Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Give More, Get More

Sometimes, I wonder, are we stingy as a nation?
As a culture?
Do we give readily or do we hold back?
Is "stinginess" actually a positive   for us? The quality that made us survive the worst of invasions, including the most recent economic recession?

Remember the times our dads would wear shoes till they were adorned with  the rough artwork of the neighbourhood cobbler? Of course they could afford another Bata pair- but  it was a philosophy they lived by. Times weren't so easy. Spending on themselves and not the family was not right.

Or the  way mutton lunches were reserved for Sundays and special occasions.
The skirts in our uniforms tailored with thick hems that unfurled in their bright colours every year.
The toys that were recycled between siblings, cousins.
Why toys alone? Even clothes.

Hemming, repairing, stitching up, recycling, reusing were the order of the day.

Same was the case with business.
Whether hospitality, or service- the companies gave what they had to give as a bare minimum to consumers.
Frills and freebies were few and far between.
Portions in restaurants were just about enough.

No wastage was the motto.

Times have changed now.
Recession notwithstanding, we also have plenty.
Incomes are rising, the breadearner is not just the man anymore.
We eat out more often, buy clothes more than just during Pujas and Diwali, and give our children chocolates and toys much more liberally.
We want to save for tomorrow, but live today kingsize as well.
So holidays dot our calenders, weekends are fun times, even though a drain on the wallet.

Are brands reflecting this opulence... or are they still "stingy"?
Do we have great quality products that justify the price we pay?
Do we have food on the table and our shelves that reflect the value they promise?
Do airlines promise all the comfort but get away with the bare minimum they have to offer to save themselves from irate consumers filing complaints?

Are corporate lawyers working towards how much to give or how much to get away with?

At the end of the day, it's all a philosophy we choose.
As individuals, as brands, as a nation.

But it's good to remember the old adage- When we give more, we get more.