I recently moved back to India after a few years in the US (this is the second and hopefully the last time !) … and needed to build our life ground up in Bangalore.
So we got a phone, a gas connection, furniture, a broad band connection, a TV, cable and so on.
A my mother taught me years ago … we always kept a ward of 10 Rs. notes at home (I think 1 Re. in those days !!) so we handle the “uncomfortable silence” in the end by giving tips to the people who come and do their job.
I have very distinct memories of my US returned uncles complaint about how Indians don’t do anything without being “tipped” with “baksheesh” or “chai pani” … only to be viewed as corruption … unlike in the US where everything is so process driven and just happens.
(Ofcourse, I realised after living in the US that not only is tipping very common but, there is a process for it there with the 15% rule 🙂)
Any ways, I got my phone and broad band set up by this guy who explained to me in not so great english how DSL unlike dial-up works even when the phone is being used. So, I promptly gave him 30 Rs. at the end of everything … becaues Chai-Pani in CoffeeDay costs that much now. He smiled back.
He said “No thank you. I don’t accept tips. Please let me know if you have any problems and I will take care of those for you. If you are happy with our service please refer your friends to our company“.
I then got my satellite TV connection. Set in my old ways, instructed my wife not to pay more than 30 Rs. when they come to set it up. Firstly it was a lady who came to set up the connection. Then she refused, saying it is “against company policy to accept tips from customers“.
I recollect now that the guy at an Indian airline (not Indian Airlines … not yet) which offers free baggage check-in service politely turned my 10 Rs. down.
In all instances I was first ashamed to “uncomfortable silence“, then was astounded and then I felt proud.
This the new India where focus on the customer (and the sales savvy of asking for a referral) is part of the “process” … without tips.
Views expressed are solely personal opinions of the author; and do not represent the views organizations/institutions he is associated in any form. The author has no responsibility for actions taken based on ideas expressed here. (Author: Sridhar Turaga)