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Smart or Over-smart? (Mumbai)


When I was a kid, in school... as every other kid, I did not have much money. My first TV was a simple old CRT Samsung 32" - open box item from Best Buy. Didn't have money for full cable, so just got the 8 (or so) local channels for $12 a month.

Usually the only channel worth watching was PBS. "This old house", "Julia Child's Kitchen", "Antique Road show", etc.

I remember one episode of "Antique Road show", they were evaluating if some old cast iron toys were original or Made in Asia fakes. The expert took one look and called it fake, his statement "In the US, the makers take a lot of pride in their work. As you see in this toy, the 2 edges do not meet at the join, the surfaces are not finished. They have a lot of color and external appeal, but it is poorly made. There is no way this is an original!"

I think he pretty much summarized what every professional knows about the industry.

Let me see my experiences in India so far:

1) Indigo Airlines charged me INR 35,000 for a ticket from Delhi to Mumbai, when the fare was INR 10,000. They had a lot of excuses. They damaged my bags, but claimed they were free from responsibility. I called my US Bank and had the transaction reversed because of fraud by the airlines.

2) Went to a doctor to get a shot for a topical issue, charged me INR Protected content the injection, apart from his "consultation fees". Turns out the injection is sold for INR 30 at the pharmacy. Went to the police, the first station stated it was out of their jurisdiction, so sent me to the another, the 2nd one then sent me to a 3rd, and the 3rd stated that a 4th was actually the one who had jurisdiction, but by this time - we had walked quite a few miles in the sweltering heat, dust, insane Bombay traffic, and we quit. I did not go back to the doctor to get the 2nd or 3rd shots as I needed.

3) Our wash basin broke, yeah, it just decided to fall down... Super construction! Purchasing it took 4 days. There are no online resources to look things up, compare prices. Snapdeal and Amazon India are bad jokes. And every vendor we called assured us they had the items, and when we physically went there, claimed they did not have it / come tomorrow / can't reach the supplier / fresh out of stock! Finally found one we liked, the vendor asked for 40% of the cost to have it delivered.

4) Basin installation : In the US you need a license to even cut hair, let alone do construction. Here, you need a couple of cronies, a bit of cheap Ganja and you are all set! We called the vendor who sold us the basin, he recommended some one who charged USD$20 for the installation. Installed it crooked, the faucet rotates (literally) - badly placed, he did not even have a level. I will have to call another construction guy to have it taken out and reinstalled. Perhaps the basin will have to be replaced too.

5) Split air conditioner : our old AC hadnt been used in years, so we decided to get a new one. Went to a panasonic show room and purchased one, got a panasonic tech to come install it. He pretty much drilled holes in the concrete wall of the LIVING ROOM, used cheap materials, destroyed the appearance with drain pipes / vents every where (that too in the living room!), and made a muck of it.

Here even paying money does not ensure satisfaction. Everyone is just trying to hustle and pull a fast one. People are ALWAYS yelling and talking too much, while they are talking : the only thing you really want is for them to shut up, get the thing done and be on their way. And then you find that they cheated you.

I remember this Indian friend I had, whose father worked for a Merchant ship, he told me his dad always took a lot of 25 paise coins when he went to Japan, because the Yen coins which were used in the Soda vending machines had the same weight as the Indian 25 paise coins, and he was thus able to get stuff by paying less for it. He said "Indians are smart...!"


Yes you made INR Protected content by lying and cheating, but what about referral, future business, pride in doing something right?

As a Senior member of the executive staff for fortune Protected content during my career and presently running my own company, I have learnt it the hard way that out sourcing means you NEED to have penalty clauses when ever doing business with human resource rich nations. It is not enough to pay these people a salary, you have to either (a) bribe them or (b) scare them with penalty or (c) do both : to get them to do what is expected of them. Since we cannot legally bribe, having a penalty clause works wonders!

Honestly the amount of money in question (for anything here) is peanuts... it cost merely $150 to replace the basin, probably another $150 to do it over. But its the time and annoyance that matters.

Look at the roads, everyone is honking, trying to squeeze their rattle-trap vehicles in to illegal positions, they have no consideration for the law, or what is right. Is that smart? If they followed the law, and drove correctly, they would be able to achieve greater speeds and thus save more time. So this is not smart, but it is OVER-SMART.

Has anyone here ever driven above 50 mph? Is it even possible: given the poor quality vehicles, parts, and not to mention the roads, infrastructure, traffic, etc? Forget the Protected content you can (illegally) drive or the normal 90mph which I used to drive at for my daily commute to work in the US.

Human beings are social creatures, they succeed whereas other creatures fail, because they can anticipate the future and work in collaboration. Human society is based on laws of decency and mutual support. Hustling and cheating can only get you so far ahead, before you hit a hard cap and you are unable to proceed.

I am disappointed in everything I have experienced thus far.