Sunday, January 22, 2006

In Mumbai

Two incidents at the Inorbit Mall in Malad, Mumbai.

Incident 1: I am on the escalator, going up. I am walking up the escalator to get to the top faster, and this security person stops me from doing that, saying its not allowed. Earlier, I noticed that when a bunch of people were coming down on the escalator, the people who wanted to go up were made to wait till all the people coming down had come down. Well, what exactly is the point in having 2 escalators if you are going to operate only one of them at a time?

Incident 2: I walk into the Adidas showroom when this chap asks me if I need some help. I tell him I'll let him know when I need his help and start looking around. The guy follows me everywhere. I don't say anything. After a while, I spot a pair of Levi's jeans that I like, and I check out its size. The guy again asks me if I need any help. He is still standing behind me as if I need some chaperoning. The following ensues.

Me: Dont you leave your customers to look around by themselves?
Him: We are required to assist the customers.
(Fair enough!)
Me: But if someone wants to be left alone, why do you have to stick around making him uncomfortable?
Him: You touched the jeans like this (proceeds to touch the jeans) and this clearly shows that you need assistance.
(Einstein himself couldnt have come up with something better!)
Me: I was just checking out the size, I can do that myself and I do not need you to tell me the size.
Him: That is not the way to talk to a CSR.

At this point, I just walk out of the store.

In both incidents, the people working at this mall behave as if people visiting the mall are totally dumb and need to be told what to do. Like how to use the escalator, and how to check the size of a pair of jeans.

I tried to think of reasons for this behaviour. I remember reading a report about how a child's shoe got stuck at a Delhi mall and the child was crushed to death. Then there was this incident at Heathrow where a woman's sari got stuck in the escalator and the sari just came off! Its understandable if the people at the mall are worried about such incidents. But it still felt like an over the top reaction.

As for the second incident, there are no electronic checks to make sure people cannot simply walk away with stuff from stores without paying. But then the security guards are placed at the entrance precisely for this very reason. The other thing is that despite the prices and sizes being put in prominent labels, many people prefer to ask the employees the very same details. No kidding, I have seen that happen quite a few times. But the continuous monitoring from close quarters was still uncalled for.

Basically, I still have not understood what caused that behaviour. Is it simply a policy of not letting the customer be? I have heard from others about similar experiences, though none of them really minded it. Maybe I am just used to the chilled out behaviour at the US malls. But then again, such incidents did not occur at the other malls in Mumbai that I went to.