It’s been a while since we’ve been mulling over whether we need to get our son Jaden a mobile phone to himself. We finally decided we will since he is soon turning 10. We weren’t sure if 10 was the right age, but we decided to take the plunge. After a bit of scouting I thought I found the ‘right deal’ listed at Flipkart. You see, we wanted a phone that was ‘good’ enough (‘cos Jaden frequently cuts videos for his YouTube channel and posts pictures on his Instagram account) and would be priced right (meaning we wouldn’t have to worry about the ‘hole in our pocket’ once the phone got into Jaden’s hands).
I ordered the phone yesterday, and informed Jaden he was getting his phone today. Needless to say he was over the moon. However early this morning (0105 hours to be exact), I get a message saying the phone has been cancelled at my request. I was taken aback. Once I was up a few hours later I called Flipkart to check. I was informed the purchase had been cancelled by Flipkart ‘cos you guys got the price listing wrong. I was told it was supposed to be priced higher. I guess stuff like this happens, and so I held my peace. I then dutifully informed Jaden he wasn’t getting his phone due to the cancellation. I did this once he had woken up. He wanted to know the details. Once I was through telling him he said to me, ‘Appa, it’s okay. I’ll wait till you buy again. Is it possible I can get an iPhone’?
‘Of course not an iPhone.’, I replied.
Now this incident has lessons to learn from. One for you, Flipkart and the other is for me. Your lesson first. When you cancel my purchase because you got the price wrong, please don’t message me and tell me I did it. Instead tell me there was technical glitch and that you regret you have to cancel the buy (I guess maybe you won’t, ‘cos of the legal ramifications). That’s the polite way. Customers like me will understand. Plus always remember (and this is for other retailers too), every buy has some sort of a story behind it. One you can’t see. That story may be of a boy eagerly waiting for his first phone, or something of that sort. So learn to deal with purchase issues with sensitivity. I know customers can be trying, but remember, there’s always something more to what on the surface seems like a bland buy.
Here’s the lesson I learned. A far bigger one, I must say. Buying a phone (for that matter, anything else) for a child isn’t about an age-number he/she gets to. It’s about whether the child understands the responsibility that comes with the stuff he/she gets. Now this is true even for adults. My experience tells there are kids who can be given stuff, and then there are adults who shouldn’t be given anything despite the fact they’ve hit their twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties.
Jaden’s response to the cancellation was a measured one. No emotional outbursts. A readiness to wait (delayed gratification), and a cheeky poser too (use of humor). The boy I must say is ‘growing up’. That’s why I will hit the online retail circuit again and scout for a phone. I am hoping this time you get your price listings right.
Wish me luck, people.