Sarah Palin Selling Contact Lenses

look at the top left corner.

#6 Labor Arbitrage???

Everyday I drive past hundreds of businesses taking advantage of the Global Labor Arbitrage situation here in Delhi. Businesses across Delhi NCR (National Capital Region) thrive on the cost savings they can offer their customers (or their corporate offices) by employing high skilled workers at a dramatic cost savings.

This is a hot topic in America, one that is debated constantly in the press. Is it right to shift local jobs from Main Street, USA to Mangalore, India? I am not going to try to offer an opinion on this matter, or state opinions on this practice.

This blog post is going to discuss a far graver labor arbitrage situation... the outsourcing of machines.

Yes, you heard me Heavy Machines, be on high alert. Your jobs are in danger of being outsourced to low cost labor across India. Cranes, Steamrollers, and Bulldozers beware. Your jobs are no longer safe. I hope you have invested wisely, and put money away in an emergency fund - because across India construction foremen have found a way to replace you.

We no longer have a need for your heavy lifting abilities, no need for your fancy hydraulics & earth moving potential. Your have been made redundant. It turns out we can do your job more cheaply with a hundred men.

Sure, it takes a bit longer (years longer in fact), but the job is done the same in the end. And besides, the cost restructuring opportunities are huge. I'm sorry, but we can no longer be bothered to be experts in non-core business functions. We thank you for your years of service, but unfortunately we would much rather shift these roles to "business partners" who can augment our "operation expertise" while effectively allowing us to cross-synergize our capacity management.

So, enjoy your last few months of work. After the Commonwealth Games have come and gone, you can pack your things and move on to Vietnam - I hear they still have need for the general skill sets you posses.

As for us, we've already begun replacing you. Just have a look around - and you will see your replacements hard at work.

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#5 - Trust Your Staff

Trust is an interesting thing to have learned while in Delhi. As I've alluded to before, living in Delhi can afford you some luxuries. For instance, a driver, a maid, home pick-up and delivery of your ironing (press wala). But with each of these people we employ, there is an element of trust. This morning we learned that we can't trust one of our employees.

Last night, Sally and I stayed in and watched a movie. At about 8 in the evening, Sally ran to the ATM to pull out some money for the week and money so that we could pay our maid's salary in the morning. Our maid has been a Godsend for us, and does a great job without even making us aware she is there. She is a vast improvement over our last maid - who quietly stole 200 USD from a locked cabinet over a few days. But I digress.

With the money placed in her wallet, Sally set her purse on the counter in our entry way & we finished the rest of our evening. Around 6:30 am, Sally rose for her morning jog. She left the front door unlocked, while I snoozed for another hour in the bedroom. Eventually, I woke up and joined Sally for coffee in the family room.

She asked, "Did anyone come in while I was on my run? As I returned home, I saw the press walla leaving the apartment and he muttered something about my husband." I assured Sally that I hadn't heard anything - but did notice the newspaper was on the counter in the hallway. Maybe he had just placed it inside the house as he has done before. Thinking nothing of it, Sally and I finished our breakfast & I got ready to leave for work.

"God Dammit!" Sally shouted as I stepped out of the shower. "The maid's Salary money is gone. I think the boy took it." I was sure the boy hadn't taken the money, so I insisted we must have misplaced it last night. The boy has always been so kind and nice, with a smile on his face. He is probably 17, but looks about 15 and is always eager to collect our pressing. Just last week he seemed to have taken a new job, He had showed up at the door with a new uniform from the Dry Cleaners at the local market.

"I'm sure it wasn't him," I told Sally, "He wouldn't come in the house and take money from your purse. Why would he risk his families business over something like that." But Sally was convinced, and I should have been too.

We decided that we would both go over to their stand in the neighborhood and confront him. I felt it was only fair to give him a chance to admit the theft. I didn't want to make a scene, but simply to give him a chance to return the money - no questions asked. With our Driver Dharmender, we drove over to their shop and shared the news with his Father. We suspected his only son of taking money from our house. Without a note of concern, the Father asked us to wait for his son to come home.

Soon the boy returned home and we confronted him. For 20 minutes the boy denied the claim, and seemed appalled that we would accuse him of theft. The discussion never got heated, it was simply a calm discussion between the boy, his family, Dharmender, Sally and I. After the 21st minute, the boy suddenly had a realization.

You see, he said "I did accidentally pick up the 2500 INR. But, realizing I had this money, I returned to your house before coming to my shop. Sir, while you were driving over to my shop to accuse me of stealing, I was returning to your home to return the money."

And so, Dharmender Sally & I climbed back in the car to race home. The boy and his mother mounted his bicycle and cut through the pedestrian gates giving them a speed advantage. By the time Sally, Dharmender & I reached the top of the stairs, the boy had already reached. He gingerly pointed to the fuse box outside our apartment.

There sat 2500 rupees. It was all a simple misunderstanding...

yeah, right.