Much is said and written about the famed “Delhi Book Store” on Ansari Road, Daryaganj; but my experience in the above store was one that has made me averse to any further visit, with the cause being the sheer impoliteness and rude behavior of the staff.
Having won a Rs.1000 coupon at the Lady Hardinge Medical College fest in late September, I made my way to the shop hoping to add to my collection a few books that I had been eyeing for some time now. My first major shock was the non-availability of many major best sellers in a place that prides in calling itself ‘Asia’s Largest Book Showroom’. Books such as ‘A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, ‘2001:A Space Odyssey’, ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘The Elegant Universe’ were apparently not in their bibliography. Frustrated by a fruitless search for over half-an-hour, I asked the ‘May I Help You’ desk if I can exchange my coupon for cash or probably pre-order a couple of books and then pick them up later, only to hear a one-word reply, “NO”. So much for manners, I thought. I was then re-directed to a senior gentleman who would apparently handle my problem. He asked me to sign the coupon and then placed a thick book having a title relating to ‘Clinical Consulting’ on the table with the “direct” instruction of “Take it and leave”. I tried to explain to him that being an engineering student, I have no possible use for a medical book, but the gentleman refused to listen and became more and more irritable. When I finally pointed to the title of the book and said, “Sir, as you can clearly see, this is a book for medical students, I am an Engineering student. Can I at least have a book relating to Engineering?” He reproached me by repeatedly shouting at me to “not be impolite”, when in fact I was speaking in an extremely polite manner and it was the gentleman who was shouting. Annoyed, I asked him one last time, “Sir, will I get an engineering book for this or not?” He replied with a strong “No”. I tore the coupon and left the shop.
What I found disturbing was the fact that:
1. This store claims to be Asia’s Largest Book Showroom and yet, didn’t have international best sellers in their list.
2. The shabby treatment on the part of the staff who viewed their customers as pains and people who they must get rid off as soon as possible.
3. The high-handed attitude shown by the ‘May I Help You’ desk.
4. The geriatric gentleman, who seems to be a relic of Auschwitz and believes that to not do exactly as he says is a form of impoliteness and being rude.
5. The fact that I lost Rs.1000 which I had earned on the basis of my talents due to the downright arrogant and uncouth behavior of a book store staff.
I am now completely averse to ever setting foot into that shop again and doubt that I will ever do so again. It is my humble request that event organizers do not hand out coupons of Delhi Book Store as prizes in the future, because if winning means having to tolerate such “customer service”, I would rather think twice before partcipating.