The other day, I suddenly had an uncontrollable crave for a pizza. So, I went to the nearest Pizza outlet in my area. Due to the urgency in my tummy, I didn’t even gaze at the menu and ordered the same usual Pizza which I normally have. I gazed at the menu just to make sure the price of the same hadn’t gone up without my consent. And also because restaurants nowadays do not have the provision of making people wash the utensils in case they run short of money to pay the bill. In any case, pizza outlets don’t employ washable utensils. The cost of every damned pizza is priced in figures ending with 9, like 99, 149, 299 or 399. Seems, the Indian business clan love their number 9. After the bill was printed out, the total came out to be 302 point something which got rounded off to 303, unsurprisingly. I paid a total of 305 bucks to which the lady in the counter informed me that she had run out of 1-rupee or 2-rupee coins and hence was packing two sachets of tomato sauce along with my meal as compensation. The previous day, I had shopped for a big bottle of tomato sauce and due to this excess availability, I quickly declined her otherwise complimentary sachets. She made an innocent face, with an equally virtuous smile and told me politely that she has no choice as she had run out of coins. On normal days, I would have submitted to her intimate chastity. But that day, the Anna Hazare within me rose from the ashes. I explained it to her that this was totally unfair and acclaimed outlets like theirs should be prepared for every kind of situations like shelling out coins of whatever denomination it may. I was making my case stronger with arguments which even the RBI governor wouldn’t have known about. But due to the impatiently irritating people behind me who were standing in the queue and who were probably thrice as hungry as me, I had to part away with those 2 bucks without much choice or time. And in return I had to keep those two unworthy blurbs which usually come for free in other pocket-friendly outlets.
Where are all the one-rupee and two-rupee coins? Where on Earth? The Nation wants to know!
Now imagine a situation, where I have one Pizza at least 3 times a month, which equals to 36 times a year. This means, I shell out approximately 72 bucks unwillingly while eating a mere Pizza. Now conceptualize just another thousand people doing the same activity as me. This means, that the said pizza joint earns around 72×1000 bucks every year which goes completely unaccounted for. I admire philanthropy but is this setup fair in any legal book?
The same situation prevails while reimbursing money to ‘delivery boys’ from e-commerce sites, who never ever care to bring along change while consigning our packages. On occasions when I do seek my change, they act as if I had just demanded two kidneys for myself. All hail e-commercial sites for pricing every item with a digit ending with 9. And all hail the delivery boys for being so pathetically rich that carrying notes or coins of small denomination make them look like vagabonds.
Part of the fault lies within us as well. A similar encounter occurred in a big mall. While I was standing in queue to pay the bill, I observed the lady standing in front of me readily agreeing to wave off 4 rupees because the counter ran out of coins. When my turn came, the cashier didn’t even inform me about the one-rupee change which he didn’t return. It was as if it is a mandatory decree for customers to donate an extra one-rupee to these entities. Why should we easily comply with this frugal commercial habit of denying us our change? We shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for even a 1-rupee coin back if you pay a total of 1000 bucks for a bill of 999. We shouldn’t vitiate the value of the 1-rupee coin which is still a legal denomination of our currency.
Next time while shopping in a mall, if the bill is somewhat like 501, try paying 500. Would the counter welcome it with open arms? Is the vice versa of our situation acceptable? I suppose you would be kicked out of the venue!
Do not give up the small denomination currency notes or coins for the narcissistic behavior of these people. Do not accept toffees or chocolates or anything in the name of currency. We are not living in a barter system era, where exchange of items can be treated as a legitimate form of cash. You have every right to enquire about the money, which you rightly and validly deserve. Stand up for your rights.