Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Chinese whisper



I stood there, waiting for the salesman to show me a dumper truck. No, not the real thing. Yes, infrastructure is booming (especially when you are trying to sleep), but I am, as always, a non-participant in the boom. It's a toy truck I am looking for so the son can cart wet sand around when we go to the beach.

An elderly couple walks in with a talking parrot. Again, not the real thing. They have a complaint: The price tag stuck on the box says, Rs. 55/- whereas they have been charged Rs. 250/-

The salesman tries to explain what is an as-large-as-China racket: "They deliberately put a small price tag on the stuff being imported from China. That way, the importers have to pay less tax. I am sorry, I forgot to scratch it out."

My dumper truck arrives. It is made in India and the maximum retail price on it matches the one quoted by the salesman. I look around for a bit, hoping to see how the Indo-Chinese argument ends. The couple suggests: "We'll go to the shop next door... If the prices match..."

I pay for the truck. The salesman takes out a calculator and gives me a 10% discount.

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