101. Lesson from a puncture-taalney guy

I wanna share with you what this puncture-taalney guy taught me about Nepali way of customer care, and how we (entrepreneurs or business owners or service providers or even teachers) can learn from his huge mistake.

But first, here’s my bike!

So, I had a flat tire last evening. I was around Maharajgunj area for training. I got out of the venue only to see the rear tire laughing flat at me. If you have a motorbike, you can imagine how my face looked like at that moment. Complete hopelessness. Oh, did I tell you that it was raining and the road was completely messy. Anyway, I dragged my bike around searching for a workshop to fix the puncture. After 15 minutes, which lasted for a century, I found one on the side of ringroad.

Initially, I didn’t see anyone at the workshop but since the ‘air-tank’ was still rumbling, I knew there had to be someone. Then this guy appears, yawning, stretching his arms, looks at me and doesn’t even ask why I was there. He looked like Rajesh Hamal, only shorter, thinner and darker.

“Dai, puncture taalnu huncha?” I asked. He was not in a ‘response’ mode yet. He lit a cigarette and then replied with a snappy “Hmm.” Then he took out his tools and started unbolting the tire. He was completely relaxed. He had all the time in the world. But I didn’t. If you had been with me in that workshop, you would have seen an extreme desperation in my face. That could have been 20th puncture for him, it was the only one for me and it was getting late. You see, Maharajgun is in the north, I live near Lagankhel which in the south – if you know the geography of Kathmandu, you will get it. And on top of that, my urinary bladder was fighting to burst out. Murphy’s law all over.

I am not trying to judge that guy because later I felt glad that at least he had his workshop open. But still. May be he already had a tiring day. May be he was not feeling well. May be his wife had dumped him. I am not making any guesses. But, if I’m trying to pay for his service, he better get right at it. It’s not that just because I pay, I take granted for services people offer to me. I still say “dhanyabaad” even when I’m the one taking out the money.

So what was his huge mistake? He just lost a client. And may be, some goodwill.

I am never going back to his workshop again. I know it’s not in my area and chance of having a flat tire again near his workshop is very very slim. But still. I am never going there, nor will I recommend anyone to go there. Even though I also know for sure that my not going to his place won’t ruin his business.

But this is not only about that puncture-taalney guy alone. You have probably met similar people in restaurants, shops, stores, or offices. The waiter in a restaurant who looks at you as if you are interrupting him. The shopkeeper who speaks to you as if he has to pay to open his mouth. The receptionist who doesn’t even look toward you when you ask for information. The government officer who deliberately keeps delaying your work. The teller in the bank who keeps talking with a coworker even in the presence of a customer. And, the political leaders? I don’t want to even talk about them. This phenomenon or attitude is like our national characteristic installed in our genes.

So, what do I learn from this? I am a teacher aiming to be a great teacher trainer some day and besides ‘teaching’, I am also trying to build and maintain certain goodwill. In other words, I am building my brand. To be honest, I’ve acted like that puncture-taalney guy several times (I am certainly not beyond criticism) but now I will always keep this incident in my mind. Because every time I act like him, I actually destroy my dreams. And if you do that, so will you.

If you agree with me or find this blog useful, just shoot me a comment! I would love to hear from you.

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7 thoughts on “101. Lesson from a puncture-taalney guy

  1. I can totally relate with this situation and THAT attitude. Sometimes i wonder if this is the one and only way to do business in nepal or if all of us have got used to of this kind of behavior that we don’t even want to bother talking about it.

    All of us have ended up as satisfied customer in some restaurants/stores but we’ve never been able to be the raving fans or THEY, who own the business have never been able to make us their raving fans. Like you mentioned above, they act like as if we are interrupting them by paying our money to buy the product that they have at their shop for SALE!

    Not only this, i have also experienced the difference in behavior when shopkeeper treats you depending on your nationalities. One nepali being cold to another nepali just because he/she is nepali and the same person giving the world-class treatment to foreigners. People have never learned the behavioral values and maintaining the trusts, have they? I am a vegan, i find myself hard to go to vegetarian restaurant than non-veg ones because i doubt if shopkeeper is telling the truth when he tells me that there is no ghee is veg-momo. People do not care if you are a vegan or not, they don’t even want to know about it but all they care is one day business accepting the fact that the vegan customer would never get back. In fact they don’t even want to get her back just because she will ask you about the ingredients of their freaking veg-momo which they don’t even know of! (mukh chadnu man lagney types :@@)

    • Thanks for sharing your story. This general complacency and deep rooted discrimination are the reasons why Nepal is where it is. Hope we can change this one step at a time.

  2. You are correct in one way, this attitude is ingrained in us. But i think all humanity shares this attitude, except that in many societies, it is tempered with social conditioning and necessity. It entails that we are not at fault at individual level, but we need to work on social consciousness. And as a teacher, although many will scoff- another ingrained response, you have a greater share to perform to bring about the change. Blaming others is the exact thing that will lead to complacency.

  3. Well there you go, another thing to add on the long list of places for improvement for nepalese people. Customer service ko ta kurai nagarau na, people cant even afford to be nice to another person!
    I was getting my wisdom tooth taken out at a dentist’s in lazimpat. For some reason the anesthetic was taking its own sweet time to work, and i could feel the dentist pulling my teeth and it was bloody painful. Soon waterworks followed involuntarily against my own pride. And there was this nurse standing beside the dentist who thought her thoughts would be worth tuppence and said to me ” runu chai kina paryo ni?”
    The nerve of that woman! I felt like strapping her on the chair and pulling every one of her tooth out drugs free!
    Anyways my point is what she said contradicted her whole profession!
    So yeah, not going there anytime in both near and distant future!

  4. Nice one umps.. or mues. Liked your story and i agree with you… we are all that puncture talney guy sometimes. Its a social rot. All these guys are the product of our families, our societies and our communities. They are us. But will surely keep your story in mind from now on. I can remember myself acting like that quite few times. Thank you.

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