Friday, 31 October 2014

Christmas & Holi arrived Quikr .. this Diwali.

Well, we truly are in the midst of an e-Com boom era. 

A headline like 'Buy 1, Get 2 free' is not outlandish in current times.

That said, have you ever seen or known one or more festivals come free with another festival?!

Have you ever celebrated three festivals in place of one? 

I just did!

I experienced a next level / new e-Com high this Diwali .. I set out to celebrate one festival, but consummated three festivals, all at the same time .. 

How did I do it? Read on ..

My tryst with Quikr.com:

Every fashionista loves a marketplace. Be it an offline mall or an online portal.

Because, a marketplace is full of goodies .. connecting the buyers & the sellers.

Being as hooked onto the virtual world as I am (I am actually wondering why on Earth its even called 'virtual' anymore - if there is anything real in our lives, I guess its our online trysts), its only natural that I take to online marketplaces like haute couture to high fashion. 

Shopping online for Diwali is much my kind of thing to do. 

Just in time for Diwali, BlogAdda and Quikr.com, together, came up with the 'Free Shopping Fiesta'.  

The proverbial horse may have to be taken to the water, but fashionistas never have to be taken to shop .. we live to shop and vice versa (yeah, breathing to live is passe).   

This Diwali, there began my tryst with Quikr & Christmas. Yes, Christmas! 

Quikr & BlogAdda (BlogAdda activities) had designs to play, what I call, 'Desi Santa' ('desi' is Hindi for 'indigenous') this Diwali and the fashionista in me just sewed it all up in utter delight.  That is how I consummated Christmas this Diwali. 

With a budget of Rs.5000, I hit Quikr  .. truly quicker .. at 4 Mbps speed, to be precise. 




That's the home screen of the Quikr mobile app.

I already had an account for myself (yes, I am far too much of a self-respecting online citizen to not have accounts with pretty much every worthy online property).  But, I had not done too much with my Quikr account, I confess.

It took me exactly a touch each to start the app on my smartphone and select my city, Chennai.  That matrix of choice (screenshot above) opened up quikr ..

App, app .. on the block .. what do i want in stock?

Diwali is synonymous with new apparel, chief among other festive indulgences. 

The 'Home and Lifestyle' menu was my prime interest (this is a 'Fashion & Lifestyle' blog, after all):

http://chennai.quikr.com/Home-Lifestyle/w413




So, the first stop had to be Clothing:

http://chennai.quikr.com/Clothing-Garments/w414

I browsed at the speed of desire .. as listings scrolled down quicker .. I took breaks, went about other chores and kept coming back to my phone and continued browsing as time permitted .. 

Quikr provides a nice 'shortlist' feature (a la wishlist) - can you see the yellow star at the top right of the above screenshot? That is the shortlist icon. So, i shortlisted my favorite listings. 

This one caught my attention the most from my shortlist - its a single listing; shown here as two successive screens from the mobile app on my smartphone:




I hit the 'call' button and Reshma (the seller) & I were connected quicker.

She offered to either bring me a selection of dress materials or she welcomed me to visit her. 

Now, the thing about a fashionista me .. never forsake the larger population for a sample.  

So, I visited her & am I glad or what :) 

She had fancy catalogues for me to browse first. 




I fell in love with this straight cut ethnic suit from the first catalogue:






First things first: being the incurable classicist I am (be it fashion or music), monochrome is hard to say no to.  That too, when it delectably combines with bright citrus hues. Regular readers may already know that, in addition to bright colors, I love sheer fabrics and can never say no to chiffon or georgette .. particularly in the Autumn-Winter season.  I grew up in Delhi which renders me naturally pro-embroidery. 

The other big thing this dress material & catalogue had going for me: its straight cut & its an incoming trend. Yes, straight cut suits / tops / kurtas are very much an incoming trend now whereas the good old flared Anarkali is, exactly that .. old .. an outgoing trend. [Quick fashion tip: stop buying those anarkalis .. unless you fancy wearing 'last season']. 



The entire catalogue was priced at Rs.1400 each.  I got a thorough 'dekho' (run through) of the entire dress material set and Reshma gave me a token discount; I paid Rs.1350 in cash and walked away with this neatly packed dress material: 




While I could have easily invested the rest of my budget right there .. with more dress material, I reminded myself of Mom's words: being a woman (as opposed to a girl) is attempting to go beyond apparel and jewelry! Could be household, could be gadgets .. whatever, but beyond apparel and jewelry! Yes, we can!

That makes Household the next stop:

http://chennai.quikr.com/Household/w424

I spotted a number of Tupperware listings under Household.

Tupperware is for all seasons.  If there ever was a reason needed to buy Tupperware, mine is - yes, you guessed it, colors! I love hues and colors. Brighter, the better.

There were umpteen number of listings for my city.  

I was surely looking beyond lunch boxes! This instantly had me interested:




A single listing, again. I have captured the slightly longer listing in two mobile app screenshots.

I called Viniitha.  This was one of the most enjoyable purchases I have ever made.  

Her listing is only for the Tupperware Eleganzia pitcher and two tumblers (at Rs.1250).

