Monday, May 10, 2010

The white collar thieves of India (Big Bazaar)

I was in the first standard, when I consciously learnt some values in life. One of these was the concept of not stealing. Stealing is a bad activity and is socially not acceptable to anyone; forget about the fact that it is criminally prosecutable. I didn’t know that the values would change so fast and so drastically as I grow up. Today stealing is a day to day affair, whether it is concerned with material articles or with cognizable ideas. One would imagine and thus accuse the growth of population in India and the subsequent rise of poverty to be the main causes of stealing and thefts. This, however, is only one part of the story that people are seeing. Of course, there has been a growth in population and poverty, but tell me how much can a poor person actually steal from us. Since he is poor and the need for him is only about the basic necessities, he would only target those articles, which probably would not be of much interest to you or me. So this piece of information is not about the conventional thieves that you and I have in our minds, this is about the other lot.

I am generally pointing my finger at the lot, which is privileged, economically dominant and assertive and have all the powers that actually money can buy. I went to the big-bazaar store and found out how actually white-collar theft is actually actualized in the real world. Big-bazaar gives us several plans that actually entice the middle-class consumer. One understands that actually one is going to save a lot as one is going to big-bazaar to shop for his daily needs. So he decides, deliberately makes and exhaustive list, of probably even those articles that he doesn’t need and rushes off to big-bazaar. He takes a big trolley and purchases all that is written in the offer. After making a heap in the trolley he reaches for the billing counter. Needless to say that the billing counter is populated densely with similar minded people of his mindset who are actually trying to achieve the same thing that he is trying to do, saving by spending. He is exhausted in the queue and is eagerly waiting for his turn now that the shopping extravaganza is over.

The best part starts after this. He has around 200 items to bill, so the bill counter just takes items one by one from the trolley and bills them. The bill amount goes on increasing. The catch is that the offer that you see in the advertisement is only updated in the hoardings and places where you are taking the article from. In the billing this is not updated. Big-bazaar, maintains a trial and error policy where if the number of items are more than it is quite possible that the customer will not check the bill in detail, also the bill is in gibberish format so the customer is totally duped when he is buying more. For me I could catch their fraud at least three times. One in the food-bazaar in Infinity mall, then in Himalaya Mall Big bazaar in Ahmadabad and last but not the least in the big-bazaar super sale in Kandivili East in Mumbai. There is one very good way to catch this is buy items in load but then give the items that are in offer to the counter man. Seeing your big trolley he will not adjust the prices to the offer and then you just enquire in the middle of the bill as to how much are you billed. You will catch them red handed.

Excuses that they might come up with are “the thing is not updated in the system.” “There is some technical snag, please bear with us.” All sorts of polite defenses by an educated “White-Collar thief is what you will get. The proprietors of Big-Bazaar have actually opened a factory where people are looted and made scapegoats every day. By the law of averages if in a day you find 200 such scapegoats then the profits go up exponentially.

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