Saturday, February 22, 2014

The result of an honest feedback

I sometimes stop at this road side tea stall for a cup of tea. He carries different flavors of tea and I prefer his elachi tea. In addition to tea he also sells coffee, kashaya (or khada - a preparation of different herbs, used as a medicine), light snacks, bananas etc. I prefer this stall as the tea is decently priced and given its location, if need be, I can grab a cup and quickly be on road without spending much time.

Today, as usual I reached the stall and ordered a cup of tea. Upon drinking I felt the tea was a bit different. It felt watery, or maybe the tea powder was not sufficient. I did not say anything but when I was paying, I felt that I should tell him about the problem so that he can fix it before others complain.

Me - The tea was not good today. It lacked flavor and felt watery.
(I handed him the money and waited for him to return the change)

Stall owner – What? No. It’s the same. I have not changed anything today (looking at me in complete disbelief)

Me - Ok. Maybe you need to add more milk or something. It’s not good.
(He returned the change)

Stall owner - do you see this flask? (Showing me the flask which held the tea; just as I was about to leave) (I could sense a change in his tone)

Me - Yes

Stall owner - We have been making tea in this same flask for years now. We use the same amount of milk, same quantity of sugar, same quantity and brand of tea powder.

I was really not interested to hear all that. Actually I did not care what went into his tea or how was he preparing it. More importantly I was not asking for an exchange or a refund for the bad tea. So there was no reason for him to explain all that.

Me - Ok (showing total lack of interest)

Stall owner - Do you know what is the problem today?

Me - No

Stall owner - You (I suddenly became all ears. I was like “What??”)

Stall Owner – We didn't change anything and so there should be no problem with the tea; which means there is some problem with you as you did not like the tea.

Me - What do you mean?

Stall owner - If nothing has changed in how we make tea, and only you complain, it means you have a problem.

(I was staring at him almost wanting to ask if he has gone mad)

Stall owner - I suggest drink this Kashaya. It will help if you are not feeling well. (His tone went soft. Something like how doctors talk to patients)

I was really angry but didn’t say anything. The way he spoke would make me look like a culprit if I raised my voice. So I smiled at him and got back on the road.

It took me like a few minutes to digest all that. All I did was to give an honest feedback about the tea which I PAY to drink. And what was his response? That I had to drink his dark green concoction of herbs to rid my body of any ills and calm my mind. Wow. I decided never to have anything from him again, even if it means I have to spend extra time waiting at the nearby restaurant for tea.

~Narendra V Joshi

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