An award winning essay by K.B. Khushalani



11. The manufacturer and the consumer

There are two more classes of people who have dealings in trade, but are not traders. A trader necessarily is one who purchases certain goods and sells them at a profit. He is the middle man between the manufacturer and the con­sumer, the two classes of people under consideration. Both these have one sided dealings, the one sells and the other only purchases, and, because of their restricted dealings, they are not so tactful as the trader

The manufacturing class includes the artisan who prepares articles with his own hands on a small scale.  He is generally poor, and his business, like that of the manufacturer, depends upon the quality of the manu­factured articles.   He can retain his customers only if he continues using good raw materials and producing good stuff.

12. Psychology of the consumer

The consumer is a purchaser on a very small scale, but because of his existence in large numbers, he is the most important member of the trading circle, and, because every article has ultimately to go to him, his pleasure, and, choice is considered supreme. Both the manufacturer and the trader try to adopt their policy according to his taste. He purchases articles for his or his friends' and relatives' use. He wants good stuff and at a reasonable price; he frequents only those places where both these conditions are satisfied; and thus he always prefers an honest shopkeeper. He is reliant and will continue attending the same as long as nothing happens to break his faith which, if once broken, requires a very great effort to restore.  To make new customers, they say, is difficult, but to retain them is still more difficult.

Thus perpetual honesty is required to attract new customers and to retain old ones. Carelessness in this matter never pays the dealer, but will rather harm him. One may give away anything of one's own accord or on demand, but never when he knows he is being cheated; he then feels much pain and many are actuated to revenge, when they know that they have been cheated. Further the consumer likes to make purchases from such shops as maintain fixed rates, for he is not a trader and naturally not so well versed in the line. Therefore be may not know the current prices of articles, especially of those that he occa­sionally requires. In a fixed-rate-shop he may have to pay a slightly higher price, but he feels sure that lie will not be cheated for a big sum, which is generally the case in shops where no uniform rates are charged, and where the shop-keeper tries to snatch as much as he can from the customer, the more so when he gets the clue that he has no definite knowledge of prices of the article.

The shopkeepers are usually clever enough to understand this at once from the manner of his enquiring. From what has been said above, it is absolutely clear that the shopkeeper can cheat the same man only once. A dishonest dealer can make successful business, when he gets every day new faces to deceive, and has to deal daily with different men not known to one another and not expected to meet one Another; or, if at all they meet' they should not speak about the purchases made by them on that day or any of the previous days, so that everybody else remains in the dark and never knows about the dishonesty of the man unless he gets a chance to be cheated himself. This however, is an utterly impossible condition to realize. Or dishonesty may pay, where people are suppressed due to pres­sure of one's superiority or where heads are corrupt; but such conditions do not exist in the business world, and where they exist, they never last long.


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