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Mumbai Diary page: Wednesday Whispers

Online goes over the line?
MONDAY saw a frenzy in the world of online shopping, with people going crazy for bargains and discounts. But by the end of the day, pop culture sites were teeming with memes and disgruntled shoppers were crying foul, as the discounts failed to materalise and the e-shops crashed due to buyer overload.

We are sure marketing mavens will hold forth on the lessons to be learned from this, and it is certainly fodder for many jokes (stand-up comedians are taking notes). But there is also a serious side to the whole brouhaha, and that is the miffed consumers. The Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI) has received at least one complaint, we hear, from a customer who did not get the item he had placed an order for. Besides, the CGSI is gearing up to tackle more such complaints as indications are that the much-touted discounts of up to 90 per cent are unsustainable and in many cases were not honoured.

The big sale may well turn out to be the big fail.

Mixed messages
ANYONE observing Indian television commercials would think we are a schizophrenic lot. At least during the current airing of some TVCs, that is. There is one campaign for a brand of home appliances which we salute. Hats off, as it declares “women are not appliances”, and shows women refusing to be taken for granted and expected to do household chores as a matter of routine.

Mixed messages

Then, there is a campaign for a brand of bags which extols the virtues of being fickle. One of the ads in the campaign shows a girl walking arm-in-arm with her boyfriend — then a (presumably more attractive) youth walks past in the opposite direction. Without missing a beat our young lady swings around and links arms with him, leaving the first guy by himself. We have to say that this is neither fun nor fine. Already there are countless cases of heartbroken young people committing suicide or trying to “off” the objects of their affection. Surely two-timing does not need further endorsement!

Which Pak cricketer does not have a date of birth?

Umar Gul
Umar Gul

Bagful of honesty
WE OFTEN hear about people losing belongings in taxis and autorickshaws — and often, they never see their stuff again. There is a lively market for gadgets and phones, and of course one can always palm off other stuff to willing buyers. Which is why it was heartening to hear about Kanika Sikka’s experience the other day. A visitor to Mumbai from Bangalore, Sikka had gone shopping and then met a couple of friends. Together, the three took an autorickshaw to Bandra reclamation — and when getting out, Sikka forgot her bag of purchases in the auto.

Having bought a skirt and two perfumes from a high-end retailer, she did not expect to see her stuff again, but nevertheless went back to check the autos in the area, after she realised she had left the bag behind, but to no avail. She also sent out a tweet which was spread by helpful friends. Eventually, however, it was the rickshaw driver himself who contacted her, much to her surprise. Sikka had used a loyalty card with her purchases, as a result of which her phone number had been printed on the receipt — which she had placed in the shopping bag itself. The autowalla, Dinesh Kumar Maurya, had looked in the bag, found the receipt, and called up Sikka. A grateful Sikka offered him a reward but Maurya, who is originally from Lucknow, refused. "I am just glad that you got your things back,” he said.

That’s the Mumbaikar spirit which we know and love!

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