Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Is your plate heaped?

A couple of days back, I had some Bhelpuri from a roadside vendor. He served his stuff in a smallish plate, but filled it with heaps of Bhel. The customers who were around were quite a delighted lot that the plate is filled with heaps of Bhel, failing to notice the fact that the plate was a smallish plate. The optical illusion of a filled plate (even if its small) creates an amazing effect of plenty.

Likewise, check out the accompanying visual of coffee tumblers, a species uniquely South Indian with the twirled edge. Tumblers are available in many sizes as you can see. The average south Indian home has coffee tumblers available in a few sizes (these are from my home), but go to a hotel or a cycle coffee wallah and the tumbler size mysteriously reduces to the size of a thimble (almost). But, and here is the trick, the vendor serves an overflowing cup of coffee.

Like the previous example the effect of a heaped plate or an overflowing cup can have great visual effect and leaves the buyer thinking, thats a good bargain! So, when you are serving customers, is your plate heaped?


Michael Higgins said...

Hi Neelakantan
In the U.S., the smallest size of coffee you can get at Starbucks or most other coffee houses is 12 oz. I think they figure that the real cost is the overhead of hiring a guy take your order and serve you your coffee so they might as well serve a ton of it.

Neelakantan said...

Yes, thats true. The US is all about large portions while India is more about economy. The way the dynamics of a market changes because one resource is in surplus (labour, for instance)is fantastic to observe.

Raj said...

Have you come across the tumblers with the false bottoms ? Looks huge, and overflows at the top, but is only half-full. Quite a few businessmen in Ahmedabad have tea served in such tumblers.

Niti Bhan said...

What about the good old "one by two" in bangalore roadside shops, they only work with the bigger size tumblers :)