Saturday, March 22, 2008

A sting in the tale

Suddenly the weather grew hotter this week and a small snake decided that a Sony speaker at a neighbour’s house would the best place to cool off. Luckily for him, one of the knobs of the speaker had fallen off, so there was this perfect sized tunnel for him to burrow through which brought him up against the mesh of the speaker. To say that the family was not happy is an understatement. I felt the snake was a goner and we thought of ways and means of letting it go, but the snake remained wedged against the mesh.

I wondered what Sony would do, so decided to call the service centre in Panjim. Technically it would be their job to unscrew the mesh cover of the speaker and remove the foreign body. I called and the lady who answered the phone was reluctant to let me speak to the manager unless she knew what my business was. I told her we had a snake in a Sony speaker and were planning to bring both to their service centre right away. Of course she panicked and called the manager who immediately asked me what I thought he could do about a snake in the speaker. Remove it, I said. No, he practically shrieked, you take it to a snake catcher. But the snake catcher will damage the speaker and good money has been paid for the speaker, I said. Is it poisonous, he asked. I think it is a Russell ’s Viper, I lied, very poisonous. There was silence while he gathered his thoughts, then he told me to bring the snake in the speaker to his service centre along with the snake catcher. His people would unscrew the speaker but the snake catcher would have to handle the snake. I was overcome with admiration for this man. I wish I had asked him his name, but he renewed my faith in good business practices in Corporate Goa.

I asked the little boy to pose with the box and took a picture. This upset the speaker tenant and he decided enough was enough, he moved, we all moved with snake and humans dispersing in opposite directions rapidly. There was no need to traumatize him at the Sony Service Centre.

This week was full of harsh criticism of Goa’s business practices. There were complaints about bad service at India’s only multinational electronics service centre. Not only were they lazy they were rude too.

An honest to goodness multinational also selling electronics took an entire month to replace one small cable in a refrigerator. A franchise outlet in Panjim selling all sorts of baked goods from bread to cakes and more allowed a wedding cake to be delivered to the reception with practically no decoration on it, glibly saying that ‘someone’ had stolen the icing nozzle that they did their cake decorations with and the new baker did not know what to do. No they did not think of buying or borrowing another.

An entrepreneur from Mumbai who has a chain of furniture stores gave up a huge contract in Goa when he found that sourcing materials from Goa was Mission Impossible. “They are just not interested in getting business,” he said. Which makes one take one’s hat off to the Sony Service Centre in Panjim. The customer was king, even if his problem carried a sting.

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