Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The New Tailor

If you’ve had a conversation with me at any point over the past six years and the topic of India has come up, there’s a better than average chance I’ve spoken of the ridiculous amounts of custom tailored clothing I’ve had made here. Unfortunately, I have heard rumors that my original tailor, Kumar Brothers, located at South Extension I in Delhi has ceased operations. The secondary tailor, Grover’s, who is rumored to be Bill Clinton’s tailor, has somewhat priced himself out of the market, which you might expect from someone that can claim Bill Clinton as a customer. Regardless, living in Gurgaon rather than Delhi makes either option less convenient. Thankfully, I hadn’t been worried as I didn’t feel the need (or “want”) for additional clothing. Then two things happened: first, we had our first visitor from work that wanted clothing made and second, the temperature increased to the point where I felt a few additional items made from linen might be necessary in the wardrobe.

Thanks to a co-worker, Lindsay had been made aware of a new tailor, Naresh, with a special hook; he makes house calls, thus enabling the lazy expatriates to add “tailor that makes house calls” to the list of privileges that will need to be weaned from when the time comes to leave India. In the meantime, I plan to take full advantage. If this guy is good, I shudder to imagine the damage that may ensue between now and the end of 2011.

My first impression of Naresh wasn’t necessarily a positive one. He was 30 minutes late which seemed a small nuisance since I would have spent that much more time than if I was required to move myself to and from a retail establishment. Initially, I gave him the benefit of the doubt thinking that he may have had issues finding our apartment; however, when he mentioned he had a customer on the seventh floor in our building, this hypothesis was immediately discarded.

On the positive side, he seemed to pick up on my not-so-subtle hint that if he made clothes that we liked, were high quality, and gave us a fair price that we’d enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship for months to come. Of course, he refused to give us a price, simply implying that we’d deal with such inconsequential matters when he returns next Sunday with the finished goods. At least we know some semblance of how the guy operates based on co-workers interactions and know that he’s open to bargaining (typically in the 10 – 30% range from his initial offer). Of course, since all the financial risk rests with him (i.e., we haven’t given him so much as a rupee) and he’s coming with the finished product, I may actually have leverage in this situation. The only potential risk? Keeping the traditional exuberant reaction in check from Lindsay when she sees something she really “needs”.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings.
    I am writing a story for a Bangalore-based newspaper about expats working in India. Would like to interview you about your life in India. If you wouldn't mind that, please get in touch with me: ranjitha84ATgmailDOTcom. Please let me know asap. Thanks a ton!