11 March, 2007

New life again

Days are rolling and things are changing. New Year has brought in a new job for me, but far from home. So, now I have become a weekend dad. My new job is at Manchester and I need to travel from home which is London. Since I love travelling by train, I am enjoying my journeys every week.

It is nice experience to travel. The so called Pendolina trains are great. They travel at a maximum speed of 140 mph. You would have heard about a train accident in UK recently. The train involved was Pendolina. In the train accident, only one elderly lady who was above 80 and was in the next compartment to the Engine died. There were few who were injured. None of the windows of the train broke. It was so robustly built. The accident was due to some fault on the track.

I had to travel the very next day after the accident. There were no worries in my mind since I love travelling. I meet lot of people, but hardly few who smile at you. Every week I wanted to write about my experiences. Since I do not carry laptop to my hotels, could not browse from the hotel. The hotel accommodation is good except for the receptionists.

By the way, I had a strange experience when I checked out after my first week. I check out every Friday and get back to the same hotel on Sunday night. During my first weekend, I was shocked to see that I was charged for 14 days ( ie. for 2 weeks instead of 1 week). Luckily I checked my bill, and expressed it to the receptionist. I had to fight hard to explain it to the receptionist. The second bill was produced and again it had errors in it. I checked it and found that I was charged for 7 days where as I had stayed only 5 days. Again, I pointed out to the receptionist, and this time her expressions are left to your imagination. The third bill was there and I paid it, and confirmed twice whether she had booked me for the next week.

Few weeks before I had purchased few DVD’s at discounted price in one of the chain stores in London. I did not check the receipt since it was for fewer pounds and went home. When I was about to destroy the receipt, I just had a look and was shocked to see that the DVD’s were not of the price it was quoted on the shelf and as well as on top of the DVD’s. I retained the bill and went a week later and got the claim back.

Couple of years before, in one of the photo shop, where I normally process my films, I paid for the bill and went back to work. While at work I was shocked to see that I was charged twice the amount for developing a film when I looked at the receipt. The normal procedure here is, when we are told the amount, we place our credit card on the machine, and key in our pin number. Then they give the receipt and we return home. But I realised that we need to check since the error has occurred. What has happened is, somehow the salesman had keyed in a wrong amount, while he said the right amount. Probably it was the amount of the previous receipt which he had in mind or so. Luckily since it was a shop where I go frequently and the salesman remembered my transaction, he refunded the excess amount back to me.

So, however though I learnt that we should check the amount twice, at times it is not practically possible to do so, when the queue is long, or when we need to rush out due to other commitments.

In this electronic world, we cannot take anything for granted and we need to check however twice. Especially the shopping receipts and big bills should be checked spontaneously.

In the same chain stores when I bought a new travel bag I checked twice at the shelf that the suitcase was marked as 7 pounds. When it was brought for billing, the till clerk said it does not have a tag and requested help from his senior. His manager came and went to the shelf and came back with a tag and handed it over to the till. The clerk scanned it, and said that it costs 35 pounds. I was not prepared to pay and objected that it was wrong. He argued that it was brought in by his manager, and she is very experienced, and cannot make mistake. I looked at the tag brought in by his manager, and mentioned that it had a different description about the product than the one I had picked. So, he requested another senior staff to check it again. I requested my son to accompany the staff and show the shelf and the product. This time the staff returned back and said that I was right. There was a huge crowd in the queue waiting with patience.

The clerk was embarrassed, and gave me the correct bill.

I whispered “The boss is not always right” in his ears, while thanking my son for his compliments about me.


sowmya said...

Glad to know that u like J.krishnamoorti.its nice to see people who has the taste of living.

Jo said...

I imagine the situation whn you whispered “The boss is not always right” and can smile. :-)

Sundar Narayanan said...

Balaji Sir,

this happens a lot. We ate at an Indian restaurant.. just some Chai and chat items which was 6 7 dollars. When I signed the credit card receipt I did not put anythign on the tip or the total. we found later that they added a 3$ tip to the bill. went back and asked. their response, if you dont specify the total, they sometimes add tips to the final amount!! after that everytime there is no bearer or delivery involved (where we just take things from the counter), I put a zero for tip and fill up the final total line before I sign! So watch out for restaurant bills also! You might be tipping them more if you dont tip at all!

ps. new jobs. same pinch!

