My Autobiography – My favorite Shop!

Some people are just made for their professions, and love their jobs. They can do their job with passion, intensity, love and always have a smile on their faces. Of course, they also have enough patience to endure the tough and the mean.

Selling, is never an easy job. There was a fancy store near my house called, ‘Mari Fancy Store’. It was run by two/ three brothers and I have seen their father, join in as well.

Me and my brother were very young back then. Like all kids, we were impatient, had no idea what we wanted and were always looking for something fun to do. We have gone to so many shops, but kept pressurizing our parents to go back home. We hated those shopping sessions!

But this shop was different.

We used to go here mostly with our grandfather. Generally, we had no idea of what we wanted to buy. Whenever we went in, all the brothers would smile. And we would join.

Then they’ll start, ‘So, what do you kids want today?’. We’ll say, ‘Something’. Then they’ll start tempting us with little toys/ stamps/ sports items and everything else to probe to see what is liked by kids like us! I guess we were their testing ground to see how much interest a product meant for a kid, generates in a kid!

This will go on for half an hour. Since there were always two or three brothers selling, other customers will not be kept in waiting while someone was giving their undivided attention to us.

I have seen rude shop keepers. Some of them have no idea why they became a shop-keeper. They just want to make a quick buck by selling the first item that comes to our glance. I mean, they just don’t have the patience!

Contrast that to these people. They knew that we would spend only 10-25 rupees each time, but still they used to spend half an hour talking to us! I mean, imagine talking patiently to undecided kids for half an hour. Many of us might not do that at home, with our own kids!

Of course, we mostly ended up buying some toy or something else but I don’t remember going to that shop to buy any particular thing (Of course, at times we did). It was more about the experience of talking to the shop keepers and the temptations that were thrown at us, which excited us the most! I don’t recall even a single bad experience or a single incident when we were shooed away. We might have had to wait at times, but we did that happily.

Once, when Coca cola was (re)introduced in India, they advertised in newspaper and whoever took a news paper cutting of that ad to any shop, would be given a free coke! Obviously, everyone did and shops were running out of coke bottles. We went straight to this shop, and they saved two bottles just for us! 🙂 Ah, the benefits of being regular customers 🙂

Later on, a new (larger) shop with much more varieties was introduced right opposite to this shop and the whole area suddenly became a busy market place. So, the cost of maintaining a shop should have gone up, I guess and they moved their business to somewhere else.

I remember going to this shop during my 11th Standard (for the last time), and was glad to see the same enthusiasm (and smile) in their faces. They said they were moving, but didn’t say where. If we knew that, we would have continued to be their regular customers.

They say that a business is built on relationships. I don’t know about others, but this one was definitely so. I wish other shopkeepers made shopping half as pleasurable as they did, once upon a time! Wishing you brothers the best in your trade, where ever you are and what ever you are doing.

Destination Infinity

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16 Replies to “My Autobiography – My favorite Shop!”

  1. Very rarely we come across shopkeepers who do business with a personal touch. As you say, nobody has got patience but just indifference. ‘Buy if you want or else leave’ expression is the common expression. Really these brothers should come up in life.

    We used to visit a small grocery shop when we were very small. My mother used to ask us to go and buy some toor dhal or something. I and my sister always went to this shop because he used to give us peanut chicki every time we visited him!

    I like the way you narrate small small incidents, so well, D.I.

    1. That’s a good marketing technique employed by the shop keeper 🙂 I came to know something better that is practiced in the US – If you return goods in certain stores (due to quality constraints), they take it back and offer you a discount coupon on your next purchase (on any value). An excellent way to retain unhappy customers and get them to buy more…

      Destination Infinity

  2. Business is a difficult to understand. Those who enjoy selling often connect with their customers, and often find reward in customer satisfaction which in return drives them further up the business ladder. Others simple know targets and numbers, although these are important, they often become blinded in connecting with the customer.

  3. These tiny shopkeepers are nice to move with! Especially they’ve seen us grow older from a toddler. I had a small provision near to my house named ‘Nadar kadai’. The owner knows me from 2 or 3 years probably, and he calls me papa since then…even now! Remember how he used to tell me mom that he would supply all the provisions with discount for “papa’s marriage”! I knew so many such sole traders (like isthrikaari, pookkari, pazhakara thatha) and small shopkeepers who are very personal and non-business minded! It does make us realise that there are people who are not just money minded, but look for care, affection and love!

  4. I think I’ve seen this more in smaller shops…in smaller places. Where they have a personal relationship with customers…allowing the occasional freebies and promtions…remembering the customers by name and what they do… that kind of thing.
    It’s also intelligent PR work…but at the cost of sounding genuine, so that people come back to them.

    Don’t u feel it would be difficult to replicate in a big city?

    1. I do agree that it is mostly intelligent PR/ customer satisfaction, in order to gain more business from them.

      When I was in Bangalore, I used to go to one shop again and again, almost for every major purchase – Big Bazaar. They offer(ed) quality at attractive price points (or at least I thought so). So, in Bigger cities, it may not be possible to remember people by name and personally communicate with them but shops still manage to retain customers by offering value (discounts on bulk purchases, freebies, etc) and incentives to returning customers.

      Destination Infinity

  5. 🙂 this post had me in smiles .. my favourite shop was TITOO’s 🙂

    I was a hosteler in school , behind our hostel building there use to be a shed, a small one that was Titoo’s shop. Where we got bread and omellete and other things like sweets and drinks .. come evening about 5 and if you had money , rush to titoo , bread omellete , OH my god how tasty it was ..

    brought some memories .. now i heard Titoo has a big shop just outside the school premises .. the best part was He knew everyones NAME and called you by name .. I always wondered how he managed to remember all the names …

    1. Remembering many names takes some memory alright! I guess if quality (in shops) and hunger (in clients) combine, it can make an excellent food business! 🙂

      Destination Infinity

  6. Have a few memories just like the one’s u mention…..nowadays one cant even browse thru the stuff in peace the staff give u grumpy looks if u ask them to take out stuff and show. But I guess since they are just employees they dont feel the need to do it. Employers must seriously look into providing some training to these staff who have no clue how to behave with customers.
    Here in Dubai most of the shops encourage browsing & sometimes I feel guilty at the amt of time my kids & I spend browsing in book shops.

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