Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rewarding is worth it!

I was having tea and like the Tata tea ad (jaago re) suddenly it seemed as if it was the tea which enlightened me.
I usually have a habit of going back in time..
I am quite surprised at my own chain of thoughts..
This is how it all started..
While sipping my evening tea, my eyes fell on the neatly lined up shoes of my toddler.
I was thinking, barely she is 2 and she has such a collection.. So cute it looks small shoes of different colours.
And then, I was reminded of the fairy tale I read in junior school, "the elves and the shoemaker."
The shoemaker is very poor and day by day his fortunes seemed to be dwindling. One night, all he has left is enough scrap of leather to make just one pair of shoes. He tells his wife, he has no ways to survive after he sells off that pair. He cuts the leather to be sewn the next morning. Lo and Behold, when he wakes up the next morning and goes to his workshop, he finds them neatly stitched already. He is amazed at the neatness of the work, but cannot understand who had done it.

A wealthy customer happens to come to buy a shoe and the shoemaker shows him the only pair he had. The customer is so taken by the shoe that he pays the shopkeeper double the rate quoted for the shoe. ( you can read the rest of the story here ) Here I start thinking, how many of us would actually do that? Get a good thing for a less price is something we all like. But, can it happen that a simple honest man sells at a very low rate and the buyer which means mostly people like us, recognises the effort and pays him back double.

Ok forget about being so generous, how many of us if by mistake got something more from a shop than what we paid for would be not ecstatic that we got it free and return it to the shop the next day? Or perhaps sometimes, paid a bill and got more change because the keeper couldn't calculate?
It has happened with me, I bought 4 dresses and they charged me for only 3. Perhaps they faulted in the counting since all were of the same amount. Anyways, I went back after a couple of days, to buy more. They did not seem to remember any mistake, but when they were billing, I told them to add the price of one more dress which i had bought the previous day and charge it to the current bill.

No, I don't do it because I am very good at heart. I am very careless too. Many times, I have left the counter after paying and before collecting the change. Many and I say many because it has happened more than a few times, they have run after me to give me back my change. I wouldn't be knowing if there were any who did not return, because I just seem to be so lost and in such hurry most of the times. I would do the same for anyone because I know how people can be preoccupied with things and make mistakes. I can keep myself in their positions and I can understand them. What I mean is, probably I have the warmth to do it because people have been kind to me. Even if I was duped at any time, I hope to not have a change of heart and start to take out vengeance from other people. Terrorists do this, they take revenge simply because they suffered in the hands of others.

What if we all started to actually go back and paid for things which was by mistake left unpaid?
What if we were to return back honestly a payment excessively made or returned the change because the other forgot to?
What if we actually rewarded with more than the price because we know it is worth more?

I have been able to do the first two, and most would have probably. Thinking of the third one, rewarding when ever I get a chance.. To reward or give more because I feel I haven't given enough payment and that the product or services that I am buying is worth more than what I paid for.

This can be done when we make our employees work for us. Services specially is something which is not measurable in kilograms or litres or anything like that for that matter. Most times, services is measured by the amount of time given by someone. He or She comes for this and this much hours so we pay this and this amount of money. But, many times, The quality of time spent is different, meaning the work done in that time, more work in less time or better quality, more efficiency. Should not people who are in a position to reward, should reward if they get more than their fair amount in return?

I met my cousin recently. He was telling me of his beginning days in the service industry. He said he had joined office full of enthusiasm and in the most optimistic of I will change the world attitude. He told me, whenever there was any problem, he would be ready to deal with it and would want to go to the core of it. But, his seniors neither gave him the time nor the advice to go to the core. So all he would do was just rectify  the mistake so that the process would go on. Today, he says he believes that all that matters is that the job should be done not how it is done. Sadly he has given up and changed with the world. He sees the many recruits who join work as enthusiastic as he once was, but he thinks to himself, its just a matter of time when they will too join him. An incentive or reward perhaps matters a lot.

A friend of mine once told me that he used to go to the hospital for treatment for his mom. when after a month or so his mom's health improved lots and he was so happy with her improvement, he asked for the nurse who used to look after her and asked the doctor if he could reward her separately besides paying the hospital bills. The doctor let him and he gave the nurse a handsome tip. She must be so must encouraged by this gesture and so much more richer in soul because of such deeds.

Would n't the world be a better place and much organised were there people like the gentleman who came to the shoemaker and gave him double the price of one shoe because he saw it fit to be worth more?
Of course, all of us are not corporate bigwigs who have the authority to reward. Surely we can do our little tit bits by raising our voice, by rewarding whenever we feel that we got more than we paid for and not take advantage of honest people?

PS. Make sure you read the story too! The elves got their rewards too!!


  1. The question is one of fairness in transaction. To pay what is due and not what you can get away with, nor what is needed by the other party.

    While we can do this "reward" that you suggest occasionally, we cannot do this constantly because we do face people who are not such "gentlemen" and we need to survive too. So we end of robbing (pay less than deserved) a few Peters and pay (pay more than asked) a few Pauls. If Peters and Pauls exchanged roles often, then what you raised may not be a serious issue. Each person gains some, loses some and it evens out. But if there were people who were Peters most of the time, bad lack for them.

  2. Very nice flair of weaving stories in an interesting way.

    I often pay a little higher than demanded to Rikshaw pullers. Their rates are often low for the fierce competition they have at many places. I consider his hardwork, and pay accordingly.

  3. Paying back that forgotten price could be the best trust one could build with a trader.

    good trend... dont change heart .

  4. Most people react positively to goodness but some think a good person is a fool and fair game – deserves to be taken for a ride. I hope you are able to delude them of that notion and that you never have cause to change.