Chakra Sampath said...


Good to see you back in blogging. I wanted to call you over the wknd but missed it.

Think all hotel receptionists are the same. i have had a similar experience while staying at Hilton few yrs ago. Best thing abt is that they offered me free vouchers apologising for their mistake.

Kittu said...

glad to see you back with your blogging balaji.

unga train experience superb. even i travel to work by train and i consider it be very relaxing. unga new job'ku my best wishes.

everything in the hotel was good except the receptionist na udanae vera maari nenachuttaen :-) appuram paatha dhaan theriyudhu billing matter nu. yeah, hotels billing issue has become such a common thing across the globe. inga US layum adhae prachanai dhaan

bills sariya deal pannalanna, as you said, it would be always shocking to us...infact i've blamed myself many times for not being attentive and i still keep blaming for many instances. credit card particularly is the ultimate things that has to be checked before paying. kanda transcation irukkum sila time..

all in the massive world of technology, these issuese are always imminent. Happy to see you again.

Jeevan said...

It was good that the trains there are very strong. Traveling is fun for me also. is this train travel through natural places like hills, fields…

You would be missing your children in weekdays know. I could feel how it would be for me, if my dad visits only on weekends. I hope u will be waiting for the weekends to enjoy with ur family; try to write about u weekends here… Take care:)


ambi said...

soooo happy that U r back to form.

//There were no worries in my mind since I love travelling.//
same pinch. i too love travelling.

rgding bills, in UK at least they accept their fault and return their money. here no bills at all.
pattai naamam thaan!

Cyberkitty said...

I would have whispered the famous marketing slogan, 'the customer is King'...a nice post after a long time !

Kavi said...

It reinforces my belief that the problems that we face are universal, but the manifestations of the same are different in different countries. The perception of the west as 'everthing is perfect'is not true, as is evidenced by your note !

congratulations on the new job ! Happy train rides too !

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Well..Well..What can I say, We got to be careful..I see this happen all..all..the time pardon me..especially with Desi stores around, and even Desi doctors...who are notorious to double bill..!! I am fighting about a bill like that..right at this very moment.!!

It's always a good idea to have all the bills..in hand !

Enjoy your new work..and please don't sleep in trains and miss your destination..he..he.! :)

வேதா said...

i too love to travel in trains that too alone:) glad u are back to blogging:)

barbi said...

hi, first time visitor here. nice blog you have got.

Ya it really happens, we are always in a hurry and negligence and false trust, that we never count before we leave. had the shop keeper not remembered you, you could well have been in trouble.

manchester, i wud luv to be there..

Dan said...

I agree with you on checking our bills twice especially in shops where the price of items change almost daily due to some promotion or other.

Balaji S Rajan said...

Sowmya - Thanks. I am glad to say that I have attended his lectures in my young age.

Jo - Glad that you could imagine.

Sundarji - I agree with you. Thanks for alerting me. I am always careful with those bills.
Same pinch...LOL...

Chakra - From next time let me think of staying in Hilton. Atleast I will get some vouchers.

Kittu - What is this? How could you think about the receptionist? Hmm.... ada ponga sir... Nothing was so good as you imagined...

Jeevan - visit www.virgin.co.uk to have a look of those pendolina trains and the inner looks.

Ambi - Thanks for your welcome. Neenga kalakittu irukeenga pola irukey.

Cyber - LOL... That was a nice comment.

Balaji S Rajan said...

Kavi - Yes. The problem we face are universal. Thanks for your wishes. Once when I had shopped in India from a chain stores, I found that the totalling was wrong, and some items which I had not purchased were included. Immediately on calling the stores, they agreed to look into it and admitted their mistakes.

NV - Correct da. But it is a pain to keep track of all the bills. Years before I used to keep them tagged and stapled according to Months. But now finding it too much apart from all other work.

Veda - Thanks for your comments. I have been reading your posts regularly.

Barbi - Thanks for visiting.

Dan - I agree with you.