The Cup Runneth Over

I consciously paid for a coffee at Barista after a while today. What I mean is I actually looked at the bill, and saw the prices.

“51? Isn’t the regular Cappuccino 34/- ?” I asked [ I’d asked for “1 cappuccino please”]
// a cup of coffee for a dollar and a half, in Bangalore!!? Ridiculous by most yardsticks
“No sir – its 51 – where does it say 34/- ?” said the man.
“Isn’t that 34/- there on the menu there….” I pointed to the wall, which, to my embarrassment, was 34/- only for the Espresso.

Ah – there was no “Regular” Cappuccino any longer. 51, plus taxes – nearly 58/- for a cup of coffee and a few minutes of chair occupancy! I was both embarrassed, and shocked, with the latter feeling winning the mindspace battle and slowly turning into a slight feeling of having been had. I expressed the same to my colleague, and said CCD seemed to be relatively more reasonable (though neither could get close to the VFM a regular darshini offered). He remarked that I seemed to be biased against “large corporations” and chains.

Hmmm, was I ? Before I was anywhere being closed to being a grown-up – I remember as Bata being a “large chain” we could trust anywhere. Good shoes, good prices, even an exchange policy! Shubha and I have leaned towards Titan, and Tanishq, for their respective wares. I do like my Dominos/Pizza Hut pizzas more than the ones that Pizza Corner delivers – so I don’t think I’m that much against big brands (though I do love to see a local store take on the biggies, and succeed). I even appreciate what Namdharis sells despite them never offering even a slight discount, ever.

Yet, there was an element of truth in what he said. I guess it was the feeling of having-been-had, or trying-to-charge-infinity-more-cause-i’m-a-big-brand alone! Titan makes great watches, yet tries to “compete” and provide “value”. I know its intangible, but thats what it is! HP seemed like a rip-off when they asked me to change the entire LCD screen cause a teeny diode in the screen’s power supply – a distinct component – was all that was not ok. BPL, otoh, has impressed in the past with great after sales and their attitude of fixing-the-small-issues-with-small-fixes approach. Even a surge at my parents’ place merely meant a 40/- buck fuse replacement, not some major “oh but we have to change the whole component” crap.

If you run a consumer product company, or a chain, or whatever – remember – I – and many consumers – hate the feeling of having been had, whether its a legally tenable position or not.

It didnt help that the Barista dude was not too polite, either, even though I was wrong. [ Pizza Hut once gave me a free Pepsi refill that I dropped! ]


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