When the global recession was at its worst, out of all industries, Retail was the worst-hit lot.This was the time to innovate. Retailers had no choice but to come up with various innovative ways, in which they could extract maximum money out of whatever little foot-falls, happening at their stores.
One of them happened to grab my eyeballs only recently. I will not take the punt of naming them, because if I do so, almost certainly I will be slapped with a defamation suite for maligning their reputation/brand-value and all that jazz. One small hint that I can drop about them is - Their name matches that of one of the nick-names for the greatest leg-spinner, India has ever produced, who is also currently serving as captain of one of the most-talked about IPL teams, which has a not-so-famous-yet-commanding-a-celebrity-status badminton-player as its lucky mascot/brand-ambassador.
I happened to visit their store after a long time. I shopped around at a leisurely pace(this is where I am different from most of other creatures from Mars and similar to those from Venus), bought a handful of stuffs and stood quietly in the long queue at the cash-counter. When my turn came, I promptly took my credit card out of my wallet, got it swiped and waited patiently for the lady to finish her packing of goods. As the poor lady was busy packing stuffs, I decided to do a cursory verification of sorts for my bill. This was when I happened to discover one product that I was convinced, I had not bought, with the following description
"CARRY BAG - SAVE 5 No 5.00 Rs"
I enquired about this from the gentleman@cash-counter. He explained that this was the cost of all carry-bags, that were used to pack all the stuffs that were bought. I was shocked, I just couldn't believe what I heard. A retailer charging its customers for carry-bags !! But then for a moment, I gave them the benefit of doubt and decided to understand the rationale behind. This was when, the gentleman showed me one of the carry-bag covers, which had the following printed in the middle
"PROUD TO CONTRIBUTE"
"SAVE OUR PLANET"
"I care! Do You ??"
at the bottom.
So 1 Rs per carry-bag from the customers in the name of saving environment. Nobody would mind "contributing" one Rupee to earth's cause. So this request to sounds reasonable,right ?? Well, not really. I noticed that out of 5 carry-bags, 4 were only half-filled and the last one had just one item in it !! I told the cashier that you could have effectively packed all of these stuffs in 2 or a maximum 3 bags, why did you use 5 ?? Is not that unfair from his part w,r,t his "contributions" in saving our environment ?? Cashier stayed mum. He couldn't give any answer. He could have, only if he had one !! But I got my answer. The poor fella must have been instructed by the management to maximize the number of carry-bags !! I felt disgusted. I didn't say anything to the poor cashier(it was not his fault, so no point blaming him) and left the shop.
As I made my way out of the shop, I started wondering is that really a sincere attempt to save our planet or a somewhat desperate attempt by retailers to save their business in the name of going green !!