• mechanic in goa this is india 26

This is India! 26

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

What I was up to other than here:

  • Guess who didn’t work all week!? My girl is in town so work has taken the back burner… I had to ask myself if I could take a week off, and myself was like yeah girl, go for it…
  • Renuka from Voyager for Life put together some bloggers tips with an interview Journey Blogging is Awesome in which I answered some questions.
  • Kate from Relokate posted her 8 favorite Expat Blogs and says if you read my blog and it doesn’t inspire you to travel, she’ll eat yesterday’s socks. She had lots of nice things to say, thanks Kate!

Now your story,

Did you know that people outside America joke about how annoyingly good America’s costumer service is? They say it’s annoying when you go into stores and they follow you around in case you need something, or ask if they can help you reach something, but at the same time people acknowledge that they are helpful and already friendly, especially on the phone.

Even in nursing, customer service was a huge part of my job. We learned to always give them extra food if they want it and when the patient’s family came and needed their babies’ bottle heated- you did it with a smile even if you were running ragged and hadn’t even peed in 10 hours while taking care of five people.

I miss America’s service. You could call Verizon and complain that your bill was too high and see “what they can do” about that, after all you’re a loyal customer of three years. They help you.

In India, this is literally NON-existent. Not for lack of trying… they get foreigners in the call centers teaching customer service but it’s just not the same. There’s always “nothing they can do”.

Sometimes the lack of customer service is appalling.

One time I went to the bank 15 minutes before closing. No one was in line. I stood there while the lady ignored me and was on her computer saying “ek minute”. About 10 minutes later, she says “we are closed”. I’m like wtf, I’ve been here for 10 minutes and you said nothing you don’t close for 5 minutes.

I had to fight with her for 3 minutes to get her to make my wire transfer which took all of 30 seconds. She yelled at me the whole time. Unreal!

The worst though was just recently dealing with a mechanic in Goa.

We got the car fixed. It needed a new gear box. 4,000 rupees for an old part or 7,000 for a new. We said we’ll get the old one.

A few days later, we go to pick up our Omni and he hands us the bill.

10,000 rupees.

Ben being the sweet guy he is, who hates confrontation goes, “umm it’s quite a lot. Can I see what all you did? It was supposed to be 4,000”. The guy gets the owner who comes straight up and says, “what’s the problem. You want the car for free?!!!!” 

I said, “Ben forget it, let’s call Babu to help us because clearly this guy isn’t going to rationally talk to us”.

The guy yells at me to shut up! Then continues yelling! Literally like a mad man. I was so effing pissed off, I had to walk away because what would happen if I mouth off? Ben gets punched. Such is India.

In the end because India is lawless and ridiculous sometimes, we had to pay.

I almost shared the name and location of his shop as payback but just last minute, I’ve erased it. I suppose there is a small chance this was a one time thing and I would feel bad if he lost business so… I won’t tell who it was… except to my friends in Goa :p

Maybe mechanics aren’t so different all around the world; always finding more things wrong and over-charging. At least in the U.S. you can refuse to pay and make them undo what you didn’t want, but in India it’s just a headache.

This is India!

feature image monkeys from flickr

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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Prasad Np November 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    So true, one big area this country need to improve is Customer Service. I have been trying to get my IP TV issue resolved for 4 months from one of the biggest Telecom companies in India and still get” Waiting For Signal”

    I remember in US once in a store I casually told the sales girl that can I get a tape as last year i got a dress for my wife and the size was not matching. They were willing to change it even after a year when I have bought the dress in from there store in a different city Because they realized I am a foreigner and may have made a mistake they were willing to replace the dress. I had not even imagined they will make such an offer, but as I was not carrying the dress, I just bought another one, with her help and a measuring tape that she got.

    • Rachel Jones November 30, 2014 at 10:42 am - Reply

      So true about the US customer service. Many will take returns without receipt even if they aren’t sure the item came from their store in the first place! It’s so nice.