I was pretty clear I wanted a full set of four tumblers with the pitcher.  She said she would make arrangements for it to be delivered to me at home. She gently got me talking about what else interests me in Tupperware and she told me the newer, brighter products that had come in.

Sure enough, she drove to my residence the very next day with the full pitcher set and more - take a look at my entire haul from her:

Tupperware Eleganzia Pitcher and Tumblers set:



I love the play of aqua blue with a  hint of purple and the stylish contour. Nice sizes too, the pitcher is 1.6 L and the tumblers 200 ml each.

The pitcher cost Rs.750 & the four tumblers Rs.250 each.

Saying cheers the teetotaler way is going to be lot of fun .. and style.


Tupperware Clear Bowls:

Mom fell for these hues actually :)

The blue gets classified as a 'large' clear bowl at Rs.450 and the green as 'small' clear bowl at Rs.200.



Tupperware Jumbo & Rainbow Tumblers:

I had Tupperware tumblers before and loved carrying buttermilk and my favorite juices to office (yeah, i know, office pantries have juices; no, they don't have cranberry - gotcha).

But I now had this opportunity to refurbish my collection with brighter, newer additions and will I resist it? No! 

The Jumbo ones at the back at Rs.160 each and the Rainbow ones at the front at Rs.150 each.  Can hold 470 ml and 340 ml respectively.  


Tupperware 1 L Water Bottle:

This was a rather impulsive yet inspired choice.  Viniitha was just winding up as this caught my attention in her arsenal.  

I have since christened this my 'Quikr Quencher' .. love the purplish hue. Came at Rs.235.




Viniitha was thoroughly professional, insisting that I check each product, fasten and unfasten the lids, check the MRP on the packaging .. 

I was so impressed that she had her husband drive her down and explained so professionally. I purchased all of this at the catalogue price. I didn't want a discount.  See, the beauty about Quikr .. it can work wonders on many of the causes I am passionate about:

(a)  Empowering women and smaller / cottage businesses:  

No huge ad spends. Just straight access to willing and eager buyers.  Like me :) I wanted Viniitha to make her deserved share of profit. I didn't want a discount. 

(b)  Carbon footprint reduction:

Ever heard of the 100 mile club? I am an ardent believer.  See, if we all source at least a basic percentage of our needs within a short radius, closer home, we would save our planet a whole lot of packaging and transportation carbon footprint. 

I agree the products I bought from Viniitha still came to her from afar - but my satisfaction lies in that i ensured the 'last mile' (the journey to me) happened person to person and resulted in much lesser/shorter carbon footprint. 

I would love to buy apparel as well as handmade jewelry, jams, sauces, pickles, ground masala from smaller cottage businesses run by women closer home .. and connected thru Quikr. 

hmm.. back to the budget, total Tupperware haul cost Rs.3255/- 

I paid Rs.3255/- in cash.

Now, time to go back to the festival list .. remember, I celebrated Christmas and Holi with Diwali.  By now, you know the Christmas bit.

Here is the Holi story:

Diwali and Dhanteras are never complete without kitchenware - largely 'barthan' (Hindi for 'vessels').  Growing up in Delhi, its a fetish to buy a little something for the kitchen every Diwali & Dhanteras (the festivals fall within a day of each other).  Have fond memories of Karol Bagh visits with Mom to pick up kitchen newbies, when I used to be in school ;)

Guess what .. I had always bought 'metals' earlier.  So, there was only so much color to the Diwali festival on the kitchen front (what color can you have with brass, stainless steel or silverware?).

This time around, this was a hearty color flourish:

And, this is exactly how our kitchen and I celebrated Holi (festival of colors) this Diwali:



Those fresh flowers are from my Mom's garden :) And, that is my kitchen slab. 

A quick budget check left me with Rs.395/-

I went back to the 'Home & Lifestyle' menu on my Quikr mobile app. How best can I invest Rs.395? The operative word is 'invest' as against 'spend'. 

The purchase may be quicker .. but i wanted the benefits to endure longer. 

Coins & Stamps:

http://chennai.quikr.com/Coins-Stamps/w18222209951

I have been a numismatist since childhood. My collection of coins can loosely be called 'World Countries' :)

I have full sets of circulated and uncirculated coins for many, many world countries (do you have Venezuelan Bolivar? I do :)

hmm..

But, born in a culturally and historically rich India .. I haven't yet done justice to that aspect of India .. in my coin collection. And, what is Diwali and Dhanteras season without a purchase of coins? Yeah!

Here was a window of an opportunity. And, Rs.395/-

Quikr provides a truly quicker search option - the 'magnifying glass' icon on the home screen, at the top right.

Typed in 'ancient Indian coins' and landed on these three listings:

Listing 1:







Listing 2:





Listing 3:








Interestingly, all these listings pointed to the same seller, Ramesh.

Called him. Mobile phone was switched off.  

Sending an SMS would be a no brainer - the phone was switched off.

I was desperate. This listing was made by Ramesh just a day before - on Oct 28th. I so wanted these coins. So, I decided to use the 'Reply' feature offered by Quikr beneath each listing. It sends a private email message to the seller:



That is a screenshot of my 'Chats and Replies' menu with Ramesh.

