Are you being robbed one rupee at a time?
As I asked for one rupee in change from the cashier a fellow customer on the next billing counter took a whole 180 degree turn and looked at me as if I was an insect.
To add to my embarrassment the cashier rolled his eyes and took out a five rupee note and said “you can keep this instead.” He made me feel like a beggar for asking for my own money. Obviously, I did not keep it but amused and astonished I moved away.
The next day I discussed the incident with my friends. Most of them seemed to have the same opinion as that of the lady at the store. “For God sakes! How could you asked for Rs 1 ?” said one. Another said “Thank God, I was not with you!”
A few did agree with the principle of thing. It was my money and it should have been returned to me. But this is one of the facts that have become a part of our daily lives. It is a predetermined fact that the shop keeper will ‘keep the change’ whether you want him to or not. Asking for it will below your stature.
Personally, I strongly feel the need to revise the definition of consumer crime here. Consumer crimes are exploitation of consumers using unfair means and unethical trade practices like black marketing, adulteration of food and edible oil. Consumer theft is among the list of consumer crimes of which I was a victim and many of you are too, willingly or resentfully.
Let’s face it, it has become a part of our society and on a much smaller scale it is actually corruption deeply embedded and accepted in the system. Petrol stations are a perfect example. If you cannot pay back in paisas, please do not use it as a unit of currency unless you have a proper system like in the telecom sector. In case there is no option; at least the concept of basic ‘rounding-off-the-figure’ could be used; that is somewhat fair.
Let’s assume that a sandwich company has ‘psychologically priced’ their product at Rs. 199 but the fact is they actually charge you Rs. 200. If the company sells 200 sandwiches at the end of the day, they will have the revenue of 201 sandwiches without having to spend a single penny for that last sandwich. Of course this is just a hypothetical example and these figures do not reflect real ones. The point is not how much ‘extra’ they are earning but how we have come to accept such unfair and unethical means of doing business.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.