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Pick a card, any card………..

April 28, 2010

There are so many “different ways of doing business” that you must navigate when you move somewhere new. One of the things that I did not realize I would miss about the United States was the ease of getting phone numbers or addresses or just information in general.

There is no directory assistance here. (Well there might be – but it is a well kept secret.) If you want a phone number, you have to know someone who knows the phone number. It is really crazy. I am yet to see a telephone book (except for the school’s directory – God love them). But what we all do have is a flippin’ stack of business cards. Literally hundreds of them. Everywhere you go, you get a business card. And you are hesitant to get rid of them – because you just might want to call that vendor one day. And when you do want to call a vendor, good luck figuring out which card is who.

And the internet is not always that helpful. Many of us have shared our frustrations of trying to find a business or address on the internet – you can literally get lost for hours in the land of nothingness.

Heck, most stores still calculate the bill by handwriting it and then doing the math manually – then rechecking the math with a calculator. So the fact that they don’t have a web presence really is not surprising.

Just the other day, I asked our cook to order some groceries to be delivered (yes, that is back when I had a cook). I knew that he was rewriting receipts so I did not want him to go himself. But the market delivers and then I pay the bill. Fabulous.

Now, just so you fully understand – this is the same market that we have been shopping at ever since Francis started working for us – 7 months ago. And they have delivered groceries many, many times to our house.

So a whole day goes by and no groceries come.

The next morning, we have this conversation…

Francis: Ma’am, I could not order groceries.
Me: Okay, why?
Francis:  I don’t have the number.
Me: Of the shop we have been ordering groceries from for months?
Francis: Yes Ma’am. But I have the number of his brother’s shop.
Me: Can you call his brother and get the number?
Francis: I tried. No one is answering.
Me: So, you really don’t know the number? That you have been calling for 7 months?
Francis: No Ma’am.
Me:
Really?
Francis: Yes, Ma’am
Me: I’ll get it for you.

So, I went into the pantry where we have about 15 canvas bags (all of which Francis put away) from this market shop. Each bag has the address, phone number, and name of the store printed in l.a.r.g.e. type right on the bag.

Francis: Oh, thank you ma’am. (awkward laughing)
Me: Make sure you get their card.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. ankit permalink
    May 3, 2010 10:19 pm

    I was born and brought up in Delhi and am a great fan of your blog and find your style of writing to be most humorous. keep on writing and , if you can put more details regarding how your dealings with local customs and people are going. I am sure I am stating the obvious here,but there must be some local Indian people at your husband’s workplace,why don’t you ask them about some of the things that you struggle with,inane as they are it doesn’t hurt to ask a local person how they go about them. just ask them stuff like what is the usual price of potatoes,tomatoes,onions etc.. what should be the fare from point a to point b. what is the amount usually charged by tradesmen etc.. chandni chowk and sadar bazaar in old Delhi are the best market in Delhi by far,it has a great range of products at the best prices other like sarojini nagar and INA are way too expensive. let me know if you require any assisstance with anything.

    • May 4, 2010 1:00 am

      Hi Ankit and welcome. Thanks for leaving such a nice comment. I often wonder about my Indian readers – I sometimes worry that my sarcasm might be insulting, even though it is absolutely not meant to be insulting at all. I do have several friends who are Indians here and they are extremely helpful and hubby absolutely gets advice from the guys he works with. But I think even the locals muddle through of some of the matrix that is India. And I love me some Chandni Chowk – I do find the prices to be more consistent there and the environment is almost intoxicating – the people are fascinating. Thanks again for commenting!

  2. CanIRemainUnknownPl permalink
    April 29, 2010 1:55 pm

    1. Call 197 for directory assistance.
    http://mumbai.mtnl.net.in/directory/publicutility9a.html

    2. Try not to hire thieves 🙂 and if you do fire them the moment you know they are pilfering.
    You can live with an inefficient, slow Domestic help but you cant do with the ones who dont have sincerity or honesty and work ethics.

    3. Try not to hire and fire so many domestic help they know too much about you and the household, you dont want every third person on the road to know where you keep your valuables, what time u/family foes out etc etc.

    4. Next time you are doing grocery try to compete with the guy at the register while he is adding all those numbers in his head and you will realize why half the silicone valley is filled with curry eating beings.

    5. Most Grocery shops will be happy to establish an ‘account’ for you i.e your staff doesn’t have to carry cash around and all you do is pay by credit card on the phone or pay in advance/later. Kinda like a tab in the bar!

  3. April 28, 2010 2:31 pm

    LOL that’s too funny.

  4. Mukunthan permalink
    April 28, 2010 2:18 am

    Hey! I am not gonna call you as living in the stone age; I too agree, India has some primitive forms of lifestyle co-existent to its modernities. Still, you have a website of MTNL or BSNL (I hope, MTNL is the tele-operator in Delhi) which offers the directory of telephone numbers online; they also offer the conventional telephone directory to their subscribers. There are private organizations who on call offer you the contact info of a variety of facilities in the city, say, you can call them and ask for the hotels in the city that offer chinese food, or whatever. I wonder, you haven’t tried any of these!
    Any way, good luck!

    Regards,
    L. Mukunthan

    • April 28, 2010 6:59 am

      Thanks! I knew there must be a way! Although I am honestly not sure where to go from here…. ;-(

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