Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tatasky retail through Indiaplaza - Review

A person from Tatasky called me up on Monday (5-Mar) and understood what the problem was. Then on Wednesday (7-Mar) Indiaplaza folks called me up and explained that they have corrected the problem and it should work fine now. Specifically, they updated to the correct digital certificate. Apparently these problems crept in when they moved their domain from fabmall to Indiaplaza. I did try an online purchase later and it worked. So at their level Indiaplaza could fix their problem and at Tatasky's level, they clearly have good leverage with Indiaplaza. Good for them!

I would recommend against making online purchases on Indiaplaza.in because of massive security hazards. I would also wish that Tatasky take their online sales partnership to a better site, because Tatasky is a good product and deserves quality partners. Here are the details:

I bought a Tatasky digital television connection for my parents, for use at their ancestral town, by transacting through Indiaplaza.in. Indiaplaza is the new avatar of fabmall.com, of which I had been an initerant user for few years now. My parents are reasonably satisfied with Tatasky and I am too as I feel good that my parents get digital quality at their small town home thanks to Satellite technology. This week, I needed to buy recharge coupons to pay for the next few months charge (this is how Tatasky gets payment - somewhat like prepaid mobiles in India). This needed to be a quick transaction on the Indiaplaza portal which would send the recharge code to my email address. I would call the Tatasky IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System) and convey this code. Viola, the Tatasky connection gets charged automatically. Alas, this was not to be. When I logged into Indiaplaza, it was plan http, not secure http. Then I added the recharge coupon to my shopping card and went ahead. I got a warning that the certificate used by Indiaplaza is expired.

This is really a very hazardous situation and shouldn't be allowed to happen by the techies maintaining Indiaplaza. I hope this is really a rare slip up. Taking the risk, I clicked Yes and proceeded further. As it was moving to the payment gateway, https kicked in, with the warning however: That the following screen is a combination of secure and unsecure items (not exact wording). I continued and reached the payment gateway. This had the following error:

Apparently, the payment gateway is better managed and rejected a transaction which has questionable credentials. In my urgency to get the recharge, I tried repeatedly and always failed. Then I thought that there should be other online retailers selling Tatasky stuff. And realized that, unfortunately Tatasky sells only through Indiaplaza. Indiaplaza being the mess it is now, I am surely not going to buy anymore there. And I am sure most buyers of my generation would stop buying because: (1) They are smart at identifying such security hazards (2) Word spreads really fast about such issues.
Now, I do get badly impacted as I now have to find a shop that sells the physical card and buy that. This is something my generation hates - sloppy usage of internet technology. It would have been so much smoother to buy from ebay, amazon or even indiatimes. Remember, that a lot of people aren't even physically in India to buy the physical recharge voucher. Tatasky would do well to stop partnership with Indiaplaza and identify a better online retailer. Better still, why doesn't it sell on all online retailers? I hope it cares about my business and that of people like me - there's lots of them. Else, my Tatasky goes for an auction on ebay - soon.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Don't buy furniture at Big Bazaar

On Sunday afternoon, the 11th of Feb, ill fate led me to the four storeyed Big Bazaar complex on Old Madras Road, Bangalore. Primarily I wanted to buy some cheap kitchen accessories, which I did. I also saw a chest of drawers that I liked. It was not cheap compared to other furniture shops. But I thought Big Bazaar is a big outlet and therefore reliable.

I bought it, paid the amount and was told that it would be delivered only the following Sunday, 18th Feb. I agreed (a bit reluctantly, but I agreed) and was given a receipt to record that.

On 18th Feb, no delivery was made and when I called the number on the receipt, the number wasn't active. I had to drive all the way to Big Bazaar to find out what happened (Big Bazaar didn't have a phone number searchable on the internet). There, a purposeful man by the name of Girish (who introduced himself as the incharge of furniture section in Karnataka, and that he sits in the offices near Ashoka Pillar, Jayanagar) went about finding out what happened to my furniture. He let me know that, as a process, shipments were centrally done from their warehouse and fitters were sent from the Old Madras Road branch. This supply chain mechanism was not working out and he assured me that he would intervene. Promise was made to me that the furniture would reach on Monday noon.

