For some stuff in life, you have alternatives. But for others, you don't. Atta is top of the list. I don't have any source of atta around where I live and so we have to make that trip to Little India once in a few months to lug back atta, rajma, paneer and masalas. All that changed when I came across a website for ordering all the Indian groceries I wanted and more! I could not believe my eyes. Here, in front of me, was a seemingly functional website, where I could just click on the items I wanted and they would deliver it to my doorstop. Like real. (You will understand my amazement when I tell you that recently we ordered dinner using the website of a very popular Indian restaurant, and in spite of getting a confirmation SMS and an email, the food did not arrive. When we called, we were told that their records did not show any order. If these guys ran Pizza Hut or McDonalds, it would shut down within the hour.)
So with trembling fingers, and a heart that was beating fast with a mixture of hope and amazement, I placed the order (minimum $80 for free delivery). I received the confirmation email that the delivery would be made the next day, but from my experience with such emails, they don't mean anything in the Indian world. Add to the fact that the payment terms were cash or cheque upon delivery, I had little hope of the stuff making it to my doorstep. Ever.
The next morning, I received a call from them to tell me that they would deliver within the next hour or so.
[So the website was functional! 10 points!]
Frankly speaking, I'd had no hope, so I'd been out with Xena, lunching with a few friends when they called. I told them that I might not be home so fast and asked them if they could deliver a little later. They said their delivery zones and timings were fixed and asked me if it was safe to keep the stuff outside my door if I was not at home. I said ok, and only after hanging up did I realise that we had not discussed how I would pay them if they simply left the stuff outside my door.
[So they trusted the customer to make the payment later? Wow. 10 points!]
Anyway, I managed to be home by the time they said they'd deliver.
[They delivered on time! 10 points!]
After the delivery guy left, I checked the items and realised there was a mistake with the most critical item of all -- my precious atta!
[Wrong item delivered! Minus 20 points!]
So I called up their customer service hotline.
[No annoying automated service! No annoying music! A live human picked up! Within two rings! 40 points!]
"Hi, I'd ordered Pillsbury atta but some Aashirwad atta was delivered to me instead."
"You don't want the Aashirwad atta?"
[Duh! For annoying an already annoyed customer, minus 10 points!]
"No, I want my Pillsbury atta."
"You want your Pillsbury atta... Hmmm... Ok ma'am, we will make the replacement delivery on Thursday."
[No one came on Thursday. Minus 20 points.]
I called them on Friday. The hotline rerouted to some mobile number and the guy told me he was outside and would call me back within half an hour.
[Two hours. Nobody called. Minus 20 points.]
I was beginning to get really annoyed. The 5-kg bag of Aashirwad atta was lying on the kitchen counter, mocking me. Saying "Use me!"
I called the hotline again.
"Hi, this is about the atta exchange. You said you'd call me back in half an hour. It's been almost two hours and I didn't get any call."
There was a pause and then he spoke. His exact words were (I kid you not):
"Oh. Ma'am, I was just thinking about you."
[Ok fine, 10 points for the originality of the excuse and another 10 for making me laugh out loud.]