By Kamlesh Tripathi
A MAGGI SALESMAN’S HEART IN CONVERSATION WITH HIS MIND
Heart: I just don’t feel good these days.
Mind: But why, what happened?
Heart: Arrey yaar for the past five years I’ve been selling ‘Maggi Noodles’ thinking it is perfectly healthy and suddenly the lab tests by FSSAI reveal it has a high lead content which is extremely bad for health.
Mind: But that’s not your fault. As a loyal salesman you did what the company told you to do–sell. Plus, you have your wife and kids to look after. So you if won’t sell who will? And, as a matter of fact there are many salesmen who even sell cigarettes and liquor both being killer products, for the sake of their career, family and themselves; so how should they feel?
Heart: But there is a huge difference between the two situations; for a salesman selling liquor or cigarettes knows he is selling poison to his customer, and the customer too knows he is buying poison and that squares off. But in this case neither I, nor the customer, mostly children, knew they were consuming something poisonous, not good for health. And, considering it safe, I must fed thousands of Maggi packets to my own children, and today my wife and children question my wisdom and integrity when they see the product being banned on TV.
Mind: But you haven’t done it knowingly, so you shouldn’t feel guilty. And for all this while your company kept advertising it’s a quality product and perhaps the safest to consume. Am I right?
Heart: Yes you’re right. But I guess the company forgot the meaning of quality. Where, I always thought quality means, deliver what you promise, but in the case of Maggi it was not so. And the Food Safety and Standards authority of India also kept sleeping all this while, and they should also take the blame.
Mind: What is done is done, and can’t be undone, but what are you planning for your future.
Heart: Well, I haven’t thought about all that. But yes, I guess in the last five years I too could have taken a personal initiative, like that food inspector in Barabanki town, to get Maggi tested, but I didn’t. We often trust big names and brands for the simple reason that we believe they will deliver what they promise. But this was not the case here. And even brand ambassadors ditch the consumers.
Recently Nestle India had to destroy ‘Maggi noodle’ stocks worth three hundred and fifty crores as same was banned by Government of India, because tests revealed it had high lead content.
We have many dutiful salesmen in the food industry, putting their heart and soul together, in bringing about various delicious food products to customers across the world. And in this fraternity we also have Maggi salesmen. And there is no need for them to feel guilty, for, they have only done their duty in providing what the customer wanted and it was for Nestle to have ensured quality—deliver what you promise which they couldn’t. And so, I will not be surprised if this turns out to be one of the biggest cases of brand erosion under a big banner.