SHORT STORY: TEXTILE MERCHANT … know your strengths



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TEXTILE MERCHANT … know your strengths

    Once upon a time. There lived a merchant who used to deal in textiles. He used to reside close to a port where ships from foreign countries used to dock with loads of merchandise. And from whom, he used to buy goods to sell in the local market through his shop.

    He had five workers who use to work under his manager. And the manager in turn used to report to him. So in all he had six employees. Each time, when a ship moored in the port. The merchant used to send his manager to get the details of the merchandise available, and basis his acumen and the information collected by him. The Merchant used to buy the merchandise, and the same used to get conveniently sold in his shop located in the market.

    One day, the employees working under the manager came up to the merchant and started requesting for a higher salary on the plea, that they work harder than the manager. Who only sat there and gave instructions while they did the entire labour. The merchant gave them a patient hearing and promised to look into the matter.

    One day when the merchant received a communication from the dock that a ship had arrived loaded with textile. He, instead of sending his manager sent one of the employees working under him to find out about the merchandise that had arrived in the port.

   The employee happily left, thinking the merchant this time had given him a chance to prove himself, instead of the manager. And after sometime he returned from the port when the merchant asked,

    ‘From which country has the merchandise arrived?’

    ‘I don’t know about the country master, but it is big ship with lots of merchandise.’

    ‘What kind of fabric do they have?’

    ‘I don’t know about that master, but there are big bundles, appearing to be thaans’  (bolts of fabric).

    ‘But are the thaans designed for children, ladies or gents?’

    ‘Master I didn’t ask about that. You want me to check again?’

    ‘Then tell me the price range of each thaan? Basis which I will be able to make out whether it is for ladies, gents or children?’

    ‘Sorry master I missed that too.’

    ‘And what about the total value of the merchandise?’

    ‘No idea master.’ Replied the employee, somewhat embarrassed and staring at the floor.

    Merchant looked at the employee pensively and said, ‘Few days back you and your fellow colleagues had come asking for an increase in salary. Because you felt you work harder than the manager. This time I gave you an assignment of the manager. Thinking you will be able to at least equal what he does, if not out-perform him. Had I sent the manager he would have got all the details without my asking and perhaps he could have answered ten more queries of mine. Basis which I could have made my purchase decision.

    Now to get all the relevant information in one go. I will again have to send someone. So, whom should I send this time?’ asked the merchant.

    The employee looked up and politely replied, ‘the manager master.’

    Moral of the story: Before we expect a higher salary or consider ourselves appropriate for a higher position. We must analyse how talented, skilled and knowledgeable we are about the assignment we are aspiring for. In this case while the jobs of employees had more of physical work the manger’s job was to gather niche information about the merchandise. But that alone helped in making purchase decisions, leading to sales, generation of revenue and profits.

By Kamlesh Tripathi


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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:


         Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

         IFSC code: BKID0006805


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