internet as well as western supermarkets stocking more Indian groceries, let’s hope that Indian businesses are forced to focus less on their profits and more on customers.
M. Chinna, San Jose, Calif.//
I totally agree with M. Chinna, San Jose, Calif. ,who wrote this letter. DON'T YOU TOO ??
I have limited my visits to desi establishments ever since this incidence happened to me. Here are few alternatives that i follow :
1.Shopping for vegetables/greens at Oriental stores/local farmers market. They do carry "Indian" vegetables. The vegetables are fresh and worth the price you pay.
2.Rice : From wholesale clubs [BJs/Costco /Sams Club]. They do carry rice varieties imported from India.LOT cheaper than Indian stores.
3.For dhal ,mustard and other condiments,look for nearest Mexican/Latino/Caribbean stores. They do have wider varieties of spices of much better quality.
4 .Indian Restaurants : A BIG NO NO ! SAVE YOUR HEALTH !Treat your taste buds to other cuisines. Vegan/Vegetarian foods are available everywhere.
5.Indian Jewels : These jewelers in Desi areas have a nasty attitude.Few won't even talk to you or show you the jewels until you convince them that you are a potential customer. I prefer middle eastern stores in downtown, Much purer gold and new designs.
6. Indian Doctors : My Indian PCP turned me away for carrying HMO even though he is a part of the medical group.Told me that he prefers PPO. I get better care elsewhere !!
7. Movie theatres : Nasty ! [Worn out chairs/bugs/stinky toilets !] .Also talk about the ticket prices of newly released Indian/Tamil movies compared to Hollywood movies ! I'd rather prefer watching a movie at home via........:-)
8.Indian/Hindu temples :Going to temple on an auspicious day ? Be prepared to be pushed around and jostled by the crowd inside the shrine. I can't understand how our people can stand in line /Queue for at busstop with others but can not maintain the same standards within own community. Also, at a temple,look out for the priest attending phone call to talk to ambi while performing pooja and special dakshina to the priest for performing car pooja. The asking rate now at Malibu temple is atleast 3x$20 which was $20 couple of years ago. I believe HOME IS TEMPLE and if you believe GOD IS ONE,plan a visit to nearest church,buddhist temple or other places of worship.
WHAT ELSE ? Talk about a visit to Indian Embassy,SBI-USA,AIR INDIA...the list goes on and on..... IT IS TIME THAT OUR PEOPLE'S ATTITUDE CHANGE FOR BETTER.
IT IS ALL ABOUT TEACHING A LESSON TO GREEDY INDIAN GROCERS AND BUSINESSES.WILL YOU LISTEN ?