The Extortionists!

Extortionists, as you know are the people who charge excessively or exorbitantly or use their position illegally!

And I had the misfortune of meeting and dealing with not just one Extortionist but a whole brigade of them, during the recent shifting of our base from Jammu to Jaipur.
This whole thing of packing and then unpacking and settling is one long process. And during this process you meet the various categories of Extortionists.

1. The Sophisticated Suckers: These are the guys who install the ACs, LCD TV with Home Theatre System, Aquaguard, Tata Sky, Geysers etc in your home. And I prefer to use the services of authorised company service centres for installing the various gadgets. Reasons… they are professional and also you have Annual Maintenance Contracts for the products.

Though their charges are fixed as per the company policy still they’d find ways and means of charging a bit extra. How? They have this unique trait of finding faults in the existing wires, plugs, cables, faucets etc and readily ‘assist’ you in making the decision by taking out the said new part from their workbags. Since, these fixtures/spare parts are not from the company and they had purchased the same from the local Electric/Hardware store, so they ‘inform’ you of the price which is always more than the MRP. And since you are…

  • amidst a sea of cartons and a mass of organised mess
  • a zillion things away from a settled home
  • also you are in a hurry to get everything fixed
  • and you don’t have the time and energy to go to the local store and get the said part yourself.

Hence, you ask them to use the ‘needed’ part and pay for whatever they ask! These are the Sophisticated Extortionists.

2. The Soft Stealers: The maids, dhobhis, drivers and car cleaners are the Soft Extortionists. You ask them their charges and it’s always more than the current going rate. Since you have already checked with the neighbours while chatting with them in the lift, you tell these fellows the current rate and they readily agree to work on that price without a word. But if you are not well informed, you are susceptible to their claims and demands.

3. The Ludicrous Looters : These are the electricians, plumbers, carpenters (for polishing the furniture which gets a bit damaged in transit and drilling work for hanging the various things). And these are guys who charge exorbitantly as compared to the labour they put in. One fellow took the entire day’s pay (Rs. 300 as per daily wages) for just an hour of work. While the drilling guy took Rs. 1200 for 3 hours of work!! It was so shocking and there is no arguing with them.

And before they start the work, they ask for the money to buy the raw material. So you give them whatever amount they ask and also ask them to get the bill for the same. It’s a rule, they’d get the bill for the entire amount and will never ever return even a rupee from that. Also it’s always a temporary bill!!

4 The Creepy Corrupts: Here, I had the mostest baddest luck to meet 2 guys. One was the delivery guy who had come to deliver a new piece of furniture that we bought from a show room. The show room guy told me pay him the delivery charges. I asked him the amount and he told me that the delivery man will tell me the same. After asking the delivery man and not getting any amount from him, I gave Rs. 100 to him (The furniture had come from half a kilometre distance from our home) and it was so shocking that he threw the money down with contempt and started hurling abuses. I was rooted to the spot for a few seconds and when the initial shock subsided, gave him Rs. 100 more and just asked him to GET LOST in the most nastiest voice I could muster! GOD! I can never forget this! Such a creep he was!

And the second one was the Sweeper. Once we had organised everything, all cartons discarded, all installations and fixtures done, it was time to clean the house thoroughly. We asked a maid to do the same, she agreed but never turned up on the given time. All efforts to find another one were falling flat and then somebody suggested that we ask the building sweeper to clean the home. He came and I asked him about his charge for doing the sweeping and mopping the floor. He coolly says Rs. 200. I reasoned with him that a maid takes Rs. 500 for the entire month (which works out to Rs. 17 per day) and he should be taking a max of Rs. 50 for the job. And he turned back to wear his shoes!! I tried next for Rs. 100 and he didn’t even say a word. And since, the cleaning had to be done that day, so I agreed to give him Rs. 200 for just sweeping and mopping the floor and that too in a very unclean way!

Have moved so many times and I have always got these jobs done myself but this time the ulcers, the stress and the amount spend was way too much!

What’s your take on this, “Frown or crib” or simply say, ““Heck, what’s a little extortion among ‘friends’?”!!