This is Tuesday night and no furniture yet. Meanwhile a person called Arvind has called me couple of times on Monday and Tuesday. He said he was the fitter and whether the furniture package has arrived at my house for him to fit it. At least one employee in Pantaloon Retail is earning his livelihood.

This shows problems at multiple levels:

  1. The supply chain and logistics are certainly out of shape. This needs to be acknowledged and corrected.
  2. The employees need to project a positive image. Mr Girish and cohort's hand wringing and cursing of the central warehouse didn't glorify them in my eyes. it only showed that they have very poor, if any, training on customer handling. Compare this with Walmart's famed approach towards staff training.
  3. The customer service numbers printed wrongly on receipt, absence of searchable information on internet (which shows up on Google) reflects a lack of understanding how to position the brand for the customer. How to generate a sense of reliability and solidity.
  4. The fact that the fitter called me directly multiple times instead of being able to access an IT system (if not be proactively assigned by an IT system) to figure out where deliveries have been made shows that there is no infrastructure to support the much touted growth plans. Okay, if not an IT system, what prevented the fitter to find this our from the delivery person. A total breakdown of processes.

If Big Bazaar has a thriving business now, it is because it if first on the block. But these instances will prevent it from building customer loyalty. Once Walmart and Reliance are in business, customers will just switch over.

Is Pantaloon Retail taking notice. I fear not.

One week

One week, originally uploaded by stacktop.

Today I completed my first week.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Going home

DSC00925, originally uploaded by stacktop.

Early on Sunday morning (~5 AM) everyone started preparing for going home. We finally left the hospital at 7:50 AM. And thanks to low Sunday traffic, baby was at home before the 5th day started.
He had his first car ride today, sleeping all the while!

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Carefree, originally uploaded by stacktop.

Completed four days. Time to relax...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Why is my right hand up?

DSC00906, originally uploaded by stacktop.

-- To support our men in blue.
-- To lodge my protest against Bangalore's traffic.
-- To register my support for better deals for infants.
-- Just to say hi.
-- Why not!
-- To confound all the people cooing at me, and confuse Dad too ;-)

Now, let's reflect on...

DSC00898, originally uploaded by stacktop.

Life so far... On all that I saw in my first three days... hmm... People, lots of people... Cooing... Cajoling me to smile... Burping me after every meal... Nurses in uniforms... Who'd feed me whenever I cried... Nice people... People who came to see me... Caress me... Hold me... Now, did I do my best to return the attention? Lemme see, whom all did I wet myself on...

Third day outlook

DSC00893, originally uploaded by stacktop.

Getting a hang of the world around and mastering the art of expression (aka bawling).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

BornWithBlog: How do I look online?

Now, I need my fingers on the mouse... Happy Valentine's Day y'know!

Lemme try winking at the lens

Lemme try winking at the lens, originally uploaded by stacktop.

And also keep an eye out lest my Papa's stubbly chin rubs me!

Awww, how can I endure endless cooing!

Yawn! My old man is so boring... (Generation gap takes seed)

Dad got a laptop

Dad got a laptop, originally uploaded by stacktop.

Have I really replaced the grey box he used to sit in front of? Well, the portents are really good. That grey box stopping powering up from Sunday evening. As if out of deference to my impending birth!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

First look into a camera's lens :-)

All of six hours old.

I became proud father...

I became proud father..., originally uploaded by stacktop.

A couple of minutes after 9 AM today. Both father and son are doing fine. Oops, I mean baby and mother.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Spread a smile

Spread a smile, originally uploaded by stacktop.

Irresistible www.dilbert.com

Sunday, February 04, 2007


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.