When ‘service tax’ serves no purpose, BL On Campus, April 2013

What do we pay a ‘service’ tax or charge for, when we go to a restaurant? Apparently for the intangible ‘service ‘ element by the staff – which I find lacking in several restaurants in Chennai, the city where I live. The lack of concern for this basic element of business was reiterated to me in a stark manner, thanks to the rude behaviour of a cashier at a take-away counter. It was bad enough that a staff could get away with treating a customer badly. What makes it worse is the lack of a channel where by a customer can ask for their rightful due. The article was published in The Hindu Business Line – On Campus on April 14, 2013.

Last Saturday, I left office later than usual, and decided to pick up my dinner from a fast food outlet along the way.

The place was packed with people, and while I waited behind three or four people at one counter, I saw a man sneak past everyone, say something to the cashier, hand over money, and take his food.

A couple of people grumbled but that was all. When it was my turn, I placed my order and then asked the cashier why he had allowed someone to cut through the queue.

“Oh, that man has parked his car in a No Parking zone outside, so I helped him out,” came the nonchalant reply, accompanied by a defiant stare.

“So, the rest of us should also park our cars in No Parking zones to be served? I have an auto waiting for me – does that give me the right to push past other people?” I retorted.

“You are talking as if I gave him some privileges because he is my relative. What’s the big deal?” the cashier replied aggressively

A few minutes later, when I asked for the manager, he came forward. But until I asked for him, he didn’t bother to tell off his staff for being rude to a customer.

Anyway, he apologised and said he would take necessary action – and took down my phone number with the promise of informing me about it as well.

I have yet to receive the promised phone call.

(The article continues – read it in full at the Business Line On Campus website: When ‘service tax’ serves no purpose)


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