  2. anuj November 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    mechanics always tried to make some money whule doing repairing,so better go to authorised maruti station or take quotation from mechanic and then go for repairing

  3. nehasheffield November 28, 2014 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Customer service is a nightmare here, sometimes you get the really amazing helpfull people or sometimes you get ignorant SOBS ( PARDON MY FRENCH) ……. I think its got a lot to do with people who cant be bothered to work in the service industry halfheartedly and have their ethics in their bottoms quite frankly. Also i live in goa and i have noticed a lot of local shops dont cater well to people not from goa forget elsewhere. Always stand your ground and if they keep pushing nonsense on you, lay down the law, that always helps… have a great weekend

    • Rachel Jones November 30, 2014 at 10:43 am - Reply

      Thanks, you’re right i have to just keep standing my ground

  4. Justine November 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Oh no Rachel! That sounds so frustrating. I hate overpaying for no good reason!! I can relate to you though. I feel like there’s a similar thing going on in Indonesia. They try really hard to mimic customer service standards in the US, but when it comes down to it customer service just doesn’t exist here. Since I moved to Jakarta four months ago I’ve struggled so hard with the internet company here. I pay my bill on time, every month. Yet every month they either turn my internet off or me insisting I haven’t paid my bill. The end result is going through a whole routine proving that I did, in fact, pay the bill. And having to wait days before they can turn the internet back on. It is so frustrating! Every time this happens I always think how differently these same issues would be handled in the US. It makes me appreciate how ridiculously good the customer service is in the US!

    • Rachel Jones November 30, 2014 at 10:46 am - Reply

      omg I literally go through that with my internet company too!! lol they turn it off every month instead of coming to collect the bill and then take days to restart it – the internet is out half the time which they should give us “free days” for but never ever do, so it’s an argument each bill cycle! lol I feel like we need to hash this out over a bottle or 2 of wine

  5. Andrea Anastasiou November 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Another one of the reasons that I simply could never live in India even though I loved visiting. Things like this would drive me absolutely insane!

  6. venus john November 29, 2014 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    the real india..I have found out that when I don’t buy from a shopkeeper,he is better behaved with me.when I start buying form a shop..they start treating you very badly..the more you buy .and if you have been buying from a shop from years..then you are treated like trash..
    at the bank,i had tos end complaint emails to the headquarters of the bank for a year..until finally they have stopped putting up the sign up that the printer( used to update the passbooks),is not working..when in fact it works.. thanks for the story..

    • Rachel Jones November 30, 2014 at 10:48 am - Reply

      omgsh that is crazy about the printer, what a good story, thanks for sharing!

  7. Rebekah November 30, 2014 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    Oh I so relate to this- except I do get followed around the stores in China, not because people are going to do anything remotely helpful, they just want to see what a foreigner is going to buy. I was trying to transfer money back to America and the bank screwed up so I had a ton of money completely missing for 3 months somehow and no one ever apologized to me about it. I still think India sounds a bit more intense though- no one would ever yell at me to shut up here! I’d lose it

    • Rachel Jones December 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm - Reply

      Omg that sounds so annoying! I would have been so angry.

  8. Tim | UrbanDuniya December 1, 2014 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Sooooo frustrating…. I would have stayed and fought to the end, but then I guess it’s easier said than done….

  9. Anish December 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Hi rachel, i am from india and this is my first time travelling alone which i intend to do in three and a half weeks, to auroville? ALONE :)
    have u been there ?, would love to hear your inputs , experience regarding the same.

    • Rachel Jones December 4, 2014 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      Very exciting. I haven’t been. A friend just went and stayed for a month! loved it.

  10. northierthanthou December 19, 2014 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    I don’t think I could handle some of those negotiations. I’d go pop!

    • Rachel Jones December 20, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Yeah, sometimes it’s exhausting .. best to walk away!

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