Security.. Security! Smart or Dumb?

Vibrant arch heads, colorful lanterns, vivid decorations & the entrance door welcoming you with the traditional ‘Happy Diwali’ memento. This is the sight which is commonly seen in the cities during the Diwali season. It’s a sight to behold & relish the festivities & the delicacies seen all around. Walk into any sweet mart & you’ll be amazed to see the exceptional variety on offer. Yummy!

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Just as I rushed into one of my favorite sweet marts, I was greeted like, “Sahab, bag bahar rakhiye. Madam purse seal karvaiye. Yeh raha token.” And I was like “what the… ?” With all the decorative things & the sweets lined up inside how can the customer be greeted like this? I thought. Security is essential I agree but then there’s something called as ‘welcoming the guests’ I presumed. I sighed and followed all his instructions & was about to rush inside & probably get to taste some mouth-watering stuff, I thought.  But I was abruptly stopped again. “Sir, ek minute. Yeh billing token lijiye pehle. Jaate samay counter pe de dena.” “Damn!” I muttered. Is hospitality extinct over here?

Shops these days have CCTVs & all kinds of other security systems. Then I wonder why they can’t welcome the customers especially during the festive times with a smile and the warmth that “Please come & shop all you want with us.” Anywhere you go you’ll find all the lavish decorations & designer hallways & entrances only to be stopped by the security guards & other personnel to make you realize that before a customer you’re a threat to the security of their shop/outlet. All of us know the drill of entering a mall or nowadays even these big sweet marts & shoe showrooms. The security personnel are of course doing their duty, so it’s the people in charge which annoy me with these gimmicks.

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There was a time once not too long ago when I used to head to my favorite sweet mart & be amazed with colorful sweets on display & not even hesitate to ask the guy across the counter to give 2-3 of them to taste. They’d have smiles on their faces & the generosity to give the customers what they wish and keep those security customs for the latter part. But now, security comes first & the warmth comes later; if at all the shopkeepers have something left of it.

I wonder if taken a poll, who would vote for the good old shops open for them with just the entrance door being the obstacle & who would prefer these modern, highly secure & eye popping outlets?

Is security trumping the hospitality? Or is this the right path for everyone? Do let me know. Please comment & share.

Chinmay Bapat

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