Monday, November 28, 2005

The Bill Collector

I somehow fell into this strange habit of collecting bills; when I buy some stuff, I get the bills and file them – just as souvenirs, nothing else. So, when the photo studio guy said he was not issuing any bills for the Rs 215 that I had spent in his shop, I had to choose a different option.

In fact, I tried to cajole him into issuing a bill. In turn, he gave me a couple of choices – “You either go without a bill or you pay the ‘tax’ of 12% of the amount (Rs 25.80) in excess of the ‘billed’ amount and get the bill for Rs 215”. Since I couldn’t really see why I should pay Rs 240.80 to get a bill for Rs 215 and because we couldn’t reach an agreement in the course of our discussion, I decided, as a customer, to leave my vendor satisfied and chose Option Number 1 that he proffered: To go without bill. However, I was kind enough to tell him that it might not be a well accepted gesture to point fingers to his customers whom he spoke with. He said something in return which I thought would be wise to ignore – I was in no mood to try my hand at martial arts on a Sunday morning!

However, I did choose Option number 3, without informing him - I was, after all, addicted to collecting souvenirs! As I left the studio, I clicked my camera and saved the memories associated with the studio to my system. For interested readers who are always in search of context, all this happened at “Maria Colours Lab, 4-C, Balaji Mansion, Opp. Junction Bus Stand, Madurai Road, Tirunelveli Junction, Tamil Nadu, India. Tel: +91 462 2323230" (a nice number that!). The Photo of the studio can be found here.

Now, let me clarify: The whole post is just a recount of an incident that turned me from a “Bill Collector” to a “Photo Collector”. I do not expect any public servant or social enthusiast among readers to get carried away and report it to the concerned department or any of the Tax Authorities to conduct stealth or surprise inspections at the shop to check if they really behave this way – after all, I expect readers to believe what I say here and cross checking may not necessarily be necessary. This is merely a blog and will remain one for the foreseeable future. However, I must confess, I definitely intend to visit the shop again, some day.

PS. Readers who are in a similar habit of ‘snapping’ up ‘customer-centred’ shops that are not too keen on billing the customer are welcome to drop a note to me, here. I like collecting well taken pictures, you see!