Food Coupons becoming easy bucks for Chennai Merchants
It is common in any metropolitan city in Chennai for organizations to issue food coupons every month as part of the monthly allowance, which also makes some tax saving. If we claim the amount as liquid cash then the amount becomes taxable. The advantage of food coupons is that many supermarkets too accept them while purchasing products from them besides just restaurants. At least in Chennai, we have such food coupon processors like AccorIndia and Sodexho Pass.
Interestingly these food coupons are a valuable assets and grade themselves to a good degree of value for any person between liquid cash (which is dangerous to carry in crowded metropolitan cities) and Debit/Credit cards (which make us spendthrift). At least my observation in Chennai is that when we tender a food coupon for a bill of say Rs. 40/- and the food coupon value is Rs. 35/- most of the merchants in Chennai say that they won’t give cash back. A few of them after a hard debate, they would give you Rs. 5/- coupon back. But the latter winning for the customer would normally be for long bargaining and the skills of which are not available to many and hence in just a few minutes, the merchants amasses a lot of fortunes. I am sure when these merchants submit the coupon to the food coupon processor they are going to reimburse the amount mentioned in full.
Even the bigger and most restaurants of reputation like Hotel Saravana Bhavan resort to this mean practice. I think the top management might not be aware of the same. I know a lot of senior Saravana Bhavan staff who are very religious, social minded philanthropists. All these low cadre jerks sitting at the cash counters and the waiters scratching thier heads for the pie and penny are the ones that spoil the fabric. But this is an exception. But regarding the other merchants, there should be some activity or response from either the government or food coupon processors to ‘check’ on this menace of mean and base-minded merchants.
But I think these would have a longer chain of illicit beneficiaries and some innovative media coverage like those from CNN IBN or Aaj Tak alone can resolve this issue or at least bring this blatant daylight robbery to limelight.