Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pay tips or else – the threat looming at almost every household people when they receive the refilled cylinder. Booking and receiving LPG cylinders has become a big problem. Almost each household is met with unreasonable demand from the boys who deliver the cylinder.
I narrate some instances that I happened to witness:
Having shifted our residence from Mumbai to Chennai in the year 1996, our first job was to get the cylinder connection in Chennai. We went to the nearest dealer and got all the paper work done. We then enquired as to when we would get the cylinder. He said we could either take it along with us or wait for three days. We decided to take the two cylinders along with us and paid him for two cylinders. The person in charge asked us to give him Rs.5/- extra per cylinder. When asked why he said, it was towards charges for delivering the cylinder. Charges for delivering, but we are taking them ourselves, my husband shot back. So what he said. When he realized after some arguments that he would not be paid, he said if that is the case, we could come and collect our cylinders each time in future also. He made it clear that he would ensure the cylinders would not be delivered at our place in the future. So be it said my husband and we returned home. Though he did not enforce his threat I had to concede the insistent demands made by the delivery boy by paying him extra over the normal charges for cylinder.
When my neighbor had her cylinder brought after a delay of more than a week, she had this to contend with. When she handed over Rs.345/-, Rs.6/- more than the price of Rs.338/95, he demanded Rs.5/- more. When asked why, he said Rs.10 was the charge that they were collecting for delivering a cylinder. When she refused, he returned the Rs.6/- asking her to keep the tips to herself or shell out Rs.10/- as his delivering charges. Fearing future problems of delayed delivery of cylinder or being given a half-used cylinder, my neighbor paid the tips as demanded by the delivery boy.
Her fears are not unfounded since these boys do create problems by not delivering the cylinder due to the concerned people.
When asked why they are demanding tips when told it is not allowed, the cylinder delivery boy say they are forced to collect tips since their employer has not been paying their salary for the past few months. And that their daily living depends wholly on the tips that they get. These delivery boys do ensure they get what they consider is their legitimate share.
There was another incident when I was told that I would be receiving the cylinder in 4 days time. Not receiving my cylinder even after a week had lapsed I called the dealer and was told that the cylinder has already been sent. The same response came from the storehouse also. And yet, I had not received the cylinder. When there was no sign of the cylinder reaching me, I went to their office and demanded an explanation. The person there had the cheek to tell me that I probably did not receive the cylinder as I had refused to pay tips to them before. I showed him the invoice and asked why is it typed out in bold and red "DO NOT GIVE ANY TIPS TO THE BOYS." And why have they put so prominently in the notice board that salary for the delivery boys have been increased and so tips are not to be entertained? He said that it was just for compliance and I should not give importance to all those. And I still could choose to either pay them the tips or just let go and wait for the cylinder to come. However he did assure me that I would receive the cylinder in the afternoon. I did too. And I had to shell out their rightful tips.
There are some smart boys who sell cylinders to people willing to pay extra, not just tips but something more than Rs.25 to Rs.50 per cylinder. This happened during a shradham at my mother’s place. My mother had to pay Rs.25/- extra plus their regular tips besides the original cylinder rate. It is wrong I know, since someone is waiting for the cylinder elsewhere. But that is exactly how these people manipulate.
The delivery boy had the nerve to sell the cylinder that was to be delivered at my place to someone else. And few days later he brought me the cylinder and said it was not necessary to sign the receipt, as it was not compulsory. Later I realized the reason was because my receipt had already been signed and handed over back to the agency.
It sure is a considerate thought to pay some extra amount to these delivery boys, who bring these heavy cylinders withstanding the heat and rain. But insisting that the consumers have to pay them tips and deciding amongst themselves on what amount to be paid puts off even those who are willing to be considerate. The delivery boys follow this policy. "Pay the tips or else face the consequence of not receiving the cylinder. Choice is yours."
Though this is not consumer friendly, we just give in to their demands thereby facing a literally helpless situation.

1 comment:

deeps said...

ohhh thats terrible!
i thought such problems occur in this part of the country!

oops! so all are in the same boat..

is that deepu in the profile pict? :D)