5 Jun 2011

"I Don't Want It."

This is probably the most powerful sentence in today’s environment; exactly opposite to what people believe gives them power i.e. “I want it!” How often do we use these words today? And do we know what results it yields?

Google exposes us to new things almost every day. The world has become a much smaller place. New Apple/Android phones can be purchased even before they are officially launched in a country. Our desires have increased, and so have our wants i.e. our desire to own something backed by the ability to purchase it. But this increase in disposable income for us has also been beneficial to manufacturers and service providers. Not just because their sales have increased, but also because the surplus demand has gradually allowed power to shift to their hands. Impatience has become an innate tendency amongst buyers and sellers are cashing in on this.

Scarcity of a particular item has led to, amongst others, rise in prices, increase in waiting periods and outrageous demands by the providers of products and services. Sometimes these demands include extra charges we consumers must pay for issues which they (sellers) create. I have come across 2 such examples in the past 2 months. The 1st one was when I was buying a new cell phone. The shopkeeper increased the price saying it included various taxes. When my friend said we were getting a better deal elsewhere and got ready to leave, all their taxes vanished and we got the handset cheaper than what was quoted at the other store. The 2nd one was when I was buying a new car. The dealer told me about 3 – 4 ridiculous clauses and said I had to adhere to them as it was part of standard procedure (Details of those may prove very boring). Since I was not desperate for the car, I told them I didn’t want the car. They kept saying I would have to follow the procedure and that it was for my own good, and I told them I would approach another dealer who could see things the way I do. Once again, all clauses were done away with and my terms and conditions were accepted.

We pride ourselves on being the impatient generation. TVs, cars, durables, laptops, consoles, mobile phones, etc; we want them at the push of a button. Sometimes, maybe out of desperation, we pay a premium and also may end up being harrowed by sellers for more money under the pretext of ‘setting’. All this extra money is pocketed by sellers while we are made to believe they united heaven and earth to get our work done. Similar is the case of telecom service providers (TSPs) also. They do not care how much we complain about poor service or billing issues (as long as we are adding to their ARPUs). If one threatens to leave the service, they don’t mind; they believe they’ll find many more. But the same applies to us too. True, it is an oligopolistic market (few sellers, many buyers) for TSPs, but we have the option of other providers too. MNP just makes it that much more convenient for us.

India has evolved, or rather revolutionized, since the early 90s when we had to wait years for everything. Barely any company has a monopoly in the market now; the market is far more competitive and there are people implementing good business models to meet our needs. So we do not need to depend on someone for selling us what we can buy from anywhere. If our desires have increased, so have the options to fulfil them. Let’s use the best information source – Google, to find alternate people/places/techniques that will fulfil our needs without us having to cater to their whims and fancies. If we can induce some patience in ourselves and remove the cap on the time limit to fulfil our needs and wants, we will end up realizing we got what we wanted and it was a bargain. We save money, are more knowledgeable and feel good about it. Besides, it will once again dawn upon sellers that the customer is king. We just need to know how and where to prudently use the words “I don’t want it!”


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