Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alfa Market, Ville Parle, Mumbai

Did quite a bit of shopping at the Alfa Market in Ville Parle, Mumbai the other weekend... and it was a pretty interesting experience. Alfa is actually a bunch of 3-4 stores, really cramped and very easy to miss unless you know what you are looking for. In a small lane on the right off SV Road, just between Andheri and Ville Parle stations, it's one of the typical Laxmi Road kinda shopping experiences, not an air-conditioned mall. However, you get some amazing imported stuff, at rock bottom prices, and is guaranteed to be original. Perfumes, chocolates, electronics... quite a collection, really.

Another interesting aspect is the way their operations work. You do your selections against a token, and the stuff is then sent to a bunch of pigeonholes - with the counter salesman having written your token number on it. When you are  done, go to the cash counter - give your token number, and the stuff will come to you for billing.

It's truly a cash counter - there's no credit or debit cards. Not just that - the guy will typically return you change, even if it includes hundred rupee notes, or 500 for that matter - in crisp, new currency! There is no detailed bill, all you get is something that resembles a bus ticket - with even lesser information - just the prices, a table that resembles something like:


That's your bill.

Even more interesting... the moment the cashier totals up the bill, he rounds it off to the nearest hundred, and returns you the change, even before you have opened your purse to pay. So, if your bill is 3375, he will give you 125 along with the "bill", and say "3500", and you are cleared to go.

Do try it out next time you are in the Maximum City!

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