Wednesday, January 9, 2013

64. Two Businessmen And What They Deserve.

I’m not a businessman. I’m not a doctor. Still as a layperson, there are a lot of business ideas I could give to a businessman and novel ideas even to a doctor to excel in their professions. These are not learned at any Business School or Medical College, but at the University of Life. This goes beyond the two categories I selected randomly.

The following is an example.

These two businessmen are based in two countries. This article is not to suggest where they come from has anything to do with their nature.  

I remember Sarasavi Textiles as a small business housed in a small space in a dilapidated building in front of the hospital, in our hometown. As the name suggested they dealt mainly in textiles and later expanded into other areas.

I used to address the proprietor as Dhanapala Ayya ever since I knew him. He had a way of attracting people to his shop, by addressing anyone very respectfully, and he made sure even his shop assistants did the same. And, he was careful not to let any customer feel neglected. Moreover, he made a small discount on all the items he sold. And what attracted the customers most was his interest free easy payment scheme. He had started that before the other mega stores who adopt that system today.

What made me a permanent customer of his, addition to the above qualities, is a different story which I doubt even he remembers now.

I once bought an immersion water heater from him. When he sold this to me he said, that this product bears no warranty.  According to my budget, this was what I could afford and he gave me a discount, too, as usual.

I came home happily and started using the appliance. And the very next day it simply burned out. Even though I remembered that, it carried no warranty, I went to the shop and told Dhanapala Ayya what happened. He chewed his lip and thought for some time. Then he said, “As I said, this carries no guarantee. Still it’s a loss for you, isn’t it? Let’s do something like this. Let’s bear the loss 50 – 50.” And he opened his drawer and paid me half the value of the heater, which was a big relief to me according to my financial status.

What he did, made such an impression on me that we became life time customers of his. That small amount of money he paid me was an investment he made, which attracted me to his business so many years to come. That gesture of goodwill went a long way. It’s not the money that matters.  It’s that small move of a very clever businessman which moved me.  Today Sarasavi Textiles is housed at its large premises consisting of several floors and so many square meters in the heart of the town. 

I think he deserves that. 

And I met him even the last vacation. I don’t know the other sides of him. This is what I see and this is my opinion.
So Best of Luck, buddy.

If you are wondering why am I so moved by this small incident that took place so many years ago, read this and compare him with this dude from this foreign land.

Here in this land where everything is overpriced we bought vegetables from this shop paying about five six times more than what we would pay in Sri Lanka. We were regular customers of his shop and we were a very good source of income for him. We bought fruits vegetables spices groceries and everything from him and paid approximately converted to Sri Lankan Rupee would be something like 30,000 to 40,000 a month. 

One day while we were shopping there, my little son as usual was inspecting things on the shelves. We were on the other side. In a while, the proprietor came to us holding my son by his shoulder as if he has done some criminal activity. 

“He dropped this flashlight and broke it. He told me showing a small flashlight that you could attach to a bicycle.” Truly enough the glass had come off.  And my son was looking at us horrified. 

I got pissed off as I had a short fuse and I didn’t tolerate anyone manhandling my kid.

“Let go of him first.  Don’t touch him.” I said firmly.

He got his paws off immediately.

How much is it?

He said the price, it was approximately 45.00 Sri Lankan rupees.
I pulled out my wallet and thrust a note in his hand.

Okay. Here’s your money. And you shouldn’t have manhandled him for that. You could have told us. And he did it by accident. And nobody is going to touch a kid of mine for that.”

“Yes, yes.  But he broke it.”

“So I paid for that. And give me the flashlight, too.”

We dropped everything we had selected and were leaving the shop.

“Why? Aren’t you taking these vegetables today?”

“No, we changed our mind. Good bye”

When we were walking home, I remembered Dhanapala Ayya who never would have done a stupid thing like that. 

After this incident, we never stepped into to his shop. We boycotted it. Just calculate how much he lost by doing the math. For the ease of calculation , say it’s 35,000 and into 10 and half months into seven years. I think he lost and income of Rs 2,572,500.00 just for a 45 rupee flashlight. That is without considering the devaluation of currency and the increased cost of living. And isn’t it a hell of a price for him to pay for rough handling my son and pissing me off? 

I think he deserves that, too.