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The lady in Blue October 21, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in india, people.

A little about Blue in her own words :

Hi. I’m Blue. That’s not my real name, of course, but it’s what you can call me while we spend our time together. I’m going to India in August. To Hyderabad, in Andhra Pradesh. I’ve never been to India before. So… this is my plan: to spend the next eight months writing, linking, connecting, and sharing everything I learn. If you jump on board now, you can follow me through the entire trip.

While in India, blue kinda gets into redistributionist mode. šŸ™‚

In Bangalore I have finally met the “please let me take you to this emporium” auto drivers. They tell me that they will get books for their children, shirts for their backs, cans of petrol for their autos, if I will only take the time to stop into one or two stores.

All she has to do is to agree to get to some store, mouth a particular code name (kinda like the Ba-llywood movies)Ā  so that the merchant can map that to auto driver using his hash table memory, and then she has to hang around there for a bit and leave ! And this auto driver gets paid for having ‘won’ a customer.

Now perhaps the merchant thinks that though blue has not made any purchases, she may show up the next time she really needs to. But if there are so many blues, the merchant is going to come up with additional clauses to pay the auto driver, perhaps that the customer must actually buy something. If the auto driver is pissed off with the merchant A though, he is going to strike a deal with the his rival merchant B and is going to give some seriously bad publicity to merchant A.

So this whole thing is kinda complicated. Academically, textbook-ally speaking (while also putting on the hat of a (libertarian) political scientist), it would also have been morally reprehensible had there been an element of coercion which I don’t really see. Each of the parties – merchant, auto driver, blue – can at any time withdraw from the ‘transaction’. But hey cmon, she is just having some fun.

Whatever. Meanwhile Blue, enjoy the truly Incredible India.

Linked through Abi.



1. Sanjika - October 22, 2007

I had a similar experience while visiting Taj Mahal. The auto driver took me to a handicraft village on the way. From what I understood he too get some benefit from this deal.

2. Sharath Rao - October 22, 2007

LOL man…imagining you asking the rick to wait and he just cudnt care less…but why did you appear as a foreigner to him ?? Or did you ? Or they take just about any outsider ?

3. Deepak Krishnan - October 22, 2007

i faced a similar scenario when touring chandigarh in the summer of 2005. but there it was more to do with auto drivers taking you to hotels to which they were “commissionally” attached šŸ˜€

4. Vineeta - October 22, 2007

It is a common marketing strategy used by tour companies in Europe. The tour guides always take you to specific restaurants and souvenir shops, etc, by saying that the best deals can be found here, even though better deals can be found elsewhere.
At least in this case the auto driver was honest enough to admit that he receives commission which will supplement his income.

5. Sharath Rao - October 23, 2007

Vineeta : Oh..thats a good example to know šŸ™‚ …I agree we must give credit to the rick guy for his ‘verbal disclaimer’ so to speak. šŸ™‚

DK : I have heard of cases where doctors running small clinics refer to particular nursing homes/hospitals for X rays or advanced tests and then getting a commission on that. Also unconfirmed reporst about ricks getting paid to bring emergency patients to particular clinics or out patients to particular pharmacies in Manipal.

6. Blue - October 24, 2007

Thanks for the link!

7. sharath rao - October 24, 2007

You are welcome šŸ™‚

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