bangalore- shoppers’ paradise or?

The way shopping complexes are springing up in the city and the enthusiasm of shopping crowds that frequent these malls and roads one would believe that bangalore is fast becoming a shoppers’ paradise. But unfortunately my experience was something else.

A few weeks ago I went to the Big Bazaar on Hosur Road. After picking up the stuff I wanted I was dismayed at the long lines of shoppers with overflowing shopping carts at the billing. After waiting for 20 minutes in a line which did not seem to be moving I tried moving to another line and stood for another 10 minutes. It was then I relaised that the lines were not moving because the billing computers had hung and they were restarting them. No one knew how much longer it was going to take. The customer in front of me told me “This happens all the time here” The billing assistants were quite happy to have the break and were hardly concerned about the systems hanging. So I put back my shopping and walked out empty handed after 45 minutes of wasted time.

On my way home I saw that the shopper’s stop on Bannerghatta Road had “upto 40% sale”. So decided to try my luck for cushion covers and towels which I could not buy earlier at the Big bazaar. They had what I wanted and there was a discount tag on almost everything I picked up. The billing was quick and when i asked about the discounts the smart assistant told me that the computer would recognise the items on sale from the code and automatically apply it the billing price. When I reached home, i wanted to check the amount I had saved through these discounts and on verifying the bill was shocked to find that none of the prices had been discounted. Another trip back to the shop and after a few hot exchages with the customer service finally got the refund for the discount amount.

In case you think I had enough shopping problems for a day ,no, that was not all. I stopped at the Fabmall on Bannerghatta Road and picked up some gbrocery and toileries. This time I was smart enough to verify the bill at the shop only to realise that the 100gm butter I had bought had been billed twice and Phenyl had been billed at Rs200 (in stead of 48!)

Well Moral of the story: Whwerever you shop, please check your bills. You never know when you are being over charged. Machines are there but it is finally humans who feed the information and nobody cares! As for Big Bazaar, I really don’t knbow how they manage to stay in business with such systems in place.
Or is it only me and my bad luck that follows me to every shop I enter?

10 Comments so far

  1. srimathi (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 5:14 pm

    Every day there are more fabmalls opening at 2km radius something like a ATM…. Big bazaar is a big cheater…most of the discounts announced are on inititally infalted prices.

    The parking at big bazar, hosur road is another sad story. Bangalore police have made life misearable for a person travelling from jaynagar,jpnagar side who have to park somewhere in koramangala and take the senic route back home!!!

  2. Sid (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 6:05 pm

    Big Bazaar always huge checkout counter rush. And worse is when you have only a couple of items to check out while the person(s) in front of you have a couple of trolleys.
    I asked around for a quick checkout counter(where they accept customers with less than 10 items) but the attendents didnt know or didnt care.
    The one is on Hosur Road is definitely pathetic. Even the area around the checout counter becomes stuffy and sweaty when there are more people.

  3. Mehak (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 6:36 pm

    Ohh Usha I have had similar exp @ Big Bazaar..Hosur Road…..waited waited at the billing counter…n then left the store empty handed…Been there hardly 3 or 4 times….

    Customer Service @ Shopper’s Stop Bangalore is much better….the one in Chennai is …..what to say…the sales guys know don’t which item is where…& I was billed twice for a pair of jeans……

    Ohh sab kuch slow hai…Food World,Nilgiris, Namdharis,M2S,FabMall….sab try kar liya…

    Its time to chk the old man at the Grocery Store….

    But overall Customer Service everywhere is in a bad state…be in ICICI,Citi Bank,Reliance…

  4. NParry (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 8:43 pm

    Great write-up on the great Bangalore Cheats! Why can’t this be exposed in a newspaper column so that the cheats get exposed and are forced to improve their billing and customer service? Maybe it’s in our genes, but we as Indian-grocers or business owners DO tend to cheat customers wherever we are. In NY, an Indian who owned a chain of gas stations was recently found cheating customers to the tune of several million dollars by rigging the gasoline pump to run faster and shortchanging the amount of gasoline pumped. But the public humiliation and exposure alone is enough to drive these guys to reform. Usha, since you write so well, why can’t you write a column each week in the papers?

