Monday, August 01, 2005

“I Love My Pink Pyjamas”

This was a topic given to us during one of those most enjoyable GD sessions in PT, when I was preparing for my MBA entrance exams. Globalization, Consumerism, Materialism, Commercialization, MTV culture, 21st century; were some of the real life concepts I could associate with this abstract topic. 3 years down the line, the real impact of some of these terms, on me, on my contemporaries, and on India, are beginning to hit me.

When I look back at my childhood days, it seems I used to live in a different century altogether (which is actually true :-) ). A time when PSU jobs were considered far superior to private sector ones, when the govt. encouraged people to save rather than spend, when no one thought of buying a car till his mid 30s..
India has changed since then, and so have most Indians. Spurred by liberalization, private enterprises have today overtaken the PSUs in the “most-preferred-job” hierarchy, and the best talent in the country no longer has to look westward for 7 figure salaries. And young new economy professionals earning anything between 15-35 K a month, are looking for avenues to burn their booty.
Service industry is booming in more ways than one, with malls, multiplexes and theme-parks mushrooming all over the metros. Gone are the days when a movie had to run for 25 weeks to packed audiences in an ordinary theater, to be regarded as a hit. Now, even a movie which manages to run to semi-filled multiplexes for 4 to 5 weeks, is branded a success. Reason, average cost of a ticket in an old fashioned theater= Rs. 30. Average cost of ticket in a multiplex= Rs. 180. What this essentially means is that the same revenue can be generated by 1/6th of the number of viewers, or in 1/6th of the number of shows. And with only the well endowed being able to afford multiplex ticket rates, Bollywood is remodeling it’s offerings to cater to more modern, hip and somewhat intelligent tastes. By the way, I do not mean to suggest that these 3 terms are inter-related in any manner. It is just that Govinda and Mithunda style nonsense has been replaced by Karan Johar style of the same.

I have always been a staunch believer in value for money, and hate paying anything more than what a product/service is worth in my eyes. I firmly believe in that age old Nirma punch line “Jab wohi safedi kum damon mein mile, to koi who kyon le, yeh na le!!”. But Sabya often tells me, philosophy is often a function of circumstances. As a student, I might prefer to buy pirated books form Churchgate, or have “vada-pao” at the road-side kiosk, but as a high-networth individual 5-10 years down the line, I would rather go to Crossword to buy all my literature, and prefer a McDonald’s burger over the roadside “vada-pao”. (And then, I would become the most vociferous anti-piracy spokesman.) He says, spending gives you a sense of satisfaction and prestige. (He is dead right. Just yesterday, I bought 2 packets of pop-corn in a multiplex, for....... Rs. 50 ) It is exactly this psychological state of the new-economy professionals that the service industry of the day is trying to exploit. Pizza Hut is not in the business of selling pizza, it is in the business of selling an experience.

“There must be more to life than having everything” -Maurice Sendak


Sabyasachi said...

Marginal Propensity to Spend :: the more you earn, the more is your desire to spend thus bringing people at different earning levels on pretty similar economic platforms

Shubham said...


wow.. i dont remember studying this during any of my economics lectures.. where did u get hold of this "consumer economics" theory??