Sunday, December 25, 2011

For want of three rupees! Customer (non)service :(

I walked to the other end of the Egmore Station in Chennai in order to get "platform tickets."  Non-passengers who want to enter the railway station in order to say bye to their folks, are required to purchase platform tickets.

I was the fourth person in line when the guy at the head of the line was turned away because he didn't have the exact change for the ticket.  He stepped to the side and waited.

The board advised those in line to have the exact change of three rupees per ticket.  I knew I did not have the six rupees I needed for two tickets and worried that the woman at the counter would behave like Seinfeld's Soup Nazi and deny me the tickets as well.

It was my turn.  But the female clerk turned her attention to the guy who was waiting, and yelled at him: "If you stand here, you won't get any change.  Go out to the stores and get change, and then come here."

It will be a terrible understatement to write that I was shocked at such a rude behavior.  It was bizarre.

I looked at him.  Compared to me, he was immaculately attired, with a trim haircut and looked about 25 or 30.

"Two tickets, please" I said as I held out a ten-rupee note.

She looked at the currency bill and paused.  I was sure the Soup Nazi would ask me to step aside.

She looked at me.  And then, grabbed the bill, gave me two tickets and the change.

As I stepped aside, I asked the guy who was rejected, "how much change do you need?"

"I have a twenty."

"Ok, how many tickets are you buying" I asked him.

He wanted one ticket.

"Just one ticket?" I asked him.  He nodded a yes.

I gave him a two rupee coin and a one rupee coin.

"Thank you very much" he said.

I started my walk back to the platform.  Halfway through, he passed me at quite a speed walking of his, but paused for a second and said "thanks."

I hoped that what I had witnessed at the counter was not representative of customer service in India.

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