Integrity in Business

Yesterday, I went down to Commercial street to get a number of errands done, among them, getting two old backpacks and two old handbags fixed up, all with zips in different stages of repair. After asking around, we found this roadside tailor, quite a long walk from main Commercial street, through lanes where there is hardly space for pedestrians, leave alone cars.


He sits with his machine on the open lane, a tarpaulin offering some protection from the searing April-May heat. (Yes, even Bangalore is heating up these days…) I had assumed that the bags would all need their zips replaced, but he checked carefully, and pointed out to us that the zips were fine, and all he needed to do was change the runners. Now, I know zilch about such things, and would have happily paid up the higher fee for replacing zips. This man chose to take a smaller fee and save us unnecessary repairs.

Did he make less money? I guess yes. (The total repair for 4 bags cost us Rs 50. Assume an average customer with a single bag spends about Rs. 20. In the one hour we were around, he got about 3 customers. And yesterday was a holiday where more customers would land up. So he probably makes about Rs. 300-400 on an average day). Will I go to him again for more work, despite the long walk? Yes. Will I send friends his way? Yes.

Very basic, but often forgotten. Yes, Integrity in business is a good thing.



  1. its heartening to note that such honesty exists.. (check out my (mega size) comment on your previous post too)

  2. totally agree.
    though our view of shopkeepers is quite the opposite, we assume that we are going to be cheated.

  3. itchy, neo – a small thing that i noticed, but yes, it was so refreshing to see.

  4. Glad you posted it. we often end up focusing on negativity instead.

  5. The honesty and integrity shown by such people is not even noticed by the so called well to do class.They think that it is the duty of the downtrodden to accept the very least for their services.I had pointed out in a blog post that we have employees working for Rs.2000 pm yet not one of them would accept a single rupee as bribe tho’ they are in a position to.All they have is their self respect.Yet even this is an eye sore to many.’khane ko nahin lekin ghamand to dekho’ is a famous refrain we hear.As is self respect and pride are the same!

  6. Sparsh, Padma-ji, it was something that I just noticed casually, but yes, its important to focus on these positives. And yes, the class aspect is important too – I am sure the temptation to make a little more, could be so much, for someone who has so little. Its even more admirable when they reach above it.

  7. I see you found a good place to stay in the lake district, in a farm in Kendall:could you please send me their e mail or tel. number? I am trying to find a place for july 16-19, but sometimes its dfficult to get in touch with th B&B,. I am from Colombia, and will be travelling with my daughter and a friend.
    Thank you

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