Here is a reason why mom and pop stores are here to stay for a long time to come in India.
Was getting back home around 10 pm today.
There is a Heritage Fresh retail store near to my house. I always stop by to pick a Tropicana juice pack before i head home . Usually i get there before or by 10 pm . Today, I got late and reached there around 10.10 pm. The shop was not yet closed. But they were putting out the lights. I stop there and explain , " Sorry I got late. Can i just pick up the juice ?" .
The guy at the store says , " Sorry we are closed. Billing is closed" .
I was like , " what the hell are you talking about ? the shop is not yet closed. the shutters are not down( This guys knows me.I have been coming here everyday for the past 6-8 months to pick up juice pack) Why cant you just go in there and get me the Rs 18 juice pack ."
But he wouldn't budge. He put his foot down and refused to get me the juice pack.
I was determined to get my juice today. I went in search of another retail store. I found most the big retail stores closed. Spencer Daily was closed. Daily Life was closed. But ...
But, the small shops were open. I zeroed in on a shop named " Anna Stores" . Not a sophisticated shop at all. He sells stuff across the counter. And guess what ? He has almost everything you would need for day to day household purposes.
He was about to shut the store. It was already close to 10.25 pm. The shutters were down halfway and he was checking if lights were all switched off.
He saw me approaching his shop, gave me a nice smile and asked , " enna vennum , sir?" ( what do you want sir?)
I dint get my Tropicana juice pack. He dint have stock. I got Appy Fizz drink instead. Not exactly the juice I would like to drink before I hit bet. It cost me Rs 25. Why did I buy it ? Because , this guy took the time out to re open the shop , just for me, and offered to sell the stuff I wanted. Even before he reopened the shop I told him that I needed the Tropicana. He knew he dint have stock and yet he said , " I will check and see if I can give you something else" .
He apologetically added , " I usually keep 2-4 juice packs for my regular customers. But today i don't have stock. Come tomorrow I will keep one extra for you."
I beamed .....
See .. The Big Deal is - I was not his regular customer. Rs 25 was not going to set his cash register ringing to a bounty. He could have as well said no to my face and got back home to see his family after a hard day at work. Instead, he knew more about customer service than a professionally managed "hi-funda" retail store like - Fresh.
Now, why did that mom and pop shop owner go about his way to help me out ?
Where do you think I would go tomorrow to get my juice pack, my next soap,Gillette,Maggi noodle purchase?