Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Indian Communists and Reliance Retail

This post echos similar thoughts as in one of my earlier posts: Pandian v/s Geetha.

Today's newspapers carry a report about the attack by members of Forward Block, a left wing party, on an outlet of Reliance Fresh (a grocery store chain owned by corporate giant Reliance Industries) in Calcutta. The outlet was still not open and was under construction when the members of the Forward Block vandalised it. When asked about the reason of this attack the members of Forward Block said that they think that Reliance Fresh is a threat to small businessmen.
What I interpret from this attack is that the communists think that it is their duty to protect the small businessmen from the onslaught of a corporate giant which is a symbol of crony capitalism in their eyes. Now I have been to Reliance Fresh stores in Noida and have found that it works on a very good marketing strategy. Sell one or two items which are popular real cheap and sell everything else a shade costlier than the market price. So a customer is attracted by the low prices on say, potatos and onions, and when she goes to buy these she invariably buys the rest of the vegetables from the store as well. Now the other vegetables are not cheap, so the total grocery bill is nearly the same as it was earlier when I bought these stuff from the small neighbourhood store. The only difference is that now I get everything from a single store and that is a huge convinience. So now, for me, it is a choice between convinience of buying everything from a single store or going around the whole market to buy the rations.

The question now arises, if I can see this, why can't the communists see it, that what stores like Reliance fresh offer is convineance and not low prices. What is wrong with letting the common man have some convineance? And since when the communists started favoring the small businessmen. They are after all businessmen who are doing business for profit and not for charity and would not deter from making an extra profit if they have a chance.

I think the communists are just opposing the corporates because it is in their nature to don't let anyone grow. They want everyone to be remain small and fight to live, not to live to fight. As I had highlighted in Pandian v/s Geetha, the communists need to look at the big picture not the small ones.

Saturday, August 18, 2007 - Ellison's New Yacht

Recently read Ellison's New Yacht on The Wealth Report - about Larry Ellison building a new smaller yatch. A very amusing quote from this article: it looks one of America’s flashiest billionaires may actually be downsizing.
Another interesting thought: Larry sold a share in his existing yatch to billionare David Geffen, which makes me think that billionares like Larry don't miss out on an opportunity to make money. Even when he didn't like his yacht he made the most of it by selling it partially, till the time he gets himself a new one.
Would love to hear your comments on this.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It doesn't pay to be smart

Recently read this study from USA TODAY - It doesn't pay to be smart - about how people with IQ in most cases are not as rich as there IQ and have nearly the same rate of bankruptcy as people with IQ of 80. It doesn't take me much to get convinced with the outcome of the study because this is what I have been seeing all along my life in India.
People with highest IQ in any class end up being scientists and with most of the research being controlled by the government they end up working for the government which is the worst paymaster in India. The students who are a shade below end up being doctors and engineers who are decently rich to get along with life. The next lower rung of students is an anomaly in my theory and they end up in arts and commerce and a few of them make it big with the finance or such sectors. But when they make it big it is BIG. The last rung of students become the politicians or rogues and everybody knows who is the richest of all in India.
So for me the lower the IQ in India the better it is, if you want to get rich that is. :)

Postscript: Happy Independence Day to all the Indians.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Technical: CPU Affinity | Linux Journal

Interesting article on how to bind a process to a particular processor on a linux machine: CPU Affinity Linux Journal
Gives out a small C program which helps one bind a process to a processor.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Movie Review: Chak De India

After a long time I saw a movie which kept me engaged for the full length of the movie. When the intermission came it seemed that the movie had just started and when it did end it seemed like it had started half hour ago.
Chak de India is a movie about loving your game and playing for your team and not for yourself. It makes you forget the differences and tells you that we are all Indians and after a long time a movie that says "Winning is the only thing". To me it is a generational shift, the movies in yesteryear used to preach "participation is the only thing, winning is not". Not since Lagaan, another movie that said, winning is the only thing, have I seen people clapping in a movie hall. Seeing such movies being made, makes me believe that India is now poised to find its rightful place in the world and that now more and more Indians believe that they CAN.

Though the movie has its a plethora of characters who still believe that India and Indians cannot make it, but there are few like Kabir Khan and his unnamed friend, who helps him get the job, who believe that they can and so can others and therefore India.

Shahrukh Khan delivers one his most restrained performances and shows why he is a star. The girls are well casted and there are no over dramatic scenes. There are dialogues - catchy, motivational and philosophical - which you will probably remember for days to come.
"aaj mein pehli baar kisi gore ko India ka Tiranga lehrate dekh raha hu".
"haar ka bhoj jhelne ke liye tumhare kandhe abhi bane nahi hain"
"yeh sattar minute agar har player apne jeevan ki best hockey khele to koi is team ko nahi hara sakta"

Chak de.. might be just what the doctor ordered for Indian hockey which despite being the national sport of India is now no longer a priority sport.

My rating on the movie (5/5). Watch it if you want to get motivated, feel patriotic, feel enthusiastic and above feel like you can do.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Customer satisfaction 103

In Delhi NCR, PRJ Auto Services provides a 24x7 service for emergencies on road. For this service they charge an annual fee of Rs. 400/-. Recently my subscription had come up for renewal and as is the practice of most agencies they called up and reminded me that my subscription is about to end and that if I wished to get the subscription they would send an executive to collect the money from me. So I said fine send someone to collect the money. When that person came he collected the cheque from me and gave me a new subscription number and when I asked for a receipt he said that the card itself is a receipt and there is no need for a separate receipt. Since I was more interested in getting the renewal done I ignored this.

Some days later, I found that instead of Rs. 400/- a sum of Rs. 3000/- has been deducted from my bank on account of the subscription renewal. I called up bank to get the mistake rectified, they said they have received a cheque for Rs. 3000/- so have deducted that much and asked me to check with the concerned party. When I called up PRJ's helpline, they confirmed that they had in fact received a cheque for Rs. 3000/-. However they said if this is a mistake they would gladly refund me the money. Then they enquired at their end and found that this was indeed a case of mistaken payment and then to my utter relief sent me a cheque of Rs. 2600/- to refund the excess amount paid by me.

This is what I call customer service, I was not required to follow up with them about the payment. I called them twice to enquire about the status and at both the times they were quite friendly and concerned about the issue. And then after a week or so they called me up to inform that they are sending a cheque to me for refund.

If more companies follow practices like these and show concern for the customer, then customer dissatisfaction will become a word found only in dictionaries.