  5. randramble (unregistered) on September 20th, 2006 @ 7:35 am

    Are we seeing “traffic jam” even in shops now? :-)

  6. rubic_cube (unregistered) on September 24th, 2006 @ 1:15 pm

    I generally avoid Big Bazaar. Reason: it is more of a tourist place for “big” families than a shopping center. The amount of fuel that one has to burn to get there, the amount of time that one wastes waiting in the queues and all that… it is not worth it! Else, go at times when you expect less crowds to throng the place. Sunday morning 10Am, for instance. :-)

    And regarding wrong billing, excess billing etc., I never had any experience like that, but yes, I am cautious in seeing the bill before I pay. One thing is that they “miss” giving the freebies that come with some merchandise.

  7. tom (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 2:50 am

    The difference between India and say the United States is that you have highly educated people in the American political system and a bunch of uneducated criminals and thugs in the Indian political system. All our problems are the direct result of these scumbags and their lack of foresight coupled with their unbelievable corruption. Any sign of civility and modernity is the direct result of the legacy of the british-namely the english language and the administrative setup. As long as we use our left hands instead of the toilet paper and the antibacterial liquid soap-and deny the existance of the fork and the spoon- and feel comfortable walking thru all the filth every damn day-and aslong as we keep voting in these criminal “politicians” time and time again……….we will never really enjoy a day out in the city on business or pleasure.

  8. Manav Aggarwal (unregistered) on September 28th, 2006 @ 12:45 pm

    I shop regularly at Big-bazar. I shop mostly for grocery items there because of some schemes they keep coming up with. Sometimes buy one two other items as well. I frequent one at Hosur road and the newly opened one on Old madras road.

    List of things to watch out for:
    1. You never get parking. You have to fight for it most of the times. Keep your cool.
    2. Many customer service people don’t have any idea of what they are selling, what are the schemes, and at what discounts. If you encounter such a person, just ask him to call his/her superior. There is one person per section who is very well informed.
    3. If you plan to pay by food coupons, tell in advance before billing starts.
    4. The billing people are heavily overloaded during rush hours and combined with their single digit IQ, its your responsibility to check that everything was billed correctly and all discounts were given. Don’t pay before you have checked. I know they print bill only after you pay, so you have check on their screens that everything was billed correctly.
    5. Their billing software has its own quirks and many times doesn’t apply discounts correctly. Ask for it specifically. Don’t pay before you have confirmed everything.

    Try to go in off rush hours. The heaviest rush hours are Saturday and Sunday (1:00pm onwards) and any holidays.

  9. ashish (unregistered) on September 29th, 2006 @ 5:54 pm

    I have a suggestion for shoppers to Big Bazaar. One should never go alone shopping but take somebody along to stand in the que while the other person can shop (ha ha). God save you if you shop on a Saturday or Sunday.
    I think it is fashionable to shop in malls rather than the need to. Most are worried about the size of the other person’s shopping basket!
    Why talk only about Big Bazaar only? One has to be in a que also for an appointment with God (temples).

  10. champu (unregistered) on October 5th, 2006 @ 12:42 pm

    You loose a lot of money there, go and shop all this items at a wholesale kind of dealer, there you even don’t have to ask for discounts, because they themselves will giev it and they do all calucations manually, and I would say really appreicaite their mind, they always calculate correctly, and also they wil check the items before putting in your bag, although you might complain that all the items are not available at one place, but roaming at different places is worth, atleast i know in big shops they overprice the items like steel utensils, etc. which today’s young generation couple don’t understand, they just buy blindly, many items are of local brands and whem you go to wholesale kind of shopper he gives as much as 50% discount, not only that, standard bathing soaps, toothpaste, etc itself will get minimum of 10-20% off, has any big shops given such discounts no never, they just attract the customers, in Bangalore also there is Avenue road, Chikpet area which is full of such whole shoppers, and traditional and intelligent, money saving customers still go and buy the stuff from there, even the grocerries in the big shops are over priced, we should but it from Sabzi markets like the one in HAL. But why am I telling the secrets, I many times think and feel hurt that so call well educated people get trapeed in the big Thugs (cheaters). Just educate yourself, in our city Indore the people are real baniya’s and they will always buy the things from their market only, like utensils from utensil market where there will be around 500 odd shops, cloth and readymade from cloth market where there are 2000+ shops, there lies true competition and varieties, and a real shopping experience and joy.

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