Tag Archives: Cost

Serve-ice!

12 Sep

Been forced to do some infrastructure (plumbing + associated civil) work in a residential property, due to the the quality (or the lack of) materials used by the builder a long time ago. One by one, the same activity is being taken up in each of the 400+ apartments in the residential community. Such activities are painful in two ways – cost & time. While the inevitable expense is obviously unplanned, the time taken – at least a week or two – throws day-to-day living, especially for those who live in these apartments, into a tizzy (in 2 bedroom houses, 1 of them would be rendered useless, for example).

While the core activity of breaking the walls, removing the old GI pipes (which are corroded & blocked with calcium deposited from salty ground water), replacing them with PVC pipes, plastering the broken walls & fixing tiles, and replacing any other devices / appliances that are broken or about to break / fail (like taps, commodes, etc), is being done by the maintenance crew in the community itself, we consciously chose to use our own service providers for a few associated fixes. The difference between the two is significant.

The former – service provider within the residential community – offers the service as a package (not based on tasks or time but as a fixed price deal – Rs.xxxxx per bathroom & so on). Property owners don’t have much of a choice, including the replacement tiles fixed by them, which could be quite jarring – especially if you’ve spent a substantial time, effort & amount in hand-picking tiles / designs when the property was constructed. This is no different from a multitude of service providers, whose focus is to sell what they have – products, services, etc – that may meet the imminent needs but not necessarily offer what the customer really wants. These are akin to use-and-throw items that we typically use at the time of an imminent need but may not recall or recommend when a similar or different need arises in future.

The latter are the people with specific skills (carpentry, painting, civil or electrical work, et al) who offer their skills for any kind of need and just charge for the quantum of specialised service offered. These are artisans (not run-of-the-mill fixers) who you seek out time and again and usually offer their service for a generation or two in several families. These are people we trust, consult, discuss ideas with, accept recommendations & let them go about their work knowing fully well they know better about what needs to be done and how. These are the specialists one doesn’t hesitate to recommend to others as well.

One must bargain hard with the former as they’re happy to fleece you, because you’re just one of their many customers. And keep an eye on the progress (& damages, which are collateral). These are providers who serve-ice customers.

Once must pay a bit more than demanded for the latter as they’re keen to satisfy you, because you’re just their only customer, when they work for you. You also save time as there’s no need to oversee what they do. These are solution providers who truly serve customers!

¬@PrakashSwamy

Gift, Unwrapped!

18 Mar

Gifting7Swam(il)y* has recently been invited to a few events by near & dear. The list of events varied from occasional housewarming to oft-celebrated birthdays & anniversaries to enchanting spiritual ceremonies. Like any invitee, Swamily too ended up picking gifts for each event and got them wrapped in glossy paper with curious designs. Invariably at each event, there was a lot of curiosity about the gifts – not just ours, of course. Curiosity led to inevitable action, i.e., tearing up the gift wrapper to get a glimpse of the gift itself!

GiftWrap25The torn away, crumpled wrappers, lying discarded, quietly in a corner of the room, where the event happened in all its glory not so long ago and the gifts they securely (& secretly!) held till the event got over, which were now piled up to be displayed in strategic locations within the home, got Swamy thinking about us humans and our fanciful ways with gifts & wrappers…

How many of us have wondered if there is any connection between the value of the gift and the design or quality of the wrapper?

GiftWrap18The number of people who spend time in choosing the wrapper is almost negligible as very few spend quality time in choosing the gift itself, which is typically determined by past (typically unsavory) memories about the recipient, what [s]he has gifted during one of those innumerable vague events that the giver hosted long ago and the budget approved by the home minister (whoever it is, depending on whether the ‘alpha’ is ‘ida’ or ‘pingala’)!

Is the gift bought to show off giver’s stature / taste or receiver’s need / taste?

GiftWrap14Many a time, it’s the price or budget that decides what the gift would be. Inevitably, the recipient’s (potentially tumultuous) past too has a bearing on the decision. As far as stature goes, if, for whatever unexplained reason, we chose an expensive (strictly in our view, obviously) gift, then we may for a moment consider a very glossy looking golden or silver wrapper to showcase how ostentatious the gift within is, to all other gift givers attending that event. Taste is probably the last thing in either the giver or receiver’s mind, though it has the potential to change the whole gifting equation and make it a lasting memory, to be cherished and possibly reciprocated, for a long time!

How many of us extend as much care in unwrapping as in seeing the gift within?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMost of us tear it up in a hurry, not even pausing for a moment to look at the design, color and quality of the wrapper. Very few recipients of gifts are careful (& artful) in making the act of unwrapping look as elegant as wrapping, which in all probability was done by a pro, who does it for a living, mostly positioned in a not-so-glamorous corner of the shop, not far away from the crowded billing counter.

How many of us have marveled at the care & craft of the person who wraps the gifts?

GiftWrap20In all probability, the only thing we might remember about the whole wrapping event is, pushing the poor wrapperer (or is it wrapperist, considering [s]he is truly an artist, even though we pretend to have absolutely no time to spare to appreciate their artistry) to get it done quickly as we’re perennially in a hurry for anything and everything in Life. If at all we’ve responded to them in any way, that would be for rejecting the expensive wrapper and choosing a free or cheaper one instead. Umm.. why bother to care for someone who neither gifts nor receives it from us, eh!

