Sunday, October 31, 2010

Differences: Free value of things

Surprisingly after a long break from blogging, despite numerous recent adventures I would prefer to continue the series I commenced on pointing out the differences I noted between the two countries where I dwelled for at least a month.

The difference this article focuses on is having to pay for every small thing there, which I have been pretty much used to availing without charge at home. For an example, consider a supermarket where one would expect being handed with a polybag after emptying the trolley to transfer my purchase. Rather, it was only when I asked for it, they handed over the packet (with the supermarket's advertising logo) with the reply “20 cents”.

As another important example, consider a visit to McDonald's. Of course here we are entitled to availing as many ketchup sachets as we wish, after purchasing a combination of burgers and french fries. Due to the inertia of my habit when I asked for it rightfully, I was astonished to listen to the reply “50 cents”. Although mostly, I turned it down sometimes out of desperation for devouring the ketchup and the shame of refusing, I paid it. It marked quite a significant change in lifestyle.

For a final example, consider visiting a public toilet and being stopped at the entry demanding either 40 or 50 cents before you can release your pressure. That too, despite the immensely high taxation rates averaging at 40%. Similarly, a place as important as Central Station had no provisions for free toilets. (however inside train, it was free) Similarly, drinking water is free but from taps. Tap-water is consumable without any fear of water-borne diseases (completely unlike India), but if you still want packaged water, either as bottle, glass or can; be ready to pay in the range of 2 euros.

Surely such a system becomes annoying at times, when urgency needs the compromise of losing out on cash, but I wanted to analyze the pros of the system. The primary point is, 20-50 cents although meager being more than 0, nothing can be taken for granted. Not utilizing these cents would imply misusing the money, which even many careless spenders tend to avoid. Thus, the customer despite spending power isn't treated like a king (the bigger shop you enter, the more you are treated like a king) and knows his limitations. Although in India rarely commodities are sold for free, a lot of provisional complimentary products have seeped into our life broadening our vision of birth-rights.

In fact, I have noticed people in India verbally abusing (or surpassing accepted decency levels) waiters for not being given enough ketchups. Lots of things have begun to be taken as granted. Contrarily, though the middle class in Netherlands is much richer, they have lesser birth-rights as a capitalist customer.

1 comment:

billi said...

2 euros for water !!!

Blog Archive