This account is all about trust...

This account is all about trust...

A ccountge barko Manjanna,” is the  common refrain of students. If you thought this was some bank, then you are totally mistaken. We are talking about tea-shops in the city.
Wondering how a person has an account in a tea-shop? Well the answer is quite simple. All a student of a college needs to do is frequent the nearest tea-stall near his college and get to know the shop owner. Once you become a regular customer, then you can open a brand new account, with credit facilities provided to you for enjoying your tea or coffee with a puff.

So why do students keep accounts, when they can pay on the spot? “Blame it on the pocket-money provided by parents,” says MBA student Roshan. The accounts are useful during the end of the month when there is no money with us, he says. If we ask for money during the month end, our parents ask us what we did with the rest of the money, exclaims Roshan.

Whenever a gang of friends sit at their favourite ‘adda’, usually several rounds of tea flows. By the end of the discussion, the bill turns out to be quite hefty. Cash-strapped students have no other option but to pay up when the next round of pocket-money arrives. If everybody has had tea, then why aren’t you ‘going Dutch’ (Paying your share of the bill)? “Well, when you are in a group everybody has a turn to pay the bill,” says Harish, an engineering student at Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering (SJCE). “Most of the times we don’t have enough money,” he says. Going to the movie or eating at a restaurant has become costlier, but pocket-money, has remained the same, he complains. Another constraint is that those places don’t allow credit system, so there are limited options where one can use this facility. In fact, Niranjan has an account in two shops. One near his home, another near his college. So what’s the drawback? “Sometimes they increase bill amount,” he says. Meaning that it’s a kind of a credit card system. You have to pay a ‘bit’ extra, when you finally settle the bill!

Another advantage is that you don’t have to keep pulling out change, says Santhosh. He says, “A tea costs around Rs 4. So everytime you need to keep the change or wait for the change.” Instead, you can tell the tea-shop owner to write it down so that you can pay it at the end of the day, week or month, remarks Santhosh.

So why do tea-shop owners give credit? “We don’t give credit to everybody who comes by,” says Manjanna, a tea-shop owner near SJCE. “Only people who frequent us regularly,” get the privilege he says. Since most of the students stay for four years to complete their engineering, we know their plight when it comes to paying money, he says. For ‘hostelites’ paying the rent for the hostel and food, takes away most of the money.

The bills pile especially during the exam season, he says. There are a few students who pass out pay the money after they get a job, he says. We don’t have any written record as such, it’s just based on mutual trust, explains Manjanna.

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