Wednesday, June 23, 2010

'More' is No More!!

In times when departmental stores are coming up like mushrooms do in monsoon, there is one chain of stores in particular, which has caught my eye, well not so much for the good reasons though.

'More' the Aditya-Birla retail venture, which has stores all over Pune are now probably seeing a downward trend. In the last 18 months, I have seen 2 of their outlets in my locality shut shop. The reasons (by them), "Sir, the rent has been increased for that place", "Sir, I do not know why that outlet is closed".

For one of the outlets that got shut, in its merrier days, I had caught up on a 'friendly' discussion with one of the fellows, handling their fruits/vegetables section. Here is a snippet of the conversation (from whatever I remember)...

    Me  - "Hello my friend, Please help me find something in the vegetable section"

    Him - "Sure sir"

I wait for next 5 mins and still no trace of him. I get what I want and move to the billing counter. There I see him opening another billing counter (other than the one active then), to give some 'preferential' treatment to probably his 'favourite' male customer.

    Me  - "How can you do this? There is one counter already open, and I had asked you for something"

    Him - "Sir, sorry but..."

    Me  - "This way, just like your other store, even this would get closed"

    Him - "Could be sir, but I have my own store in Balaji Nagar, I am there in the mornings, do visit me if you want fresh vegetables"

    Me  - "Would you sell it to me at better prices there?" (just to see his reaction)

    Him - "Why not Sir, please do come!"

It would not take too long for anyone to make out the actual reason, once you visit any of their outlets.
  • Try to pick up a vegetable or a fruit and get it weighed, chances are that the prices you see on display are different than the prices in their bills. If you try asking the reason about the older prices on display, the answer would be "Sir, those prices are older, the system has the latest" (GDIT* - I also know that man, but at least apologize for the same!).
  • Try going to their freezer and you would see only 1 brand of milk, which is not available anywhere (and probably would not be bought by anyone) in Pune. One look at the pouch, and you realize that the milk is due for expiry in a day. I have never come across a pouch there, which had a 'Use before date' of more than the next day. The reason? See the pouch again, and you would realize (once more!). The milk is from some XYZ dairy in Thane, and just marketed by the Aditya-Birla group. So how on earth it is supposed to have a greater shelf life, when it needs transportation (after packaging) all the way from Thane (160 Kms from here + the distance traveled distributing the pouches all over the city)
  • Try taking a glance at the biscuits area, and you see 'promotional' offers like "Buy 6 packs and get Rs. 10 off" on a pack of biscuits that cost Rs. 20 per pack. How is that promotional, and that too on biscuits? I am taking the biscuits for me and my wife, and not to my shop that I would buy 6 packs at one go, just to get less than 2 bucks off per pack. I would instead prefer even if you give me 1 buck off for a packet of biscuit purchased.
Hmm.. so going by all this, 'More' would soon be 'No More', and I fear would be soon forgotten by people too, that there existed 'More' in the city of Pune.

*GDIT = God Damn IT :)

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