Sunday, June 26, 2005

Differential pricing issues

A few months ago Amit Varma had written about an email from Karthik about whether entry fee to tourist sites should necessarily be the same for Indians and foreigners. I had found nothing wrong in this differential pricing for 2 reasons.

1. It is becoming an accepted practice around the world to have differential pricing of goods.
2. Foreigners can usually afford to pay the dollar charges.
3. From a different perspective, the diff pricing was a way of charging foreigners more for them to relish our cultural heritage, while Indians arent expected to shell out that much money to experience what is essentially their own.

Not all would agree with my reasoning, but after yesterday's trip to Mahabs I'm convinced there should NOT be differential pricing at tourist sites. Reason? Nothing to do with the fairness of charging different prices per se. But the fact that this rule provides extra discretionary powers to the babu sitting at the counter distributing tickets. This babu in Mahabs was demanding a Bengali tourist family to either pay the dollar rate, or provide proof of their citizenship. It was only when someone who knew the local language Tamil intervened that the babu backed off - albeit grudgingly. As it turned out, the someone who intervened was me.

Later we guyz had a good laugh coz two of my accompanying friends had been staying in US for the past two years, and will probably do so for the next 4-5 yrs at least. And one of them was in his shorts! Guess the babu didnt notice that. :) Of course, I did take credit for having pre-empted the babu from asking my friends for proof of Indianness by having intervened in the Bengali family's case. Sadly enough, my friends refused to buy that for the simple reason that I am a manager now. :-(

1 Value-adds:

Blogger Karthik said...

Hmm.. Affordability can never be a criterion for differential pricing. Would you be ok with your local grocer charging software engineers more for rice?

Plus it is just plain cheap to exploit visitors to the country - tourism can make a lot of money, provided we make efforts to make visitors feel welcome. Discriminating against them by charging them more is being penny-wise.

June 28, 2005 9:55 PM  

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