Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Business Cards

Business Cards seem to be an essential part of life here in India... Meet a new person, exchange of business cards...conversation follows. Not much different then developing business contacts in the US, but here cell phones and connections mean everything. This is especially true if you want to actually accomplish anything in a reasonable length of time.

Our temporary driver, S.K. (photo below) is a very experienced professional. He's probably about 45, and has been driving for quite some time. He is a devoted employee, very knowledgeable about where things are located and where things can be found... and very protective of his passengers.

SK found out I was thinking about getting some business cards. This was on my mind since we now have signed a lease and have an actual address here. We also have a family cell phone so it now made sense for me to get a box of cards.... especially since people keep giving me their cards and I have nothing but a dazed grin to give them in return. SK said... "Dont worry sir. I know a good marrrket we can get them." So off we went to a local Noida Market (see the new "Swimming-in-India" banner above to get the picture of this place).

We parked on the street and after inquiring at a few street-front shops SK led me down a tight alleyway. (photo above). The alley got narrower and dingier. SK made a few more inquiries at a small stall. We went on and made an abrupt right turn down an enclosed alley way with no power. It looked like a scene from Blade Runner. Open fire, darkened stalls lit by candles. Water on the broken concrete floor. Rubbish everywhere.

We walked to the end of the alley and a voice in Hindi called out from a dark stall. The man lit a candle (this really happened) and emerged from darkeness. SK and he exchanged words and he pulled out a stack of business card samples from beneath a ratty little table to show me. After a bit of haggling, gestures and broken English we settled on a format, colors, font and price... Rs 450 (about $9 for 500 hand printed pieces.) Rs 100 deposit and the deal was done. 3 hours later SK and I returned to proof the card on the street (again, refer to the new photo on the "Swimming-In-India" banner for a visual) and the cards were done.

My sense is this is a normal transaction here in India.

4 comments:

Mrs. Smith said...

I almost hate to ask where I can find something because I know the answer is going to be "Atta Market". I have a love hate relationship with that place!

Congratulations on getting a great driver, it makes life so much easier. They seem to know everything.

HouseBoy said...

Hi, Amy... Unfortunately he is just our temporary driver. We have him through Jan 4. We are in the process of interviewing drivers. The new driver (once we select him) will start once we buy a car in a week or so.

Jennifer said...

Can you take me to get business cards when we visit?

HouseBoy said...

If you make it to Noida, I'd be glad to take you to get business cards in the Atta Market...