27 March 2013

Something Other Than Writing

You know I rarely talk about my Real Job on here, it was a policy I started ages ago, back when I was with The Tabloid, and carried over with Indian Express, who objected to employees mentioning work stuff online, and then, I guess it became a habit. But, I'm going to blur the lines here a little bit, and actually bring up what I've been completely consumed with this last month: the bpb loyalty card, called the Coup Card, you buy it, you get 15 per cent off at Delhi's nicest places. (And I don't mean generic nice, I mean I've-actually-eaten-at-them-and-love-them nice.)

There I was all "Lalalalala, how hard can this be?" and there was the Universe, determined to prove exactly how hard it could be.

The Universe is quite a chutiya sometimes.



Most restaurants listened to our whole entire spiel and were So. Excited. To. Be.On. Board. But...

- "We can give you free bread instead of a discount."
-  "Yeah, maybe not this financial year."

I mean, honestly. Who wants free bread, except starving Parisiennes in the 1700s? A polite refusal would've been okay, it's just that a couple of people were really rude, switching me from holier-than-thou journalist/writer to shown-the-door encyclopedia salesman quite fast. (Let's just say there's a particular French restaurant in GK 2 that's not getting my business ever again.) I guess I've been sort of spoiled by my profession of choice, I've never had to ask for anything except quotes, and while people were rude refusing interviews, I still had the whole I'm Better Than You bit on my side. (Yes, yes, a hack is a hack is a hack, but I was a noble hack. Like Clark Kent.)

Here's what we did:
* Made a list of all the restaurants we loved
* Went through Facebook to see if we had common friends with any of the restaurant owners. If we did, we called the common friend to ask for the number, called the owner and set up an appointment. If we didn't, we called the restaurant and then through some persuasive powers ("I'm with the press, I'm calling about a media query.") we got the owner's number. This was easier than I anticipated, maybe restaurants are less picky about passing out phone numbers.
* Met about four or five restaurant owners a day, going through the same thing. By point five, we could see them begin to give in and actually think about letting us have our way with them.

Ever since I've had a career, in fact, even before, when I was deciding which career, it was always about the writing. Writing is my skillset. That's pretty much all I bring to the table. But it's always nice to discover new skills--has this ever happened to you?--specially when you feel like your personality is all set and your career is moulded and so on and so forth. Turns out I have an appetite for strategising. Maybe in another universe, a road not taken, I'm running a huge company, wearing suits every day and glued to my phone.  (Well, still glued to my phone in this one, so there's that.)

Right now, we're sitting around my living room, with a haze of cigarette smoke, and a table littered with coffee mugs and Nina Simone singing in the background, and all of us typing at the same time. It's very Newsroom and exciting, and tomorrow I'm going to live-blog our whole day, so if you're curious about how this whole thing is going down, you should come watch.










3 comments:

  1. Oh God! Been there, done that! We've been calling pubs and bars too for our little blog where we post Happy Hours offers from in pubs and bars across Mumbai, but guess what? Same story there! Most bars don't want to reveal their offers. Some even told us - uh, yes, we have this offer going, but we don't want to publicize it too much. Meaning, there are times when people walking in during Happy Hours end up paying up and leaving without realizing they could have had TWO drinks for the price of one! Some even have two different menus - the 'Happy Hour' menu has (you guessed it) 'inflated' prices to begin with! In fact we're planning to do a post on these 'hidden' T's&C's with respect to Happy Hours. Oh yes, and it's definitely better to talk to the owners directly. At least they more receptive and not as rude as some of the restaurant 'managers'.

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  2. Nice going! So much more fun to read about a start-up than the usual angsty fare.

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  3. hello.....this is wonderful blog... thanks for giving information....

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