How many of us preserve the wrapper for reuse?

GiftWrap2Hardly a handful. Irrespective of whether you head some kind of a Green council at your workplace or residential area, it’s as rare as an UFO actually landing in your backyard (& quite possibly, to your utter bafflement, the aliens visiting are not tiny green thingies with large browless pitch black eyes popping out of their bald head, as portrayed in countless movies) that you would’ve thought about gift wrapper reuse. Fact remains, they’re connected with not only environment, but are an artwork by themselves, though hardly appreciated by the giver or receiver of gifts!

How long is the gift (& the wrapper) cherished & remembered?

GiftWrap21Gift – probably remembered until it starts gathering dust in a shelf, alongside many other such gifts, thereby eventually – and inevitably – becoming one among the many gifts received over a period of time. There’s a possibility that they’ll be remembered just in time for next gifting occasion to the gift giver, as the act has to be reciprocated, when the receiver and giver swap roles, willingly or not.

Wrapper – most probably remembered (or not at all) for just a few hours, until they are torn upon and trashed. If you belong to the odd / crazy tribe of nerds who gather gift wraps for preserving or reusing, then their longevity could be as long as the next gifting occasion, or even your lifetime!

How many gifts inspire (or not) reciprocation?

Christmas box giftsMost certainly all do, because the size and price are eternally etched in the memory of the receiver, exclusively for the purpose of reciprocation (or retribution). But there’ll only be a handful – in the entire known humanity – who enjoy the occasion and opportunity to gift someone something, thereby ending up spending quality time and effort (& money), each and every time, to carefully handpick a gift (& invariably the wrapper)!

What’s important – wrapper, gift or neither?

GiftWrap9Most gifts are given to ensure social expectations aren’t violated, thereby negating any opportunity to consider them as important. Most gift givers (& receivers) hardly bother about the wrapper, thereby making it a no contest between the mighty gift and poor wrapper. Very few gifts are actually hand picked and packed with utmost care, reflecting the love and affection the giver has towards the receiver, making both the gift and wrapper noteworthy.

If you ask Swamy, he’ll most probably frown and say it’s neither, but the commerce, stupid! For, which came first – gifting or selling (gifts) – is possibly as hair-splitting as the chicken or egg question? Ahem, anyway, in the light of all the deep insights Swamy has shared about the art of gifting and the craft of gifts (& wrappers, of course), now consider this for a moment (or more, if you wish)…

What if you’re the gift? And the all the nonsense surrounding you as a mere facade is the wrapper?

Gifting8In a Life governed, and possibly even directed, by a thoughtless (not mindless, mind you) society, the wrapper has naturally gained prominence over time, compared to the gift. Everyone either marvels or repels at the mere sight of the wrapper. So wrappers change over time into shiny ones with minimalist patterns or colorful ones with creative patterns, to satiate the endless thirst of a society, hell bent on hanging high all those who dare to think about the gift within, which happens to be less than a handful. Old wrappers get discarded at the whim of some skeptic ones and new ones are picked up with utmost care, worried about someone septic. Still, most action, all along the long, often pointless, Life happens, and ends, at just the wrapper level. The gift goes unnoticed during the lifetime. Or many a lifetime. Few gifts are remembered and cherished, after their lifetime.

GiftWrap3How sad, and typically human, considering the Creator – boundlessly benevolent and endlessly creative – endowed each gift, i.e., creation, without discrimination, with the ability to realize the value of the gift. Just looking at what the Creator has done with each and every single one of his (or her, just in case if you, dear reader, happen to be a feminist in disguise, waiting patiently for an eternity to bait any unsuspecting writer making even an oblique reference to the Creator as masculine) creation would take our breath away. But where is the time for us fools to marvel at the magnificence of creation all around, above and beneath us, as we continue to be lost in umpteen pointless pursuits in the name of success, not just losing sight of things worth observing around, but also about ourselves. The compulsively stupid species that we are, with a ridiculously overrated sixth sense, in our society-abiding, self-preserving wayward ways, have got so stuck to the wrappers – however marvelous they are – that we have almost completely forgotten to comprehend, nurture and cherish the gift called Life, the way it is, which remains, for most beings, for many lifetimes, as just a Gift, never Unwrapped!

 * Swamy + family = Swamily

Note: Thanks to Swamy’s colleague (& ment[o]ee) Chan (far from Chinese & very Indian) who triggered this blog post, through a simple mail thread about a quote on the humble wrapper ;).

.

Love + Gratitude > @PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

Swamy Blogs | Swamystery | Been there, Seen that | Swamyverse | SwamyView

Swamy QuotesSwamyRay

Swamy(po)emsSwamyem

Connect with Swamy | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Tumblr

உயிர்மெய்

ஸ்வாமியின் தமிழ் பதிவுகள்

G.Sairamesh's Blog

Business of helping people Prosper & Grow

Coach4excellence's Blog

Committed to the business of helping people to effectiveness & growth!

Joshi Daniel Photography

Images of People Photoblog

E-Learning Provocateur

A blog by Ryan Tracey

Donald H Taylor

This is an archive blog. Please visit donaldhtaylor.co.uk

Leadership Freak

Empowering Leaders 300 Words at a Time

Been there, Seen that

Unraveling Life’s mysteries, one blog post at a time!