India Debunked #8: At Your Service

Service is excellent here.

There is someone different to do different things here, everyone has their bit of a job to do. Bringing drinks, serving food, sweeping floors, opening car doors, receiving parcels, sending parcels, picking up cheques, dropping off cash, altering clothes the list goes on. Everything also gets delivered to the home here – fruit, vegetables, groceries, laundry, wine, shopping etc.

There are many people that need to be employed in this country. This division of labour means that people may be very specialised at what they do and it can be hard to branch out into other types of work. It can also mean that whilst service is good, it can be very slow.

The customer is king and service staff try very hard to meet any whims and fancies you have as it is difficult for them to say no to requests. It means that there is a lot of room for customisation so an ordering or purchase process can be complex and long-winded. But if you ask for something, you will probably get it. Or some semblance of it.

My driver would insist on carrying a small bag of groceries upstairs for me. Waiters would frequently interrupt our meal to ask how the food was. My caddy would insist on setting up my golf ball on the tee box. Shop assistants would follow me around the store, ferrying things from my grasp to the cashier or change room. Staff in the supermarket would ask if I wanted them to carry my basket for me.

When we first arrived, this level of service felt intrusive and overwhelming.  When I shop for groceries, I tend to zip around at breakneck speed. I don’t get enough incidental exercise here for many reasons so I used to like to carry my own shopping whilst zipping around, saying no to the numerous young men who would offer to help.

I’ve now learned that when I do that, I am doing someone out of a tip. A tip that may make the difference whether they have enough to eat or whether they can travel home more safely. So now I only walk into a shop if I have time to spare and acquiesce when they ask to help. And if I don’t have the time or the traffic is too horrific, there is always home delivery.

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