Friday, December 11, 2009


Having recently paid a visit to not so friendly Topaz canteen, I noticed a change. No the change wasn’t in the variety items available or the cold reception accorded to you, but the change was in the way I was paid back… 5 centre fresh instead of currency!

I was literally taken back! Till now it was acceptable to have a candy or two in case of lack of ‘change’ but candies worth Rs.5 /- is bit difficult to digest. Before I could even argue , pat came the reply Kya Karen saar, change nahi hai!!” Instead of forgoing my money for later reimbursement ( its rare that it will be returned to you without an argument and even more difficult to keep a record) I simply pocketed what was at hand, not before sharing them among juniors and friends.

Trying to figure out the implications of the candy currency, the first thing that struck me was It’s a damn good business strategy. On average there are 500 customers and even if half of them are paid back in candies that an additional sale of over 200 candies that translates into additional sale of over Rs. 6000 per month. (Not a bad venture I guess!!).

Another aspect that this brings forth is the absence of low denomination currency from the market. Initially, I couldn’t figure out the possible reason but soon it became apparent that this can be at best attributed to the ATM’s. Almost all students depend upon ATMS for their cash requirements, which only dispenses Rs. 100 and 500 denomination notes , so absence of ‘change’ can be explained.

I am not very sure of the legal (those interested in law can definitely help!!) implications of these transactions but for one I am sure that there are certain rights in the Consumer Protection Act that deal with these. More over almost all banks as per RBI directives provide for exchanging money to lower denominations by simply filling a form. So these canteen walas can procure change easily from bank. (But considering additional sales, I doubt they will ever think about it).

As of now I am saving most of these candies and planning to pay the canteen wala in candies the next time and waiting eagerly to see the reaction on this!!!