Do you see how people haggle with the rickshaw wallah for Rs.5 or Rs.10? It really looks stupid, especially when the same people gladly spend insane amounts at outlets like McDonald’s, Benetton, Barista and Dominos. Do you ever haggle at these places? Do you ever tell the Benetton salesperson that since you can get a better quality T-shirt on the street for Rs.150, you are not going to pay Rs.1500 for an inferior quality T-shirt from their outlet? No, you gladly purchase it just for the brand. In fact while you are being screwed, you feel privileged.
Similarly when you’re screwing the rickshaw wallah, consciously or unconsciously, you are feeling privileged. When I use the word “screwing” I don’t mean that you really mean it. No decent person wants to screw a rickshaw wallah. But it has become our habit to haggle with the poor and gladly pay big-brand outlets without blinking an eye. And that too when you’re not even getting good quality stuff.
The attitude must be totally the opposite. How does it even matter if the rickshaw wallah is charging you Rs.10 extra? Do you ever ask at Globus how they decided that a shirt should cost Rs.1200? You simply pay, or you don’t buy.
The rickshaw wallah on the other hand is a poor chap. He uses his physical strength to battle the rickshaw. Whether it is hot or cold he has to work really hard to make both ends meet. Whatever money you pay him, it is going to help him. This money is not going to go into some rich corporation’s coffers.
We have this strange attitude when it comes to spending some money on the poor, especially from our own country. When we were living in NOIDA they used to pay Rs.1.50 to the building dhobi per piece he and his family ironed. The going rate at that time in other buildings was Rs.2. Just because he and his family had no option (these dhobis are, understandably, very territorial) the building residents wouldn’t pay an extra Rs.0.50. There were many households who regularly had Rs.500 pizza.
Of course it’s up to you how and where you want to spend your money, but how much would it hurt you to give Rs.10 extra to the rickshaw wallah even if you think that he is cheating you or overcharging you? You are not going to go bankrupt. Rs.5 save here and Rs.10 there aren’t going to make you rich. If you want to save money, stop spending on junk food and overpriced brands.
So the next time you use a rickshaw, don’t even ask how much he is going to charge before mounting. When you have reached your destination, ask him what is the amount, and then just pay.