In his ‘Mann Ki Baath’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed the countrymen not to bargain too much with autodrvers and vegetable vendors when they could spend huge amounts on their restaurant bills without a second thought.
Taking cue from a phone call from one Aparna from Pune who complained about her friend repeatedly bargaining over small amounts with auto drivers, Modi responded saying, “Sometimes certain things become a part of our habits that we don’t even realize that we are doing something wrong.”
Aparna reportedly told PM Modi, “I want to tell you about a friend of mine. She always tries to help others, but one habit of her bothers me. I went for shopping with her at a mall. She coolly spent two thousand rupees on a sari, and four hundred and fifty rupees on a pizza. Whereas, she haggled for a long time, over merely five rupees, with the auto driver, who took us to the mall. On the way back, we stopped to buy vegetables, and again she haggled with the vendors to save 4-5 rupees. I feel very bad. We spend extravagantly in high places, without a single thought, but when it comes to our hardworking brethren, we quarrel with them over small amounts. We don’t trust them.”
Abhorring such habits, PM Modi said, “Don’t you feel that whenever a vendor comes to your door to sell something, on his rounds, when we come into contact with small shopkeepers, vegetable sellers, auto rickshaw drivers – in fact any person who earns through sheer hard work – we start bargaining with him, haggling with him: ‘No not so much, make it two rupees less, five rupees less!'”
The same people, who go to dine at a fine restaurant, don’t even bother to check the bill, but pay the money, without thinking twice. “When it comes to someone poor, we just cannot resist bargaining. Have you ever wondered what a poor man goes through? It is not a matter of two or five rupees, it hurts him deeply, when he feels that you are questioning his honesty,” he said.
“Two or five rupees make no difference to your life, but have you thought how much heartache this petty habit of yours can cause him. Madam I am grateful to you for calling me with this touching message. I am certain that my countrymen, if they are in the habit of behaving in this way with the poor will now stop doing so,” he advised.