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November 2008
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First time in market

(Memories V2)

 

First time in market…

 

I don’t remember my age at that time, but I was very much a super-hero even then. It was also the time when I envied my friends who had got full-pants as their uniforms and curiously looked at my father driving his motorbike every evening. School was ‘the’ world of the day-time, and home a place to dream and experiment. And then one day, mother asked me to buy 250 grams of chuda (beaten rice). And hence I went to the market – for the first time alone…

 

Mother had asked me to enquire more than one shop, because they might try to fool me into charging more. I went to the first shop and enquired – Rs 11.50 per Kg. Ok… Then the neighbouring shop – Rs 11 a Kg. Wow! They really thought I was a kid? I realised that if just going 10 feet further gave me a saving of 50 paisa, how about making a round? And hence I made a quick round of all the kirana stores in the market, about 8-10 of them…

 

I realised that it was not working. There were only two rates and I was not gaining anything from the exercise. So when the next shopkeeper said Rs 11.50, I told him that the rates of the competitors were lower by 50 paisa! He said, “Ok, how much would you take?” “250 grams…” To my surprise, he agreed to give me at the lower rate. I returned back home happy and victorious – after all, I was not fooled at all by them. By the time I reached home, I had done the calculation…  

 

I had saved Rs (11.50 – 11)/4 = Rs 0.125 = 12.50 paisa! Now I realised why the shopkeeper had agreed at the lower rate of his competitor… I don’t remember what happened next – and it is indeed comforting not to remember mother’s reaction. I must have told the story of my smartness and business acumen to mother who would have told me what I saved after spending 20 extra minutes – 10 paisa! And an experience.

 

The funniest thing is that I still make such funny mistakes – just their sophistications have changed… or should I say improved?

 

(Rahul)

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