Lessons From Shopping

Posted: September 27, 2012

Shipra Pande tells us about the interesting life lessons she learnt from her shopping experiences in this Shopping Story.

Shipra, in her own words: Loving life in its various hues, I have chosen to work from home. I am a translator, working in the area of special needs. Life gives me ample time to read, write, paint and enjoy its simple pleasures. 

Shopping: chore, ritual or hobby? For me, well, a little bit of the first two for sure. This realization dawned on me when I was shopping last year for my son’s wedding from September till the wedding in December. Indian weddings are a shopper’s delight! But for me it was more of a chore and a ritual but I must confess it was an experience of a life time that made me look a little beyond the chore and ritual part of it.




For those three months it was Chandni chowk and its gullies one day and the malls and its ‘airs’ and ‘brands’ the other – oh! It was out of this world. Matching the outfits with the accessories, to the jewellery to the footwear is a task that women love and men abhor. This is a general observation I guess, but during this quarter I noticed that in about 90% of the shops there were salesmen and not women doing all of this for us with a smile and patience to match. They were, at times, ready to model the saree, lehenga and even the accessories much to my amusement and were prompt with their suggestions and advice based on their experience in the field.

One thing that stood out in these daily shopping sprees for three months was a revelation for me – the difference in the ‘heart’ of the sellers. While on the one hand, the shopkeepers at Chandni chowk (and many other similar markets) were warm, the ones at the high end stores were impersonal. Both were doing business….the ultimate aim of which was their sales and profits; but the former managed to ‘touch’ me at the end of the day with their offer of a cool glass of water, hot cup of tea or coffee or a compliment for me, my daughter or my daughter-in-law!

On one instance, a shopkeeper even called me while attending a funeral in the family regarding a delivery to be made on that particular day – I was stunned and amazed at the level of commitment…. do modern day business schools teach this or any big brands believe in it? I seriously doubt it. They succeeded in making that connection which, perhaps, will remain with me forever. It made me realize that no matter what we do, if we have put heart into it and do it with sincerity, it is bound to succeed. The mathematics of profit and loss ends with the transaction; but there is something else that stays.

*Photo credit: Siobhan (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)

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