In building a business, there’s a certain amount of time you spend, pitching sales for your business to succeed and then your business model will have to sell by itself! What we as a country need to focus on is long term benefits, not short term gains:
Oh yes, I remember the small shopkeeper who had a shop, downstairs in one of the galas of our housing society. He sat behind an old wooden counter in the same place and in the same way he had been sitting for the last fifteen years, since he had opened his shop.
‘Ha, ha, ha, ha,’ he laughed and shook my hand heartily, ‘you are asking me how I am still making money, well I will show you.’
I watched as a customer came into the shop and asked for five kilos of sugar. The owner weighed the sugar carefully on the scales, even added a little more, packed the sugar and took the money.
‘Fifty rupees profit,’ said the shopkeeper proudly.
‘Fifty rupees?’ I asked, ‘how can that be, you can’t make fifty rupees on five kilos of sugar.’
‘Ha, ha, ha,’ laughed the shopkeeper, ‘maybe not on five kilos of sugar but you can make 50 rupees on four kilos of sugar’
‘You mean the weighing scales are not correct?’ I asked.
‘How else can we make money?’ said the shopkeeper putting on a sad face, we have to live nah?”
‘But,’ I said, ‘people will soon come to know, nobody will come here then.’
‘Ah we have our methods,’ said the shopkeeper, as a maidservant walked into his shop and ordered some tea leaves. He wrapped the third grade tea leaves and slipped a ten rupee note into her hand. ‘See she will always come here,’ said the owner.
‘But her memsahib is not going to be too happy with the tea,’ I said.
‘Who cares,’ he said, ‘that is not my problem, this is how I have been existing for the last fifteen years, what else can I do with all the competition around me?’
I looked outside and saw the number of malls that had sprouted all around. They were full of customers, going in with cash and coming out with huge packets and packages.
‘Now can you see what a struggle it is,’ asked the shopkeeper.
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘but your shop was here much before them. All those customers should be coming and going out of your shop. Maybe if you had not cheated from the beginning people would be only buying from you.’
‘Ah who can wait for such a long time,’ said the shopkeeper giving a small boy a chocolate for buying a rotten loaf of bread from him. ‘In this world you have to make quick profits, and a little bribery does help.’
I watched the shopkeeper sitting behind the same wooden counter in the same place, and in the same way he had been sitting for fifteen years, and I felt sorry for a cheat who had only cheated himself..!
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