Mumbai Diary

The Convenient Local Convenience Store

The convenience of the Local Store

I was most upset when my local baniya decided to close shop. Looking at him, one would hardly imagine that he’d retire but he said he’d had enough. With erratic and unreliable staff, rising costs and reduced credit by the suppliers, keeping a store open was not feasible anymore. In fact, he said it was the online stores that actually spelled the doom of the local convenience store.

I was most upset.

Part of my retail therapy is to wander into the local grocer’s shop on my way back from various chores in the vicinity. This tiny little hole in the wall is simply amazing in both its service and stock levels. Unlike the huge grocery stores which source nationally and internationally, this mom & pop outfit is like millions of other shops in India that serve the local neighbourhood: simple, unassuming and completely down market.

But he is a savvy retailer.  He knows exactly what is happening and is up to date with his information.  It is amazing how these shops and shop keepers have a pulse on the market and retail trends. Most of these shops are operated by local traders who employ their friends and relatives back from the village, looking for a foothold in the big city.

With scant regard for aesthetics and complete focus on customer service, their shelves are stocked with basic food grains, packaged foodstuff, ice creams. They even keep exotic stuff like flax seeds, almond oil, Barilla pasta, seven grain bread and Wasabi nuts. School supplies, chalk, felt pens, toiletries, and household cleaning material,  rub shoulders with home made snacks.

And all this available just  a phone call away!

Why I like my local baniya

So  why would I want to trudge all the way to a Big Bazaar, move my reluctant trolley or drag a basket through aisles that barely squeeze two bottoms, reach out to shelves way beyond my reach or bend down in darkened spaces, then wait in interminable lines to have my bill punched by a clerk who can hardly bar code half the items and worse still, have my bill checked at the exit to ensure I haven’t taken out any item I haven’t paid for???

And if I am shopping at a mall like High Street Phoenix,  I have to rush back to my car to put in my stuff else suffer the inconvenience of leaving my shopping at the entrance of any other shop I may venture to enter.

♥ Our local Baniya stocks everything essential to run a home smoothly.

♥ He  picks up  re-cyclable newspapers and bottles.

♥ He opens his shutters at 7 every morning to shut them at 9 in the night.

♥ Sundays finds his shop open for half the day.

♥ Best of all, he provides a whole month’s credit. You get an itemised bill promptly at the end of the month.

♥ He comes when you call. He willingly comes even ten times a day.

♥ He takes back returns and is ever ready to serve with a smile.

Can any hypermarket or online store match this service? I doubt it.

Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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