Buying a table

Laptop table
My laptop table…

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. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Buying a table

  1. One reason, why they sell same items approximately at the same price is what is termed as relationship, particularly in old city area of Ahmedabad. I had the same question until people who deals in construction, and in electrical work, explained to me that in Ahmedabad people have generational relationship. So usually people will buy from same sellers, who in turn. will offer them the best price without much negotiations and if product is bad, seller will take back and thus provides best shopping experience.I personally had similar experience when I purchased similar plastic sheets a few times from same vendor in Old city area of Ahmedabad.

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    1. Thanks Harendra mama. Yes, relationship building over a long period might only be helping these shops to carry on. Otherwise, with this cut-throat competition and fickle-minded customers, it would be a huge challenge just breaking even.

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