Why is it?

Why is it that when I buy stocks using an online trading service, money is instantly deducted from my account, but when I sell stocks using the same service, I will get money after two working days?

Why is it that when there is a false transaction in my telephone/credit card/travel bill and I raise a dispute, I have to pay first and then prove that the transaction is false and then if proven, expect the refund in some weeks?

Why is it that when I purchase something using my credit card, the dues on my card go up immediately, but when I make an online payment, it would take 2-3 days for the “transaction to reflect” in the balance?

Why is it that when I use a prepaid service (shopping card, mobile phone) and the company has deducted an elephantine sum from my balance, I have no way of talking to a human in the company about this?

And after all this, why am I being given the sugar-pill that I, being the customer, am a King, and am most important to these large corporations running these businesses?

Is the individual so downtrodden and helpless in this corporation-led economy?

You won’t sell to me?

The other day I went to a medicine shop and asked for a medicine from a prescription. The pack of 10 costs four-fifty. I open the wallet and find that the smallest paper currency I have is a fifty. The second smallest? Five hundred! And the loose change all totalled up to two rupees fifty.

I gave an apologetic sigh and offered the shopkeeper the fifty hoping that he’d give me change. With a stern look the shopkeeper took back the medicines from my hand, gave me a hand signal denoting refusal and put the medicine back in the shelf, without saying a word. I asked him why. And he says “We won’t entertain this”. That’s all.

I walk over to the next shop, which was like two blocks away, enter it. The guy looks friendly. I thought let’s take a chance. So I asked him for the medicine, and while he’s taking it out of the shelf, I casually ask “You have change for fifty, don’t you?”. He looks back at me, and politely says “No”, keeping the medicine back in the shelf.

So I ask him, “You are a shop. How come you don’t have change?” to which his response is “If you can’t produce change for 4.50, how do you expect us to keep change for 45.50?”

So is having a bigger note worthless if you’re buying a small item? I know that if you offer a pan-wallah a thousand rupee note for a five rupee cigarette it’s absurd, but this is not a difference of 995 we’re talking about or a small pan-wallah. Both shops were decent-sized medicine shops, which I’ve grown up seeing and buying from. What is the reason for their refusal? Is short change really short in the market? Is day-to-day liquidity so low that people are clinging on to any short change they have and are refusing business? Or is it just a stand they have taken that they will not entertain business which makes them do this ‘heavy work’ of counting and returning change?

What use is a bigger currency note if I cannot buy small things with it? I had over a thousand rupees with me right then, but I could not buy medicines worth less than ten rupees.

If there is a liquidity problem, then it is worrying. But if the problem is in the mindsets of the store owners, then it is ridiculous. If they are facing a real short change problem, I think they should offer other channels of payment. Accept credit/debit/charge cards, accept cheques.

Why lose business over this issue, and why dishonour a customer even when he has more money than needed for the transaction?