Personal touch

My mother’s music teacher was a paan aficionado and it was my duty to go to the neighbourhood paan shop to get a paan filled with 90 number tobacco packed for him for a princely sum of 10 paise. I used to look forward to this daily duty, because the paanwala would give me a free paan filled with rose leaves paste ( gulakand).

For years, I travelled by local to my office and would pick up my daily copy of The Economic Times from a particular newspaper vendor. Did he give it for free or lower price? No rather I’d occasionally leave some change with him; I would go to him because he welcomed me with a smile and gave me my copy without I having to ask for it.

Travelling by DTC bus to office in the morning peak hours is a pain no less than the Mumbai local. Not for me though for I’d take a particular bus whose conductor would acknowledge my presence, leave his seat for me and was unbelievably courteous.

At the barber shop, I sometimes choose to wait even for an hour for a particular hair stylist to be free, for he receives me with a smile, knows my requirement and gives me a free 30 seconds of head massage.

Reliance retail, Amazon, Flipkart, D Mart can become billion dollar companies and drive the grocer next door out of business, but what they cannot provide is the personal touch! When someone receives you with a smile, understands your requirement without you having to tell him, be large hearted to let you sample a product before buying or give a small chocolate to the child accompanying you, these are typical examples of personal touch that’s so unique to our country. This is part of our basic philosophy of athiti devo bhava or a guest is god, customer being a guest for the seller, which is different from the relatively newer philosophy, “ customer is king”, which is followed by the large retailers and e trailers, by providing choice and competitive pricing under one roof.

Air conditioned comfort and so much to choose

Or Amazon’s sale and loot as much as you can loot;

Place order on your smart phone and receive goods sitting at home

To go searching for a thing in sun and dust, those times are gone

But I am a little old fashioned, personal touch matters to me

My free paan and personal touch I value, and rest doesn’t matter to me

12 thoughts on “Personal touch

      1. Sir I’m 29, I’m also of this generation who believes more in digital marketing, but I have stayed in tier 1, tier 2 cities, including mumbai, the kind of feeling you get by a person attending to you on your own can’t be replaced. Certainly not by this digital marketing. The very fact is that people have become lazy and are becoming more lazy, so no wonder they don’t know what the actual services are, what connection actually is their with the barber, with the paan wala, with your regular tailor. Digital marketing is fine, and people have gone levels up in compromise….I myself try to avoid as much as I can…


      2. Thank you sir..if we say today that every person is being scammed is because of the increase in digital marketing…though everytime we buy something, they take our details, and everything happens infront of us, but what’s the guarantee that our details are not being misused…


      3. Sir my calling number is 9870118032. Also my email id is thank you sir. Sir I shall reinstall my whatsapp tomorrow. Sometimes I take break from social media and all. I don’t use fb and Instagram, because back in school and college have used orkut and fb both…🙂.


  1. Lovely article. We all crave for the personal touch everywhere. From a business point of view it helps in customer retention and from a service point of view the customer is assured of a sympathetic hearing when things don’t go right.

    Well heeled customers invariably end up buying more from a place that give them “recognition”.

    It is a win-win.


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