This is where you can find that menu - click on the three lines to the left of the Quikr logo on the top left:



I have hidden my residential area and phone number on that message screenshot above, for the purposes of this blog post.

Ramesh promptly called me in an hour.  He said he had been travelling and phone had been switched off.  

Now, thus far, with Reshma (clothing), i went to her place.  With Viniitha (household), she came to my place.  

I now decided to try out an intermediary meeting place with Ramesh - we decided to meet at a cafe closer to my place the next day (Oct 30th, that is yesterday). 

Ramesh turned out to be a collector's delight. Passionate, erudite and responsible to the core. I had a tough time getting him to stop articulating :)

Here is what I got:

Warning: if you are not a coin aficionado, you may want to skip the next few paras. I write this for two reasons: for my love of the collection and most importantly, because Ramesh sent me links, instructed (yes, not requested) that I include all pertinent details and has asked for the link to this blog post ;) So, I am a tad afraid (its Halloween after all; ah, that's a fourth festival in my list!) he may refuse to sell me more coins if I don't do a stellar job :)

Tipu Sultan (1782-1799) AE Paisa, Patan, AM 1222:
Weight: 11.14 gm. 
Diameter: 23 mm 
Die axis: 12 o'clock
Caparisoned elephant walking right, Persian legend and AM date 1222 (=1793 CE) above
Persian legend stating mint Patan
Reference: KM 123.5


I got it for Rs.225. Its worth its weight in pure copper. LOVE this coin :) 

Mom sang "Haathi mera Saathi" (Elephant my Friend) and wanted it to be highlighted in the blog post!

Please note these are handmade coins (they did not have machine made coins then :)

RajaRaja Chola : 985 - 1014
Copper massa coins




DenominationOne massa
AlloyCopper
TypeStruck
Diameter18.0 mm
Thickness2.6 mm
Weight4.17 gms
ShapeRound
EdgePlain
DieAxis-30

On obverse Sphere with dot in left hand, spheres with dots,
On reverse Ra lot below Ja.


Paid Rs.75 each. 

2 Annas - George V - India - British:



CountryIndia - British 
Years1918-1936
Value2 Annas = 1/8 Rupee (1/8)
MetalCopper-nickel
Weight5.7 g
Diameter21 mm
Thickness1.5 mm
EngraverEdgar Bertram Mackennal (obverse)
ShapeQuadrangular
OrientationMedal alignment ↑↑

Obverse

Crowned bust of King George V, left
Lettering:
GEORGE V KING EMPEROR
19 18
·INDIA·

Reverse

Denomination within square, 2 annas in four languages outside
Lettering:
दो आना দুই মানা
2
ANNAS
రెండు అణాఒ


Ramesh was kind enough to bundle in this last coin for Rs.395/- in total (this last coin alone should have cost me Rs.150, but considering our mutual admiration for coins, he did give me a hefty discount to close the deal, in cash, for all four coins, at Rs.395/).

This is how these four prized coins are now queuing up to enter my already enviable collection:


That is my #ShopQuikr haul.  Hope you love it as much as I do :)

Quikr Synopsis:

Total budget: Rs.5000 [Clothing Rs.1350, Household Rs.3255, Coins Rs.395]

User Interface: Quikr Mobile App for Android [love it]

Number of categories purchased: 3 [Clothing, Household, Coins]

Number of Items purchased: 17 :)

Number of enduring seller relationships established: 3

Number of seller contact modes used: 2 [call, reply]

Number of delivery modes experimented: 3 [visit seller, seller comes home or sends product home, meet at an intermediate location]

Amount of fun: Unlimited :)

All items bought (except coins) are brand new items. Coins, by their very nature, are used and circulated in an earlier era. 

Caveat emptor:

Last, but not the least, here is a word of caution.

I am not writing a fairy tale post. I am chronicling a real experience. And, as part of this experience, I did reject two sellers (after I had made my pleasant purchases with Reshma and Viniitha, I had Rs.395 left; so, before I chanced upon Ramesh's listing, I tried a ceramic container seller and a coin seller). The ceramic container (sent home for delivery) was chipped and the lid did not fit. The coin was spurious (trained and seasoned coin collectors, like yours truly, can reasonably make out). 

The message: Let the Buyer Beware!

Quikr connects the seller and the buyer.  As a buyer, please be aware and evaluate the seller, the product and all parameters before parting with cash. 

Take receipts / invoices / email acknowledgement of cash payments.  Reshma and Viniitha gave me signed receipts on white paper; Ramesh sent me an email acknowledgement. 

I had three very committed, pleasant seller relationships and yet, I also experienced two sellers I was not happy with and hence rejected.  So, its for each of us, as a buyer to make the best of the marketplace for ourselves.

I chanced upon a great deal for home inverter battery on Quikr, during this activity and have shortlisted that for the next buy. 

No fikar, buy Quikr [fear not, buy quicker].

hmm..

That brings us to the end of this blog post .. of how I celebrated Christmas and Holi along with Diwali this year, thanks to BlogAdda and Quikr :)

Cheers :)


This post is a part of Quikr.com activity at BlogAdda.com.