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When I get time, I listen to music, or read books. If any is left, I blog!

Saturday 12 January 2013

Selling Coal to Newcastle!

As we were 'ringing in' New Year, images of a different 'ring' came to my mind! A 'ring of fire'!

At crowded junctions in villages, you would have seen dogs performing the feat of jumping through flaming hoops held aloft by its master. More than the tiny ring to squeeze past, what scares the dog is the blazing fire, the searing heat. Still, it goes on to bear the ordeal, to support a cruel and selfish master!

Similar rings exist in our lives too. 'Rings of rules', which we encounter day in and day out, eager to negotiate and at times tempted to circumvent. The 'street-smartness', once the exclusive prerogative of dogs seems to have infected us! So, we too leap like the dog …, many a time not through the ring, but the free-wheeling space outside!

A conversation that I overheard in a suburban train, was proof of this ingenuity. Two newspaper vendors were discussing the annual subscription schemes currently on in Mumbai. The scheme offered news dailies at abysmally low rates, as low as 20% the cover price. But, as sales picked up, the scheme underwent a revision. Despite the continuing price advantage, the market reacted with initial resistance much to the vendors' concern.

“Use your brain, buddy. There's always a way,' one vendor was telling the other. He went on to explain. 'When a client declines to renew, ask him a favour. Tell him, if he would handover the renewal cheque and the subscription coupons he gets from the newspaper, you would refund the entire cheque amount in cash. Just a minor arrangement to help you hold on to your distribution figures! Having nothing to lose, most of the clients would agree. You thus get to sell the discounted copies for a full year at regular new stand price, even as you earn the customary commission!'

I was impressed. If 'jumping through the ring' required practice, with a bit of ingenuity you could 'jump the ring' itself! 
"When faced with a challenge,
look for a way, not for a way out!"