In Hyderabad, for that matter, in many cities, I have found a slightly puzzling thing.
There will be entire streets with shops selling the exact same things.
In Abids, there is a road with shops selling just medical equipment. A street in Koti with only books. A road in Hitech city selling furniture.
How do they survive? Why would customers go from one shop to another when they sell the same thing?
I assume these shopkeepers enter into some kind of a deal with each other – sell the items at similar prices, and make money on the variants. You get an engineering book in this shop and a medical book in another. Or a chair of one color here and another there. The market is so huge that customers will any ways visit the shops to check out the varieties.
But I think there is one more factor which differentiates them.
In Ahmedabad, near my childhood home, there was a shopkeeper who would give me a big smile when I walked in, and would enquire about everyone in my family, when all I wanted was a loaf of bread and milk. I ended up going there repeatedly. 🙂
I have always prided myself to be rational buyer. But then, there is always the soft spot for human care and respect.
Recently, I was looking for a small study table, also known as a laptop table these days. After doing a bit of research on various online furniture sites, I decided to try the brick-and-mortar stores.
So, last Sunday, I set out to do some leg work in the bright sun. I visited 5-7 showrooms.
I was dressed in a sports T-shirt, a 5-year old cap and a small backpack. I hardly looked like the other customers stepping out of their huge cars – obese, perma-irritated looks on their faces, busy-busy.
In one of the showrooms, a salesman showed me around as if I was his prime customer. Another came, gave me a smile and asked me to come back again. An onlooker would have thought – I was departing the store with purchases worth lakhs!
My heart touched, it didn’t take me long to decide.
After checking out the other options, I returned to that showroom and bought the table. 🙂