Friday, November 22, 2013

The new age of Indian online retail - The case of

It has been a while since I have blogged. It has also been a while since I have felt strongly about something.

Welcome to the new age of online retail in India. You find everything right from clothing to kitchen ware to bedroom furniture in a few clicks. Electronics and books have always been available online - Atleast as far as my memory goes back. (I do need to get myself checked for 'Amnesia' - Wiki says it is curable though !!)

My abode in Pune was frequently seeing guests and there was a need to transform the bachelor's accommodation into something that is more livable (for lack of a better word). So comes the decision to jazz up a bit - Now, being who I am, the word 'Jazz up' doesn't go too well with me. I get a couple of beds that are good enough for a few nights. I have been using my good old sleeping bag for those cold nights - however, it is not a commonly used solution for cold. Most people are better off with blankets - I get a couple of them too.

Now comes the tricky part - Kitchen. I have been using my mountain stove for cooking (Please excuse my usage of words - what I 'cook' cannot be placed in the category of cooking). Nevertheless, with a liter of petrol (Kerosone is tough to get!), I can go for a fortnight without a refill. It may not be the most efficient and eco-friendly way of cooking but seems a good bet under the current circumstances. I re-fuel and use it on demand. This sounds pretty much like SaaS (Stove as a Service and not Software as a Service!) - I was excited and life went on smoothly.

But the thought of my guests going through a hardship convinced me to get an 'induction stove'.

I browse through and others like Flipkart, ebay and Amazon. I found my perfect fit at I had never heard of this name before. I am usually quite cautious when it comes to online purchases - I have been purchasing a lot of stuff online but mostly from trusted companies. It was the 30th of October and Saturn was busy plotting a wicked plot against me. I had no clue that this was a plot that was more twisted than the human DNA.

I fall into the trap.

I ordered an 'induction stove' from I called them immediately to check if there is way to shorten delivery times from the current  '7-8' business days. I have received shipments in 2-3 business days on most of my purchases before. I am assured that delivery would be done in 3-4 business days but it cannot be guaranteed. Now, the difference between an 'assurance' and a  'guarantee' is the same as the difference between 'water resistant' and 'water proof'. As for the latter, I realized that on a dark rainy night on a ~13000ft peak in Colorado. And, as it turns out, I realize the true meaning of 'assurance' after this episode with

I call them every 3 business days from the time I ordered till today. I was given an 'Airway bill number' that supposedly belonged to Blue Dart. I tried to track delivery on Blue Dart website - Apparently, that number neither belonged to Blue Dart nor did it belong to 'Muggles'. I called Blue Dart and I get an audio confirmation of the same. I was told to seek help from Hogwarts to track the shipment. Looked like my stove was 'Evanesco'ed by somebody !!

There was a positive twist too. There was always a new excuse every time to keep me entertained. First it was Deepavali, then it was 'fault with dispatcher' and then it was 'damaged parcel from retailer' and then today, 'being processed'. I have gone a full circle in 23 days.

I haven't received the shipment and I have no clue whatsoever as to what happened to it. Maybe Albus knows !!!, Good Bye and God Bless.

The author, after being subjected to immense psychological strain over the last 3 weeks, has cancelled the order half an hour back. He intends to take this to consumer court if he doesn't receive a full refund.

Terms and their meaning:
Goodbye - The author does not intend to visit again and neither does he intend to recommend this site to anyone.
God Bless -, if you would like to survive in the harsh world of online retail, you need to pull up your socks quite high !

I guess, with the advent of third party resell, these delays are bound to occur more frequently. The online resellers are no more in full control. Well, Amazon does have a solution !.

All thoughts are personal and are based on true events. Of course, we can agree to disagree if you don't trust my short term memory !