Yesterday Bindu and I went to the Phoenix City Mall in Velachery, Chennai.
After a long time, for a change, we went with a clear intent to shop. We have been going through a bit of a challenging phase in Chennai for the last three weeks. Our beloved Skoda Yeti got submerged upto the dashboard level for about two days and hence became a total loss vehicle. The ground floor of our Pallikaranai home was in three feet of water for about 3-4 days damaging a number of household items. After following up with our car insurance company to settle our insurance claim, we had finally moved towards a win win solution. In the next couple of days, our insurance claim will be settled.
Given this background, we decided to go to the mall to do some shopping. One of the shops that we went to was SPORT XS at the lower GF level. We wanted to buy specific accessories for our cycles. Bindu then noticed a set of sports shoes that were beautifully crafted, of the brand ASICS. This is a brand that her ISB batch mate Narayanan, from TCS, a marathon runner, had strongly recommended. The salesperson at this shop who attended to us was a young, pleasant and good looking boy by the name Shaun. While Bindu loved the pair of shoes for their fit, design, comfort and bright colours, the price at Rs 12000 plus put it off our shopping list. Shaun explained in great detail the uniqueness of the design, fit and comfort despite being told by Bindu that she will not buy the ASICS shoes at all because of the price factor. When Bindu said that she didn’t want him to feel discouraged because she won’t buy, he promptly replied saying, you won’t buy today, but when you think of buying later, you may consider buying from here, so am not discouraged at all. Amazing attitude !!
He then showed us lesser expensive versions of the brand that were almost as good as the more expensive ones. This entire process of searching, selecting, testing, finalising and buying the shoes took almost an hour during which Shaun displayed patience, product knowledge, perseverance and a big smile, right through. Without any expectation whatsoever. We ended up buying a pair of shoes for each of us. Its a rare quality with salespersons in the retail industry today who continue to give you attention inspite of being told that you may not buy. In fact some of the salespersons in other outlets that we had visited in the same mall earlier showed lack of interest and ignorance. Actually a girl in the Reebok showroom looked elsewhere as Bindu asked her for a particular shoe !!
As we were about to complete the billing, it was time to thank Shaun and enquire about his background as we always do with interesting people that we meet. Shaun had to discontinue his studies after completing his higher secondary exams with good marks as his father lost money in business. Shaun had to pitch in to support the family. His parents are also not in good health making the economic recovery difficult. We explained to Shaun the importance of pursuing education and the opportunities that come with higher education. We have given him our visiting card and have asked him to be in touch with us so that we can help him to complete his higher education.
Well, what started as shopping therapy ended up being soul therapy!