Ramakant Yadav the Internet edition

Random Ramblings Of Ramakant Yadav

22 February 2011

Is service at fast food restaurants supposed to be bad? If you pay service charges at a fast food restaurant, what do you pay for? These and many other existential questions crossed my mind as the waiter dropped the pizza on the table while trying to move it from the serving tray to my plate. Maybe the waiter did not agree with the cultural aspects of serving pizza in India. It could be that he regarded serving pizza in India as an insult to our 1000 year old culinary tradition. I mean, after all, pizza recipes are all imported. Or maybe he detested serving pizza to someone in the late afternoon. Late afternoon is widely regarded as siesta time in most restaurants in the country.

Whatever be the reason, he dropped it on the napkin and then apologizing profusely he put it in my plate. For a moment I considered asking him to take it back[he did ask if he should take it back]. But then what assurances did I have that the same pizza would not get recycled and served to me again? And anyways it only fell on the paper napkin and not on the floor. And so, with images of all the poor kids in the country who go to bed hungry, I ate the horribly expensive pizza. I assuaged my guilt by thinking of the service tax and the employment that I was generating just by eating the pizza. If nobody in India ate pizza, the whole restaurant at that location would probably not exist, and those waiters[incompetent and clumsy] would probably not have jobs.

Is eating pizza a better way to do charity? Why give money to begging children near the mall when you can spend more money at the pizza place? If you give money to the begging children, you will only encourage them to beg and increase their numbers. If you don't agree look at the number of women running around with sleepy infants at the traffic signals. They don't have to do it, they like to do it. A lot of these women have husbands who sell fruits and vegetables. Most of the time it is a way to make some money "on the side". Why would a normal sane person provide alms to beggars on the street. If you feel so guilty about living above the poverty line, perhaps you should donate to one of the many charitable educational institutions. If the poor kids have an education, they will be better equipped for the various jobs that they can do. At worse they will know how much money they made during the year and the falling returns will convince them that begging is not a viable way of life.

Going back the privileged life at the pizza place. So where was I now? Ah yes, the waiter dropped the pizza on the napkin and I ate it. After the pizza it was time for the bill. I had a neat discount coupon that offered me 100% off on the pizza price. After I showed it to them the bill came over and I checked it like the miser I am. Shockingly the discount was only for 50% of the pizza price. I called the waiter over and asked him why was a discount of only 50% applied to price of the pizza when the discount coupon clearly advertised 100% off. The waiter looked surprised and said that he would have to speak to the manager. I called the manager over and he said that I would get a discount of 100% and told me to pay less then the amount that was printed on the bill. I was rather surprised by this behavior and thought nothing more of it and cleared the bill. Thinking about the incident later I realized that the management of the eating place probably had a policy of marking down discounts on vouchers and they probably counted on the customers not looking very closely at the numbers on the bill.

To me it was a reminder to look carefully at every bill that one comes across in life. When handing over cash or card, one should always look very carefully at all the line items.

Ramakant Yadav

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