All it takes is just a little effort …..
A week back we went to the vegetable and fruits shop inside our condominium to get some fruits. I gave my credit card to the guy at the counter to swipe. When we gave me the slip for the transaction, it had been swiped for Rs.5 more than the bill amount. Just Rs.5.
As a practise we don’t haggle with vegetable vendors at all and usually don’t notice the bill if it “feels” right. For a change, I asked the guy at the counter about this difference. He said it was a mistake and that he will adjust it in our next purchase. I forgot about this transaction completely, until yesterday.
We have a WhatsApp group for the residents of our condominium. Yesterday I saw one of the residents posting about the outrageous prices charged at the same shop for some vegetables. This message then led to a host of messages being shared in the group. Every message shared was about how the vendor makes extra money every day. He overcharges or adds a couple of rupees to the bill or in one instance, he has charged more than MRP!
We all decided to be extra cautious while dealing with the shop.
The discussion above made me think of the number of transactions that we usually do in a month. With a variety of small, medium and large vendors. Bindu has the habit of checking every bill. She pays the credit card bills every month, but she will check it every time. She refuses to put an auto debit option just because she would like to check the bill. If we go to a restaurant, she would check the bill. If we shop for something at a supermarket, she will again check the bill.
I haven’t put that little effort as diligently because I thought that it is not required. I felt it is not worth the effort. I used to justify it to myself by saying that I need to trust others.
Despite remembering and quoting the famous ‘Trust but Verify’ incident. The late US President Ronald Reagan met with the late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Apparently he cautioned Rajiv Gandhi against blindly trusting Russians. While you need to trust, you also need to verify.
I would assume that all of us have the potential to save Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000 per month if we just make the effort to check every bill before paying. Its our hard earned money and while we don’t need doles, we also don’t need to give away money freely ! Even if its just Rs. 1000/- you save every month, in a year it could fund a student’s school fees.
With this insight and new zeal, I searched Quora, one of my favourite “go to” online platform, on this subject. I read how a number of vendors have played games (read scams) with customers and have swindled their hard earned money. Getting the money back is so tedious, many just give up. People take money from you with such ingenuity, that you end up with a grudging respect for the conman/woman.
When I searched Google for “scams online shopping” it showed a whopping 48 million results on the subject…. there are obviously a lot of people out there getting conned.
In these difficult times, when every penny matters, we must make that little extra effort to verify every transaction in detail. Even as we trust the vendors, its important to verify when money is involved. Anything you save, please donate to ShikshaDaan and we will make sure that someone gets a scholarship for their higher education
Make it a habit. Just that extra little effort and reap savings.